FOSTORIA - The margins were 2 1/2 points and 1.51 seconds. The differences were first and second, and a memorable sendoff.
Carey freshman Amber Spurlock overtook Fremont St. Joe's Katie Blohm with 100 meters to go on the anchor leg of the 4x400 Saturday, lifting the Blue Devils to a win over the Crimson Streaks in both the relay and the Midland Athletic League Championships.
The victory came on the same day the Blue Devils learned long-time coach John Knickel was stepping down when the season concludes.
"It's special. You don't very often have your last year go out like this, with this much excitement. And just enough girls stepped up today, just enough. Love 'em all," Knickel said after his team edged St. Joe 119 1/2-117. "I told 'em last night they were special. They're really special."
Especially for the seniors, he said. Knickel said that group struggled as freshmen and almost became the first group of Blue Devils in several years not to win at least one league trophy.
"Big for the senior class. They were not bad athletes [as freshmen], they were just too young," he said. "They were just getting better and getting better, and they knew that it'd been a long time since a class had not one at least one MAL championship in track and field, so they were bound and determined they were going to stick it out and go for it, and they did it."
Midland Athletic League
Carey 119 1/2, Fremont St. Joe 117, Seneca East 85, Lakota 66, Mohawk 64, St. Wendelin 54, North Baltimore 45 1/2, Calvert 31 1/2, Old Fort 28, New Riegel 28, Hopewell-Loudon 24 1/2
Pole vault - 1. Amanda Hotaling (NB) 12-5; 2. Reese (L) 9-6; 3. Kiley Siegel (H-L) 8-6; 4. Rachel Greene (Car) 8-0; 4. Kiser (Lak) 8-0; 6. Christy Wickiser (Car) 8-0; 7. Logan Frank (H-L) 7-6
Shot - 1. Ashton Daniel (SE) 39-10 3/4; 2. Ali Mowrey (SW) 38-4 1/2; 4. Taylor Decker (Car) 33-7; 6. Dana Newell (Car) 30-8; 7. Hannah Hahler (SE) 30-7; 8. Katie Park (Lak) 29-8 1/2
Discus - 1. Rebecca Reinhart (FSJ) 128-7; 2. Ashton Daniel (SE) 115-5; 4. Taylor Decker (Car) 113-10; 5. Emily Ritter (Lak) 104-8; 6. Kaylyn Goshe (SE) 102-4; 7. Kasey Siegel (H-L) 100-0; 8. Mowrey (SW) 98-8
High jump - 1. Becca Starn (SW) 5-0; 2. Stephanie Hill (OF) 4-10; 3. Dana Newell (Car) 4-10; 4. Jessie Babcock (Moh) 4-10; 5. Molly Cleveland (OF) 4-10; 6. Lydia Hoepf (Moh) 4-8; 7. Gina Grandillo (Cal) 4-6; 7. Kiser (Lak) 4-6
Long jump - 1. Oriana Billock (Car) 16-0; 2. Megan Felter (SE) 15-1 1/2; 4. Harker (Lak) 14-6 1/4; 5. Monique Altvater (Car) 14-5; 7. Cleveland (OF) 13-7 1/4; 8. Hill (OF) 13-3
4x800 - 1. Mohawk (Julia Daniel, Ashley Parker, Kayla Risner, Lynsey Trusty) 10:10.36; 2. Calvert (Marisa Horn, Lauren Reineke, Abby Sullivan, Olivia Smith) 10:14.5; 3. Carey (Bo Underwood, Jaclyn Troiano, Joanna Worst, Jenna Jesko) 10:34.16; 4. Seneca East (Anna Willman, Jaclyn Willman, Jessica Lucius, Jenna Larick) 10:38.63; 5. Hopewell-Loudon (Kailey Coleman, Erin-Reinhart Anez, Leah Reinhart, Cassie Reinhart) 10:39.3; 7. Lakota (Morgan Mowry, Madison Bonifacio, Rachel Feick, Breese Reidling) 11:59.21
