MONTAGUE — Montague’s boys team was so focused on simply preparing for the Division 3 regional meet last Saturday that, coach Joe Brunson said, the Wildcats never even discussed the possibility of winning it.

However, fueled by several personal bests, that’s exactly what they did, scoring 117.5 points to outpace runner-up Calvin Christian by 24.5. It was a historic title for the ‘Cats, who hadn’t won the boys regional championship since the 1962. It also is the third straight year Montague has won a regional track title; the girls, who placed fifth Saturday, won each of the last two seasons.

“We didn’t really run through any situations of if we could win or not,” Brunson said. “If we’d stopped for a moment to work through the (projected) team scores, we’d probably have realized we’d be in the mix.”

In a happy turn of fate, the Wildcats’ coaching staff for this year actually included two who were on that 1962 championship team — Dick Smith and Bobby Lloyd. Lloyd still holds the school record in the 220 meters, and the two went on to run together at Central Michigan University.

Smith has coached pole vault at the junior high level for many years, and this year added the varsity to his plate. Lloyd helped with high jump and sprinters’ starts.

“I knew we had good relay teams and I knew we had pretty quick boys, but to take the regional was a surprise to me, a pleasant one,” Smith said.

A huge part of the Wildcats’ success Saturday was junior Isaiah Atchison and senior Silas Jancek. Atchison qualified for state in all four of his events and set a new school record in the 100-meter dash, winning the event in a time of 11.08 seconds. He also set a new personal best in the 200 and placed third in a time of 23 seconds flat, good enough to earn another state bid.

Atchison also anchored Montague relay wins in both the 400 and 800-meter events. He joined Jancek, Paul Olson and Brody Dietz — the same group that set the school record in the event the week prior — to win the 400 (45.15) and teamed with DaCarri Wiliams, Olson and Mason Darke in the 800 (1:32.9).

“With Isaiah, last year he had a focus on the 200 and the 400, and this year we’ve focused on the 100 and the 200,” Brunson said. “He’s shown steady, consistent improvement. Not every meet was a PR, but he had a nice progression in both events through most of the season.

“I caught the start of his 100, and that being a new event for him this year, the weak part of his race early in the season was his start. What jumped out at me (Saturday) was that out of the blocks, he was right with everybody. His work paid off. If we want to isolate a factor that made a difference, that’s probably what made the difference.”

Jancek, who provided another link to the 1962 team as Smith’s grandson, also had a huge day, adding regional titles in both throwing events to his 400 relay triumph. He set a season best of 127-7.5 in discus and won the shot put with a mark of 47-8.

“Silas is a really focused and driven track athlete,” Brunson said. “I’m excited to see this culmination to his season and career. He’s had a good cap to his career.”

Montague’s other event to earn a bid to state was the 3,200 relay team, which finished second in a time of 8:40.1. Clay Johnson, Owen Fairchild, Noah Raeth and Alix Draves ran that race.

The Wildcats had many other regional medalists. Isaac French was third in shot put (44-5) and eighth in discus (105-1), setting personal bests in both. Fairchild finished third and Draves was fourth in the 1,600, with times of 4:43.0 and 4:57.6. Johnson took fourth in the 800 and set a personal best of 2:05.4, and Raeth was seventh in the same event (2:08.3). Rodney Brassfield was fourth in high jump (5-8), and Kendal Degen placed fourth in pole vault (11-6). Williams was fifth in the 400 (54.44) and sixth in long jump (19-1.75), and Darke placed fifth in the 300 hurdles (43.15) and seventh in long jump (19-0). The 1,600 relay team of Williams, Olson, Darke and Gabe Lohman closed out the medalists, taking third (3:37.2).

For the girls, Amanda Cederquist earned the Wildcats’ lone state bid, taking second in the 100 hurdles with a personal best time of 16.91 seconds.

Other regional medalists for Montague included: Emma Pendell, third in pole vault (8-3) and eighth in the 800 (a personal best 2:44.1); Britta Johnson, third in the 400 (1:03.3) and fifth in the 200 (28.55) with personal bests in both; Delaney Schultz and Brooke Berry, third and fourth in shot put with respective personal bests of 32-4 and 30-8; Schultz, fifth in discus (80-7.5); Lauren Smith (another grandchild of Dick Smith’s), eighth in the 100 (13.80); and Ava Pumford, eighth in the 200 (29.34). Montague also medaled in all three relays it competed in. The 800 team of Cederquist, Jenna Erickson, Smith and Johnson was third (1:54.2); the 1,600 team of Cederquist, Cammie Erickson, Jenna Erickson and Johnson was fourth (4:35.4); and the 3,200 team of Pendell, Jenna Erickson, Grace Torsch and Cammie Erickson was also fourth (11:13.99).

Brunson credited his robust coaching staff, which included Smith and Lloyd as well as Jenny Jancek, RJ Nordlund, Nick Thaler, Dan Hain, Chuck Connell and Natalie Erickson, for helping make the boys’ regional title happen.

“If there was any bright move I made as head coach, it was knowing my limitations,” Brunson chuckled. “They made this happen on the ground. My role is coaching the distance athletes and organizing things.”

Smith, in turn, credited Brunson with bringing in people who specialized in events with which Brunson was less familiar.

“I think it was a stroke of genius,” Smith said. “I think that’s a sign of a great coach. I hope he sticks around for a long time.”