DYNASTY: Saline Boys Win 11th Straight Track and Field Regional

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The last time the Saline boys' track and field team didn't win the regional meet, seniors like Larry Robinson, Andrew Stern, Josh Rush, James Harrison and Caden Winston were in kindergarten.

The team lived up to its legacy once again Friday, winning the regional meet at Saline High School. It wasn't really close.

Saline finished with 118 points. Dexter was second with 89.5 and Pioneer was third with 82 points. Huron finished fourth (68).

It was Saline's 11th straight regional title.

It's a special streak. And each one of those victories was special in different ways for the students and coaches involved.

Longtime coach Al Leslie, a retired teacher, pointed out that he won a league title as a high schooler and it took nearly 30 years for that school to win again.

In Saline, the motto is "tradition never graduates." And a lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into maintaining that tradition.

"So it's special. They need to understand that it's not a given, but it is expected," Leslie said.

The Hornets did it as they often do - without many individual champions. Saline's lone individual champion was Jason Whitton, who won the 800 for the second straight week. This time, Whitton ran the race in 1:59.2 - .35 seconds faster than Lincoln's Andon Lewandowski, who made a late charge.

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"It feels great to help out the team and try to win us another regional title. The time wasn't necessarily all there because of the wind, but it's good to get the win," Whitton said. 

For the second straight week, Whitton charged out to a lead and held off the challenger.

"I actually saw him right beside me, and I had some more left, I guess," Whitton said.

Whitton also ran for the state-qualifying 4x800 and 4x400 relay teams. 

Larry Robinson II holds off the challengers to win the 4x100 relay.

Saline's other victory came in the 4x100 relay. Ethan Nelson, Joshua Rus, Caden Winston and Larry Robinson II won in 43.38 seconds - .11 seconds faster than the second-place Huron team.

Ethan Nelson runs the first leg of the 4x200 relay.

All four relay teams qualified for the state meet. In the 4x200 relay, Torin Moore Jr., Wynter Burnett, Nelson and Russ were second in 1:30.99.

The 4x400 relay team of Whitton, Rush, Burnett and Stewart Berryhill placed third and qualified with a time of 3:26.19.

The 4x800 team of Whitton, James Harrison, Berryhill and Luke Swanger finished third and qualified with a time of 8:06.24.

Caden Winston qualified in the 100-meter dash, finishing fourth in a career-best 10.97 seconds.

Joshua Rush qualified in the 200-meter dash, finishing fifth  in 22:31. Rush qualified for the state meet in three relays and the 200.

The Hornets also had three qualifiers from the field. Junior Dolan Gonzales cleared 15'4 to take second and qualify.  Sophomore Malik Eisemann cleared a career-high 13'3 to qualify while taking fourth.

Also qualifying was sophomore Leonardo Ignacio, who cleared a career-high 5'11 and placed second. Sophomore Andrew Harding also went 5'11 but placed third on faults.

Saline picked up important points in other events.

In the 110 hurdles, Christopher Cappello (15.31) was third and Torin Moore Jr. (15.4) was fourth, for 11 more points for the Hornets. 

Cappello was fourth in the 300 hurdles, finishing in a personal best 42.21 seconds. Moore was eighth in 43.28 seconds.

In the 3200, Saline picked up 14 points. Samuel Jackson (9;51.66) was third, Andrew Stern (9:53.05) was fourth) and Max Pfeiffer was sixth (10:04.91). Truman Johnson was ninth in 10:20.32.

James Harrison was eighth in the 1600 meters while Mason Kipley was 11th. Harrison was ninth in the 800.

Moore placed third in the long jump, leaping 20'8.75. Garrett Beazley was fifth in the shotput, throwing 45'10.

For more photos, see our Smugmug gallery.

Coaches Brown and Leslie talk about the team victory in the video below:

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