110 hurdles - 1. Katie Blohm (FSJ) 15.58; 2. Marissa Willman (SE) 16.75; 3. Cariss Reese (Lak) 16.79; 4. Olivia Borer (NR) 17.42; 5. Alexa Hallman (SW) 17.56; 7. Ali Konkle (Moh) 17.76; 8. Kristen Weininger (Moh) 17.99
100 - 1. Kelsey Burkin (FSJ) 12.62; 2. Oriana Billock (Car) 13.07; 5. Hannah Hahler (SE) 13.56; 6. Taylor Smith (Lak) 13.57; 7. Emily Groves (SE) 13.93; 8. Lauren Wenner (Car) 14.10
4x200 - 1. Carey (Billock, Wenner, Gwen Wentling, Amber Spurlock) 1:50.02; 3. Lakota (Paige Alloway, Reese, Smith, Louise Harker) 1:53.49; 4. Seneca East (Willman, Emily Depinet, Groves, Michala Shade) 1:55.32; 5. Mohawk (Risner, Aubrie Flood, Weininger, Konkle) 1:55.57; 6. Calvert (Libby Ewald, Horn, Megan Funkhouser, Smith) 1:56.19; 7. Old Fort (Morgan Kemenah, Destiny Severs, Molly Cleveland, Stephanie Hill) 1:56.29; 8. Hopewell-Loudon (Sabrina Vargas, Emily Cramer, Kiley Siegel, Kailey Coleman) 2:00.47
1,600 - 1. Kayla Kirk (SW) 5:27.27; 2. Julia Daniel (Moh) 5:41.44; 3. Abby Cassidy (NR) 5:42.97; 4. Anna Willman (SE) 5:43.71; 5. Jocelyn Reinhart (SW) 5:46.61; 6. Heather Daniel (Moh) 5:52.78; 7. Reinhart (H-L) 5:53.11; 8. Trisha Smith (NR) 5:56.15
4x100 - 1. Lakota (Makayla Kiser, Alloway, Smith, Harker) 52.5; 3. Carey (Paige Roszman, Billock, Wentling, Wenner) 52.8; 4. Seneca East (Hahler, Depinet, Groves, Shade) 53.9; 6. Calvert (Ewald, Kim Tiell, Emma Sullivan, Funkhouser) 55.2; 7. Mohawk (Konkle, Weininger, Flood, Audrey Flood) 56.1; 8. Hopewell-Loudon (Vargas, Cramer, Shelby Hulse, Allie Andrews) 57.6
400 - 1. Spurlock (Car) 1:01.6; 2. Wentling (Car) 1:01.7; 5. Ashley Mathias (NR) 1:05.6; 6. Trusty (Moh) 1:06.0; 7. Risner (Moh) 1:06.4
300 hurdles - 1. Reese (Lak) 47.8; 3. Willman (SE) 50.4; 5. Borer (NR) 53.1; 6. Whitney Niederkohr (Car) 53.7; 7. Mikayla Putnam (Car) 54.8; 8. Weininger (Moh) 55.4
800 - 1. Smith (Cal) 2:19.99; 2. Kirk (SW) 2:27.63; 3. Jackie Becker (OF) 2:32.25; 4. Jenna Jesko (Car) 2:33.72; 5. Coleman (H-L) 2:35.36; 6. Mathias (NR) 2:35.77; 7. Ashley Parker (Moh) 2:36.49
200 - 1. Burkin (FSJ) 26.88; 4. Spurlock (Car) 27.89; 5. Harker (Lak) 27.9; 6. Wenner (Car) 28.83; 7. Hahler (SE) 29.05; 8. Groves (SE) 29.56
3,200 - 1. J. Daniel (Moh) 12:29.6; 2. Willman (SE) 12:44.14; 3. Kirk (SW) 12:45.7; 4. Alexis Rhodes (OF) 12:46.35; 5. H. Daniel (Moh) 12:51.02; 6. Reinhart (SW) 13:17.58; 7. Troiano (Car) 13:30.61; 8. Reinhart-Anez (H-L) 13:41.77
4x400 - 1. Carey (Wentling, Jesko, Worst, Spurlock) 4:14.99; 3. Calvert (Ewald, Horn, Funkhouser, Smith) 4:24.62; 4. New Riegel (Cassidy, Smith, Borer, Mathias) 4:28.63; 5. Mohawk (Daniel, Parker, Riser, Flood) 4:37.16; 6. Seneca East (Willman, Shade, Larick, Depinet) 4:37.22; 7. Hopewell-Loudon (Vargas, Siegel, Coleman, C. Reinhart) 4:42.66; 8. Lakota (Bonifacio, Corrinne Burns, Judy Capehart, Mowry) 4:55.16
And a freshman played a huge role.
