They’re off and running

The conditions might not have been the best, but the Alpena track teams hit the ground running on Wednesday.

Under cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 40s, the Wildcats opened the 2012-13 season with a bang, topping Big North Conference rival Traverse City West.

The Alpena girls track team topped the Titans 99 1/2 to 55 1/2, taking first place in 14 events. The Alpena boys track team won 92-70, taking 10 firsts.

Christina Kollien and Emily Duncan led the Alpena girls with two first place finishes each. Kollien topped the field in the 100 hurdles (17.45) and 300 hurdles (50.69). Duncan won the 100 dash (13.65) and 200 dash (28.17).

“This is honestly probably our fifth or sixth time on the track all season and I’m impressed,” Alpena girls track coach Collin Riffert said. “The girls come out to meets to win, they strive for it and they always give it their all.”

Other firsts for Alpena included: the 3200 relay team (10.21); Sarah Swider in the long jump (15-5); Elaine Lowe in the 1600 run (5:41); Stephanie McNeil in the shot put (28-5); Emily Ferguson in the discus (111-2 1/2); Victoria Guzman in the pole vault (7-0); Kelsey Lewis in the 800 run (2:31); Christine Burke in the 3200 run (14:04) and the 1600 relay team (4:29).

Second place finishes for Alpena were: Swider in the high jump (4-8); Taylor Genschaw in the long jump (14-8 5/8); the 800 relay team (2:10); Racheal McDonald in the 1600 run (5:49); Kircey Hauser in the shot put (27-10 1/4); the 400 relay (1:00); Jenna Talbot in the pole vault (6-6) and Hannah MacDonald in the 3200 run (15:18).

Third place finishes for Alpena went to: Talbot in the 100 hurdles (18.97) and 300 hurdles (54.83); Kollien in the 100 dash (13.89); Ferguson (27-5 1/4); Courtney Wickland in the discus (72-6) and Amanda Dort in the 800 run (2:41).

The chilly conditions saw participants from both schools wrapping up in blankets and moving around to stay warm between events, but Riffert said running in the cold is just way of life in Northeast Michigan early in the season.

“At Alpena we pride ourselves on being tough and that’s a big thing with our team. All the coaches stress that the toughest team’s going to win at any given meet, Riffert said. “Being outside, it’s not fun, but they’re used to it and they know that if they want to win they have to endure.”

Ashton Dever took two firsts for the Alpena boys, pacing the field in the 100 dash (12.55) and the long jump (19-1 1/4). Other firsts for Alpena went to: the 3200 relay team (8.54); Luke Cordes in the high jump (6-0); the 400 relay team (46.41); Evan Frank in the pole vault (12-1); Aaron Keyes in the 300 hurdles (44.2); Dustin Swider in the shot put (43-3); Clay Jacobs in the 800 run (2:13) and the 1600 relay team (3:47).

Second-place finishes went to: Josh Bell in the 100 hurdles (17.24); the 800 relay team (1:39); Eli Martin in the 1600 run (4:56); Tate Clewley in the pole vault (10-6) and the 300 hurdles (44.82); Drew Shields in the 400 dash (54.73); Brenden Cordes in the long jump (17-11 1/4); Mustapha Zorgati in the 800 run (2:18) and Dever in the 200 dash (24.62).

Taking third-place finishes for Alpena were: J.D. Niergarth in the high jump (5-4); Alex Swider in the 400 dash (58.33); Zach Barrett in the shot put (39-2); Nick Bisanz in the discus (110-7) and Keyes in the long jump (17-9 3/4).

Alpena will return to the track on Tuesday at Petoskey.