JENISON — Hart’s girls track team took fifth place Saturday at the Division 3 state finals in Jenison, highlighted by a state championship in the 3,200-meter relay.
Hart ended up with 30 points, just four behind third-place Byron and two behind fourth-place Shepherd. Pewamo-Westphalia and Grass Lake tied for the title with 41 points.
Coming into the meet, Hart coach Calvin Ackley said the team felt a state title was a reachable goal, but the hot weather and windy conditions made for a difficult combination for a Pirates team that was heavily reliant on distance running.
“As the day came, we knew it would be more challenging for Hart to rely on distance runners in 90-degree heat,” Ackley said. “We predicted it would come down to Grass Lake, P-W, and us. Unfortunately, a couple of distance races didn’t go as planned, which made the difference.”
The 3,200 relay dream team of the Pirates’ four all-state cross-country runners — Savannah Ackley, Lynae Ackley, Alyson Enns and Audrey Enns — claimed the championship in the event with a time of 9:36.8. It was far and away the foursome’s best time this season, a full 15 seconds faster than the same group’s effort in the all-star meet May 26.
Impressively, the win marked the third time in the last four state track meets that Hart has won the 3,200-meter relay title. (One could assume the Pirates would have had a good shot at winning the event in 2020 as well, had a state meet been held.)
The group starred in other events as well. In the 3,200-meter run, Alyson Enns took second place, behind Western Michigan Christian star Abby VanderKooi, with a time of 11:23.3. Savannah Ackley was in third with a time of 11:27.4. Alyson Enns was also sixth in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:13.4; Savannah Ackley just missed the podium, placing ninth in a time of 5:21.4.
Audrey Enns picked up two other medals for Hart, coming in seventh in the 800 with a time of 2:20.3 and joining Lauren VanderLaan, Aspen Boutell and Savanna Owens to place eighth in the 1,600 relay. Their time was 4:17.8; as in the 3,200 relay, it was the group’s best time of the season.
Also for Hart, Lynae Ackley competed in the 3,200, coming in 20th place (12:22.9), and Aspen Boutell was 23rd in the long jump (14-6).
Ackley said the team’s accomplishments were “bittersweet”, as Savannah, who graduated from Hart late last month, is the last of his three daughters who will compete for the Pirates after Alayna and Adelyn.
“(It was) so unique that she got to go out with a title with her three cousins and (be) all-state, third, in the 3,200 meters,” Ackley said.
The Hart boys tied for 33rd place, medaling in two events. Kellen Kimes placed fifth in the discus with a mark of 138-11, and the 3,200 relay team of Alex Enns, Wyatt Dean, Clayton Ackley and Spencer VanderZwaag placed sixth in a time of 8:29.7.
Kimes also placed 12th in the pole vault (12-3), and Ackley added a 10th-place finish in the 3,200 (10:16.7). VanderZwaag took 18th in the 400 (53.09) and Michael Tubbs set a personal best in the long jump, placing 16th (20-2.5).
Hesperia seniors Delaney Yates and Isabelle Rumsey competed in the state meet as well, and Yates earned two medals in the hurdles events, placing sixth in both. Yates set a personal best in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.76 seconds and she finished the 300 hurdles race in a time of 47.84 seconds. Rumsey took 18th place in the discus (89-4).