The Blue Devils, who entered the relay clinging to a 109 1/2-109 advantage, led most of the race, with Spurlock getting the anchor baton from classmate Joanna Worst with a slight edge on Blohm.
Spurlock held off Blohm around the first curve, but the St. Joe junior sprinted past her Carey counterpart at the start of the backstretch.
But while Blohm opened up a lead, Spurlock's teammates didn't lose faith.
"Honestly, I knew Amber didn't want to let us down. I knew she could kick it and I was just waiting for her to go," said senior Jenna Jesko, who ran the second leg on the relay. "You could tell the other girl was getting tired and we knew Amber was not going to let (finishing behind St. Joe) happen. She didn't want that to happen. None of our team wanted it to and we just cheered her on the best we could do, and we knew we could do it.
"Toward that end, when she came around that last curve, Amber was going to go," she said. "It was just really hard to think of what could happen and what did happen, which is amazing."
Spurlock reeled in Blohm before passing her at the start of the front stretch, giving the race and title to Carey.
"I was thinking 'I'll stay with her and I'll kick it in in the end and pass her,' and it worked, so that's good," Spurlock said.
"It felt pretty good because I'm a freshman and it's really cool to be a big part of winning the MAL," she said.
Having the title come down to the meet's final race wasn't unexpected by either coach.
"I told 'em a couple weeks ago I figured it'd come down to the 4x4, that whoever won between the two of us, ... that they were probably going to be the one that won the whole thing," St. Joe coach Joe Grahl said. "I was right, just came up on the short end.
"Just a great meet. John's a great guy. He won seven straight titles when I first came into the league, so he's kind of been the guy on the girls side we've been trying to chase and trying to emulate," he said. "He did a great job getting his entire girls team ready to go all day today."
The 4x400 wasn't the only win for the Blue Devils, or Spurlock.
She also claimed the 400 (1:01.6) and anchored the 4x200 (1:50.02) to victory with Oriana Billock, Lauren Wenner and Gwen Wentling, who also led off the 4x400.
Billock added a victory in the long jump (16-0) in her final MAL meet, helping cap what she called a memorable day for her and the team's other seniors.
"I couldn't have it any other way with any other team, just knowing how we struggled our freshman year," Billock said. "It's just an amazing feeling. I wouldn't have it any other way. I wouldn't pick anybody else to be on my team; I'd rather have these girls for the rest of my life, I really would."
Seconds for Carey came from Billock in the 100 (13.07) and Wentling in the 400 (1:01.7), with thirds provided by high jumper Dana Newell (4-10) and the 4x800 (10:34.16) and 4x100 (52.8) relay teams.
Bo Underwood, Jaclyn Troiano, Worst and Jesko ran the 4x800. Paige Roszman, Billock, Wentling and Wenner ran the 4x100.
"This is the way to end our senior year," Jesko said. "It's perfect."
Seneca East took third with 85 points, Lakota edged Mohawk 66-64 for fourth and St. Wendelin came in fifth (54). Calvert ended eighth (45 1/2), Old Fort and New Riegel tied with 28 points for ninth and Hopewell-Loudon ended 11th (24 1/2).
Shot putter Ashton Daniel had the lone win (39-10 3/4) for Seneca East, and took second in the discus (115-5).
Lakota's wins came from Cariss Reee in the 300 hurdles (47.8) and the 4x100 team (52.5) of Makayla Kizer, Paige Alloway, Taylor Smith and Louise Harker.
Mohawk's Julia Daniel, Ashley Parker, Kayla Risner and Lynsey Trusty claimed the 4x800 (10:10.36). Daniel also took the 3,200 (12:29.6).
Kayla Kirk captured the 1,600 (5:27.27) for St. Wendelin, as did Becca Starn in the high jump (5-0).
Calvert's Olivia Smith ran to victory in the 800 (2:19.99).