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Hanover-Horton High School hurdler Kathryn Childs won the 100-meter hurdles in 16.74 seconds at the Division 3 track and field regional at Hillsdale High School on Friday.  Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports

By Jeff Steers
JTV Sports

(May 22, 2021 11:30 AM) What happens when a distance runner turned sprinter meets a sprinter turned middle distance runner?

It is an interesting race.

That happened on Friday at the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 track regional at Hillsdale High School. 

In the end, the sprinter took home the wins but the distance runner proved she is a force to be reckoned with. 

Grass Lake High School finished third (67) to Quincy (99.5) and Jonesville (70) at Hillsdale High School in the Division 3 regional. Hanover-Horton finished eighth (47), Lumen Christi was ninth (44), Napoleon placed 10th (31), Columbia Central finished 13th (16), and Michigan Center was 14th (15).

Defending state champion in the 100 and 200-meter dash Lexus Bargesser won regional titles in both events running a 12.37 in the 100 final and 25.32 in the 200. 

But it was the 400-meter race – a new venture for Bargesser – that was the interesting contest. Bargesser faced two-time defending state champion Renae Kutcha from Lumen Christi in the 400-meter final at the regional.

“I have been focusing at getting stronger for that race (400-meter),” Bargesser said. “All of our track practices and playing basketball has helped work on my endurance.”

Kutcha – a three-time all-state cross country runner and two-time 400 champion – has switched her concentration from distance running to sprinting. She has won the 100, 200 and 400-meter dashes in several meets this season. Kutcha will run track and field next fall at Wayne State University. 

“I started running the 100 this year so I can get more turnover in my feet for the 200 and 400,” Kutcha said. “I went out a little too fast (in the 400-meter regional final) because I knew Lexus would be hard to beat. 

“It was a good race.”

Kutcha lead through the first 250 meters, but the speed of Bargesser took over running the 400 in 55.15 seconds. Kutcha was second in 58.01. 

Jackson area runners earned medals in numerous events. The top two finishers automatically advance to the state finals and others could qualify for the state meet based on time, distance, or height.

Kutcha was second the 200-meter dash (26.23); Lumen Christi teammate Madison Osterberg quietly won the 800-meter run (2:15.52) and the 1,600-meter run (5:22); Kailee Sandoval was second in the 800 (2:18); Hope Wilkes of Columbia Central won the 3,200-meter run (12:32) and Madelyn Norman of Napoleon was second (12:55); Kathryn Childs of Hanover-Horton won the 100-meter hurdles (16.74); Olivianna Watkins was second in the 300-meter hurdles (50.32); Grass Lake won the 1,600-meter relay (4:08) with Sandoval, Madison Basham, Ava Viegelahn, and Bargesser; Lumen Christi was second (4:11) with Kutcha, Lily Beebe, Osterberg, and Anna Whetstone; Napoleon was second in the 3,200-meter relay (10:28) with Ann Joseph, Katelyn Smilowski, Norman, and Emily Smilowski; Chelsea Bamm of Napoleon finished seventh in the shot put but made the qualifying length for state (34-4); and Elly Trefry of Michigan Center was third in the pole vault but hit the state qualifying height (9-0). 

The Division 3 state finals are scheduled for Saturday, June 5 at Jenison High School.  

Division 2 at Mason: Lilli Luma of Western High School finished second in the 200-meter dash (27.37); Alyna Lewis of Western won the 800-meter run (2:19); Anna Burk of Western claimed first in the 300-meter hurdles (48.03); Western took first in the 400-meter relay (51.50) with Jocie Berry, Luma, Rosine Oloni, and Lewis; the Panthers backed that up with a win in the 800-meter relay (1:48) with Oloni, Abbey Dodd, Lewis, and Luma; and Western added a win in the 1,600-meter relay (4:07) with Burk, Luma, Kendall Robertson, and Lewis; Lily Kucharek of Western won the shot put (38-1) and the discus (129-0.5); Burk was second in the high jump for Western (5-0); and Julia Warneck of Northwest won the long jump (16-7). Athletic.net did not post scores for the girls’ regional competition. The state Division 2 finals will be at Zeeland High School on Saturday, June 5. 

Division 1 at Saline: Jackson High School finished 10th with nine points in the regional at Saline High School. Elizabeth Clouse was sixth in the shot put (32-3.5) and Keiyera Johnson finished sixth in the 300-meter hurdles (49.45) but both failed to meet the Division 1 state final standards. 

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