NORTON SHORES — Crystal Vaughn was pressed into head-coaching duty for Whitehall’s girls track and field team shortly before the 2023 season began.
If the Vikings’ performance in Friday’s Greater Muskegon Athletic Association meet at Mona Shores’ Sailor Stadium is any indication, Vaughn and her team have made big strides along the way.
Led by senior phenom Maelie Hope, who captured two individual championships in the throws and two more in sprints, Whitehall collected the GMAA title with 93 points. Mona Shores was runner-up with 83, followed by Montague (66), Fruitport (53) and Ravenna (48) in the top five.
“It has been an amazing season so far. It is a rebuild year for us. We maybe have 20 girls … and even though we are small, I feel like we are mighty and fierce,” Vaughn said.
Rounding out the team scores were Muskegon (45), Reeths-Puffer (43), Oakridge (29), North Muskegon (20), Western Michigan Christian (18), Holton (18), Orchard View (7) and Muskegon Heights Academy (4).
Hope enjoyed a banner day for Whitehall. She established a new GMAA record in discus with a toss of 141 feet, 1 inch, eclipsing the record previously held by Orchard View alumna Ashley Swainston-Westerlund, who was on hand for the feat Friday. It was not a personal record for Hope, who threw an eye-popping 153-0 earlier this season to post the top mark in the state for all divisions.
Hope also won shot put with a heave of 41-4.5, and she hustled over to the track to take first place in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. She ran 12.81 and 26.68, respectively, in winning those sprints.
While Hope accounted for 40 of her team’s 93 points, she got some help, too.
Other first-place finishers for Whitehall included sophomore Cami Kraai in the 800 run with a season-record 2:24.05 and senior Ariana Treat in the 1600 with a time of 5:30.71.
The Vikings had two or more top-eight finishers in four individual events, plus they placed runner-up in the 4×800 relay.
Other event winners in the GMAA girls meet: North Muskegon’s Abbie Wiegers in the 400 (59.16 PR); Western Michigan Christian’s Grace Vander Kooi in the 3200 (11:17.15 PR); Fruitport’s Julia Smith in the 100 hurdles (17.42); Ravenna’s Bethany Olthof in the 300 hurdles (51.72); Muskegon’s Steffanie McGuffey in high jump (5-1); Montague’s Emma Pendell in pole vault (8-6); Holton’s Ava Crowell in long jump (14-5); Reeths-Puffer’s 4×100 relay (52.12); Muskegon’s 4×200 relay (1:53.94); Mona Shores’ 4×400 relay (4:19.90), and Mona Shores’ 4×800 relay (10:24.26).
Watch the video at the top of this story for highlights and reaction from Vaughn and Hope, plus check out the photos below:
Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark
Whitehall boys run away with second straight GMAA track and field title
Hart native Mike Mack honored with GMAA Lifetime Service Award
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