TUSCOLA — Lisa Ponder's future will include less running than in her past. The Tuscola senior won't be changing events, just the number of sports in which she participates once she enters colleges.
She has signed a letter of intent with Danville Area Community College, which only offers cross-country. Her track and field career is in its final weeks.
Ponder made the most of her last appearance in Tuscola's 16-school invitational. She was the winner in the 3,200 meters (12 minutes, 12 seconds), an event where she was seeded second.
A high mileage runner, she is pleased about the sport she'll pursue in college.
"I like distance," she said. "My favorite sport is cross-country."
She is from a family of distance runners and is in her sixth year of competing.
Another impressive winner was Arcola freshman Taylor Edwards, in the 800 meters. She surged down the front straightaway to pass Central A&M's top-seeded Taylor Adcock. Edwards' time was 2:28.82.
"That was the game plan," Edwards said. "Stay up front with the leaders until the final 50 meters and take it from there."
Though she is a dual-sport spring athlete, she doesn't let playing softball interfere with her training for track.
"I have to be determined," she said. "It's tough, but after softball, I'll go and run."
Salt Fork's Toria Plotner was a tough-luck runner-up in the 400 meters, losing a race in which she was unable to participate. Due to scratches, one of the four 400 heats was canceled.
Plotner ran in the fastest heat and beat all pursuers with her 1:02.50 clocking. However, long jump champion Amanda McClain, from Sullivan, thought there was still another heat to be run, and didn't take the track.
After a protest, she was placed in the first heat of the boys' 400, which she won in 59.28 seconds. McClain, who also ran on the Redskins' victorious 800-meter relay, was declared the winner.
Plotner, who anchored Salt Fork's runner-up 400-meter relay, was disappointed to have missed the competition.
"When there's no one up there pushing you, you have to work with yourself," she said.
Sullivan had the first- and fourth-place finishers in the 100 meters. Paige Neuhauser was the winner (12.64), beating out Adcock (12.65) in a photo finish. Arcola's Samantha Reece (12.69) was just a step behind, in third, followed by Sullivan's Emily Neuhauser (12.95). Paige Neuhauser was also the fastest in qualifying (12.85).
Another notable placer was Salt Fork junior Rachel Negangard, who never participated in track in junior high or high school until this spring. She was fourth in the discus (100-2) and also placed in the shot put.