Carey edges St. Joe in final race

ATTICA – It’s not as if Carey didn’t get any wins. The Blue Devils did, taking four events.

But it was Carey’s ability to garner other points throughout the day, and finishing ahead of Fremont St. Joe in the last race, Saturday to upend the defending Crimson Streaks 117-114 for the Midland Athletic League championship.

“It was just one of those days. It just kind of fell into place,” first-year Carey coach Holly Wentling said. “We knew what we were trying to do, but it’s hard sometimes to do what you’re trying to do.”

She had a good teacher in knowing what to do.

Wentling was a long-time assistant under long-time Carey coach John Knickle, who still is associated with the program, before taking over as head coach when he stepped down. Her first year with the Blue Devils came 18 years ago when she was pregnant with her daughter, Gwen, now a junior on the team.

The new coach said the former one helped go over scenarios for Saturday’s meet, suggesting who should do what and go where to maximize scoring possibilities.

It worked, with the Blue Devils placing in each relay and scoring in all but two individual events – 100 hurdles and 1,600 – to turn back St. Joe.

“Amber [Wentling] and Gwen [Spurlock] did a load today; they did the 4 and the 2 to double score, and ran the 4×2 and the 4×4. There was a lot of big events today,” coach Wentling said. “Monique [Altvater] won the long jump. I figured she’d be up in the top three, but I didn’t think she’d win it. That was huge. And then Victoria Wood slipped in and got seventh, and that was big.

“There was a lot of big things today. Christy Wickiser got second in the pole vault, and I don’t know if I planned on that. Did not plan on Joanna Worst getting fourth; she was right there for second in the 800 and got fourth. Jackie Troiano got seventh in the 3,200,” she said. “It was just one of those days. There wasn’t much we didn’t score in.”

The final event proved to the deciding factor.

The Blue Devils trailed St. Joe 48-41 after the first seven events, but turned the momentum around over the next nine to enter the 4×400 clinging to a 109-108 advantage.

Carey only had to beat St. Joe to wrap up the title, while the Crimson Streaks needed to either win the race (10 points) or finish two spots ahead of Carey to take the trophy. The teams would tie if St. Joe did not win but finished one spot ahead of Carey.

Calvert took care of the chance of St. Joe taking the race, cruising to the win in 4:14.91.

Carey did the rest.

Wentling, Lauren Wenner, Wurst and Spurlock finished second in 4:19.64, a little more than three seconds ahead of St. Joe’s Leah Binsack, Sarah Franks, Megan Mehalko and Katie Blohm (4:23.31) to set off a celebration of Blue Devils.

The championship got help along the way.

Monique Altvater, Wenner, Wentling and Spurlock took the 4×200 (1:49.53), with other wins coming from Wentling in the 400 (1:00.3), high jumper Dana Newell (5-2) and Altvater in the long jump (14-10 1/4).

Newell, Wenner, Shelby Craig and Altvater also took second in the 4×100 (53.65).

Other seconds came from Wenner in the 100 (13.7) and Wickiser in the pole vault (8-10), with Spurlock (26.95) and Wentling (27.17) running second and third in the 200.

Thirds went to Spurlock in the 400 (1:01.2) and Newell in the shot (34-6).

Newell also ran fourth in the 300 hurdles (53.8) and Worst did the same in the 800 (2:35.31).

Diana Nordyke took sixth in the discus (94-1), and sevenths went to Troiano in the 3,200 (13:51.58), Wood in the long jump (13-6 3/4) and the 4×800 team of Worst, Troiano, Kristina Nusbaum and Alivia Stephan (11:17.7).

“It’s just fun. The best thing about it is, I have a really nice group of girls and a really nice group of volunteer coaches that help when they can,” coach Wentling said.

St. Wendelin nosed out Calvert 67 1/2-67 for third in the team standings. Mohawk (64), Seneca East (62), Lakota (59), New Riegel (35), Old Fort (33) and Hopewell-Loudon (27 1/2) rounded out the top 10.

Olivia Smith figured in three of Calvert’s four wins.

She took the 800 (2:25.23) and anchored the 4×800 (10:08.5) and 4×400 to victory. Danielle Kontak, Morgan Smith and Marisa Horn joined her on both relays.

Kontak, Megan Somodi, Emma Sullivan and Mallory Paul also captured the 4×100 (52.35).

Other area wins came from Lakota’s Cariss Reese in the 300 hurdles (46.9) and pole vault (9-4), Seneca East’s Ashton Daniel in the discus (115-3 1/2) and shot (39-9), and Mohawk’s Julia Daniel in the 3,200 (12:32.63).