Team of the week: Mason track and field enjoys record-setting, trophy-filled spring

MASON, Mich. (WLNS) – The Mason track and field program has had to make more room in the trophy case this week.

On Friday, the girls track team won the Div. 2 regional championship at home and the boys team took second place.

Then on Wednesday, both the boys and girls teams took home the title at the CAAC Red Conference Championship meet.

In addition to all of this, the Bulldog boys also set a new school record at the regional meet in the 4×100 meter relay. The relay team of Ethan Charlot, Leart Ahmeti, AJ Martel and Cole Ries set the record with a time of 42.97 seconds.

It wasn’t the first school record the program has broken this spring, either, as the boys also broke the 4×400 meter relay record earlier this spring, and on the girls side, Tori Lator broke the school’s 100 meter dash record with a time of 12.53 seconds.

The regional meet turned into quite an eventful night thanks to a pair of long delays, one caused by a technology issue and the other a weather delay. In the end, the meet didn’t finish up until nearly 12:30 a.m.

Despite the delays, many of the athletes whose events were over stuck around to root on their teammates, which showed the Bulldog coaches that their kids understand what high school sports are all about.

“They’re all in it for the team,” said head girls track coach Dave Jones. “To see each other root each other on, we’ve said ‘hey, make sure you do that,’ because at 12:30 in the morning we need that. There were kids that were spread out along the track, cheering for what happened to be our 4×400 relay going last, and that was cool to see that.”

“The fact that yes, we still understand that it’s a team, and we stick around to the end for one another, I was really happy and proud of them for that,” added boys track coach Eric Haynie. “It just created a great experience.”

“Obviously, after the delay everyone that was done with their events probably wanted to go home but we’ve really got a good team here, a good family,” said Tyler Baker, who qualified for states in the high jump, long jump, 110 meter hurdles and 300 meter hurdles. “So everyone stuck around and watched that last race and we did pretty well, so we were happy with that.”

The delays and disruptions also added some more suspense and anticipation to a meet that can already be nerve-filled for athletes who know it’s the only shot for all their training to pay off with a trip to states.

“Since I’ve been a sophomore we’ve won regionals [every year] and I think that now as a senior, it’s my last chance, it was even more important to get to states because it is like, you only have one shot,” said senior Riley Gill, who qualified for states in the 100 meter hurdles and as part of a pair of relay teams. “This meet, the regional meet, is our only shot. So to perform well there, it just gives me some confidence for the following meets.”

The win Friday gave the girls team its third straight regional championship, and the conference title on Wednesday was the girls’ eighth in a row. The boys’ CAAC Red Championship was their fourth in a row. Jones said the sustained success of the program as a whole is a testament to the kids.

“It says there’s consistency,” he said. “It says there’s some talent and it says the kids are willing to, most of the time, do what we ask them to do. We’re not geniuses but we haven’t ruined anybody. [We hope they] just trust us [coaches] to do the right thing most of the time and they have, and it has worked out.”

“We had a lot of pieces that came back and a lot of experience,” said Haynie of his Bulldog boys’ team. “So we’ve kind of grown from that we’re hoping to build upon it. They had a phenomenal, phenomenal day last year at the state meet and I’m hoping for them that they do it again this year.”

“We know what it takes to get to the state meet,” added Baker. “We just keep working hard every day at practice and I’m really happy with how we performed at regionals.”

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