JENISON — Hart’s girls track team didn’t repeat as state champions Saturday at the Division 3 state meet in Jenison, but the Pirates obtained four medals and earned a tie for eighth place, with 26 points.
The meet was delayed several times by rain and lightning, including for nearly three hours in the early afternoon.
Highlighting Hart’s performance was senior Adelyn Ackley, who closed out her legendary Pirates’ career with a pair of runner-up finishes in the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs. Ackley’s performance was even more impressive considering she had only been back in full stride for just over a month after an injury hampered her early in the track season.
In the 1,600, Ackley raced in a pack for most of the race with Kent City’s Lauren Freeland, Shepherd’s Amber Gall and Roscommon’s Allison Chmielewski. In the final lap, though, the race became a duel between Ackley and Gall, the longtime friendly rivals. Ackley pulled ahead early in the lap, but on the final turn, Gall raced past her and into the lead. Both runners broke into a full sprint at the finish in a spectacular effort, and in the end it was Gall winning by .02 of a second with a time of 4:49.4. Both runners broke the previous Division 3 meet record in the event, set two years ago by Lansing Catholic’s Olivia Theis (4:50.1), and Ackley’s 4:49.42 was a personal best.
The 3,200 wasn’t quite as close, but Ackley again put forth an excellent effort, setting a new season best time of 10:36.76. Western Michigan Christian freshman phenom Abby VanderKooi won the race with a time of 10:33.39, her own personal best.
Savannah Ackley also medaled in the 3,200, placing sixth with a time of 11:25.7. Lynae Ackley took 20th place in that race with a time of 12:02.2.
The 3,200 relay team of Audrey Enns, Lauren VanderLaan, Brenna Aerts and Savannah Ackley placed fourth to earn a medal, posting a time of 9:43.7. Enns picked up another medal in the 800, setting a new personal best time of 2:21.2 and taking seventh place.
“She is a two-time All-State (athlete) as a freshman, a great year,” Hart coach Mindy Whitney said of Enns.
Aerts also ran in the 800 and placed 19th with a time of 2:34.95.
Kendall Williamson was Hart’s final girls state competitor, placing in a tie for 16th in the high jump with a mark of 4-9.
Andrew Whitney represented the Hart boys at the state meet, running in the 1,600. He placed 14th with a time of 4:39.7.
“The team will miss Adelyn and Andrew next year as they compete for their respective colleges,” coach Whitney said.
Shelby junior John Wade was his school’s lone representative at the finals, competing in pole vault. He placed in a tie for 14th with a mark of 12-9.