NOVI — Is there anything that the Dearborn Divine Child girls track team couldn’t do at the Catholic League A-B Division championship meet last weekend?

There seemed to be just one thing: nobody in the Falcon camp was able to recall how many years in a row they had won the title.

For the record, it’s five, and the 2019 meet might have been their strongest showing of the streak.

Right from the get-go, it was clear no other squad was going to take Divine Child’s crown away. The Falcons won every field event: Avery Budz took the high jump (5-5), Elena Welker won the long jump (17-0), Madelynn Shannon won the shot put (33-10) and Isabel Dziadzio led a 1-2-5-6 finish in discus (104-4).

By that time, Divine Child already scored 69 points, a clear 43 ahead of the next-closest school (Warren Regina). And the Falcons were merely getting warmed up.

Divine Child's Madelynn Shannon lets the shot put fly. She won the event with a throw of 33 feet, 10 inches, contributing to the Falcons' overall team title.

When the action moved to the track, Brooke Aho, Lily Iaquaniello, Eliza Thayer and Haley Aho won the first race — the 4x800-meter relay — with a Catholic League-record time of 9:48.32. Divine Child also won the next two events, with Welker taking the 100-meter hurdles (16.47) and Lianna Shakoor claiming first in the 100-meter dash (13.26).

Add wins in the 4x200 and 4x100 relays, and another first from Welker in the 300 hurdles, and the Falcons really overwhelmed the field.

Gordie McIntosh’s squad totaled 184 points, well ahead of runner-up Macomb Lutheran North (73), Regina (65), Farmington Hills Mercy (53), Birmingham Marian (51), Ann Arbor Fr. Gabriel Richard (34) and Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook (5).

The boys’ trophy also went back home on the Divine Child bus. This was the Falcons’ second track title in a row — even though it wasn’t as dominant as the girls’ was.

“We were behind a couple points to Warren De La Salle after the field events, but then the distance kids were able to run three and four races, and just run them well enough to make sure we picked up the points,” Divine Child boys head coach Randy Williams said.

The Divine Child girls team is all smiles as it won its fifth consecutive A-B Division Catholic League Track and Field Championship May 11 at Novi Detroit Catholic Central.

The Divine Child distance crew came through in a big way, changing the momentum of the entire meet. First, Oscar Hernandez, Anthony Hancock, Samuel Dudek and Michael Hancock won the 4x800 relay (8:09.97).

While a 1-2 finish in the high hurdles from Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Logan Allen (15.52) and Daniel Mason (15.57) briefly gave the Eaglets’ the overall lead, the Falcons’ distance runners left everyone in the dust thereafter.

The tide turned in the 1600, when Anthony Hancock (4:24.83), Michael Hancock (4:27.00) and Hernandez (4:38.17) finished 1-2-4. The trio later swept the top three places in the 3200, finishing in the same order two-and-a-half-seconds apart (9:52.72 to 9:56.23), effectively putting the meet out of reach of the other eight schools.

“We knew it was going to be like that from the beginning,” said Hernandez, a senior captain. “We knew that from the distance events we had to get the majority of our points there, so we just came out and did what we had to do, and luckily, we came out with a W.”

Also counting a second- and fifth-place finish from the Hancock twins in the 800, the Falcons accumulated 66 of their meet-winning 120 points from races two laps and longer. Host Novi Detroit Catholic Central was the runner-up team (84), and was followed by De La Salle (64), St. Mary’s Prep (60), University of Detroit-Jesuit (46), Birmingham Brother Rice (44), Lutheran North (43), Cranbrook (18) and Fr. Gabriel Richard (17).

Michael Hancock holds off the Orchard Lake St. Mary's Prep anchor to win the 4x800m relay for Divine Child. Success in the distance races helped the Falcon boys claim the overall team title for the second straight year.

“We did a lot of work this season and in the off-season, so we were prepared coming in,” Hernandez continued. “We knew who was going to be our main competitors; whether it’s one team or ten teams, we knew what we needed to do.”

Incidentally, in the regular-season dual meets, Divine Child was a middle-of-the-pack team, finishing 2-2.

“We just run our dual meets to train for this meet,” Williams said. “We train for four things: this meet, our Wayne County meet, the regional meet and the state meet. The rest of the meets we are training, and win or lose, the dual meet is designed for the athlete for training.”

Williams said the team hopes to win the regional meet (which Divine Child is hosting on May 17) and the county meet, and be a top-five team at the state finals on June 1.

But until then, another league title is just fine with Hernandez.

“This is my last Catholic League championship that I’ll be a part of, so it means a lot to go out with my team on top,” he said.


Advertisement