By John Montgomery
PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE
Carey's Lauren Wenner (left) races next to teammate Amber Spurlock in the 100 Saturday at the Midland Athletic League Championships in Attica.
ATTICA - Even after the final team champion at the final league meet had been determined, it seemed as if the Midland Athletic League didn't want to end.
Carey's 4x400 girls finished second Saturday to secure the title, but the Blue Devils had to wait for one of their own to claim the day's final win in a vault off before officially wrapping up their third consecutive - and history's last - MAL championship.
"It was just really exciting and fun to end the MAL like that. I can't even explain it, it was really exciting," Carey junior Christy Wickiser said after besting St. Wendelin's Sara Goddard to break a tie in the pole vault to give Carey a 101-86 win over Calvert.
"For my team to be there and watch me PR, it was amazing, it was cool; a really good experience," she said.
Wickiser, Goddard, Lakota's Cariss Reese and Hopewell-Loudon's Sicily Leiter were the only girls to clear 9-6, but each failed to make the next height.
Due to criteria, Reese and Leiter tied for third, but Wickiser and Goddard were left knotted for the final spot.
Officials announced a vault off to break the tie.
The vault off started at the height the remaining athletes each failed to clear last, 10 feet in this case. Each received one attempt.
If both cleared it, the bar would go up. If only one made it, she would be the winner. If both missed, the bar would be lowered 3 inches and process would be repeated.
Both missed at 10 feet and 9-9.
Wickiser, who vaulted first each time, then cleared 9-6 but Goddard did not.
"I've never, ever done a vault off before, so it was really nice to have all my team there to support me, too, because they usually don't get to see me vault. Usually they're cheering for the 4x4, so it was really nice to have them all there cheering for me," Wickiser said. "It was really exciting, it was good.
"And I've known [Goddard], we did gymnastics together so we were actually friends before this, so it was a great way to end my [regular] season," she said.
And a great way to close out the MAL, which disbands after this year, Carey coach Holly Wentling said.
"It was big. We talked about it all season long, we talked about it heavy this week," Wentling said. "A lot of kids had to step up today and a lot of things fell into place. You have to be a little lucky, be a little lucky in some spots and we had some really big points show up late."
The Blue Devils placed in all four relays and in all but two of the individual events, finishing with three titles and three runner-up efforts.
"It was a good day, a good day," Wentling said.
Senior Gwen Wentling figured in the other wins, claiming the 400 (1:02.8) and running with Sara Craig, Lauren Wenner and Amber Spurlock to take the 4x200 (1:51.39).
Wenner (13.56) and Spurlock (13.58) finished 2-3 in the 100, and Spurlock (28.06) and Wentling (28.4) equaled that in the 200.
Wentling, Hailey Heinz, Craig and Spurlock also ran second in the 4x400 (4:21.28).
Fourths came from Craig in the long jump (14-11 1/4) and the 4x800 team of Joanna Wurst, Kristina Nusbaum, Taylor Watkins and Jaclyn Troiano (11:14.18).
Seneca East finished a point behind Calvert for third, helping Liz Crapo earn the MAL's top coaching award.
Fremont St. Joe edged Mohawk 82-81 1/2 for fourth. Lakota (68) took sixth, followed by St. Wendelin (63), Hopewell-Loudon (48 1/2), North Baltimore (23), Old Fort (17) and New Riegel (6).
Reese and Calvert's Olivia Smith shared the MAL's top girls athlete award.
Along with tying for third in the pole vault, Reese swept the 100 hurdles (16.89) and 300 hurdles (49.39), and anchored the Raiders to third in the 4x100 (54.77).
Smith raced to victory in the 800 (2:25.04), anchored the winning 4x800 (10:15.23) and 4x400 (4:15.88) teams and ran the final leg on the runner-up 4x200 squad (1:52.19).
Danielle Kontak, Katie Tiell and Morgan Smith joined her on the 4x800. Morgan Smith, Kontak and Kerrigan Kwiat filled out the 4x400. Kontak, Mallory Paul and Kwiat rounded out the 4x200.
Kwiat also ran second in the 400 (1:05.76).
Paityn Caudill captured the high jump (5-0) for Seneca East, Kaylyn Goshe captured the discus (114-10) and Hannah Hahler (34-10 1/2) and Goshe (33-9) went 1-2 in the shot.
The Tigers got a second from long jumper Kirsten Camp (15-10 1/2), and the 4x100 team of Amber Hescht, Olivia Willman, Hahler and Camp (54.22).
Mohawk's Shauna Leeth (12:24.54) and McKensie Richardson (12:51.84) finished 1-2 in the 3,200.
Ali Konkle added seconds in the 100 hurdles (17.02) and 300 hurdles (51.53).
Lakota got a second from Katie Park (103-9) in the shot.
St. Wendelin's Sophie Volpe claimed second in the 1,600 (5:43.04), and anchored the Mohawks to second in the 4x800 (10:21.52). Victoria Volpe, Jocelyn Reinhart and Maddie Borer joined her in the relay.