By Chris Zadorozny
For the second straight year and for the third time in the past four years, the Team of One is No. 1.
The Divine Child girls’ track team went to the Division 2 state meet at Forest Hills Eastern High School Saturday and laid waste to the field.
Last season the Falcons tied for the state title, but this year there was no doubt as to which team was best.
The Falcons scored 81 points to win going away. Host Forest Hills Eastern was runner-up and well back with 53.
“We are a Team of One,” said veteran Divine Child coach Tony Mifsud, who saw all 14 of his state-qualifiers contribute to the championship effort.
“If it is to be, then it is up to me” is one of the inspirational quotes that Mifsud used to motivate his squad this season and every Falcon ran as if they took that message to heart.
The seniors led the Falcons, and although a small class, they came up with big results.
Siena Heights commit Ashley O’Neill placed seventh in the shot put (38-feet, 3 1/4-inches) and 13th in the discus (115-2). Her sister Rachel, a junior, placed eighth in the shot put (37-11 3/4). Both O’Neill sisters earned all-state honors with their finishes in the shot put.
Senior Paige Patterson, a 12-time all-stater, placed second in the 200 dash (24.98) and 400 dash (57.44). She also anchored the first-place 4×400 relay squad (3:58.78). Running with her in that event were senior Mallory Myler and juniors Liz Mullen and Erin Drabicki.
With her three top-eight finishes, along with a first-place finish in the 4×800 (1:41.35), Patterson earned four more all-state honors.
Myler, the 12-time all-stater, placed fourth in the 100 hurdles (15.11) and first in the 300 hurdles (44.82). Myler set a new school record in the 300 hurdles, while achieving the third fastest time in the state in all divisions with her first-place finish.
Mullen, a seven-time all-stater, placed ninth in the 400 dash (59.62) and also helped the 4×400 squad to first and the 4×800 squad to a third-place finish. Mullen also helped the 4×100 relay squad to a second-place finish. It was not a first, but the Falcons ran a school-record 49.61 and it took a state-meet record 48.4 by Forest Hills Eastern to beat them.
Drabicki became a two-time all-stater with her first-place finishes in the 4×400 and 4×800. Fellow junior Lindsey Brewis also earned all-state honors in the 4×800 and a fourth-place finish in the 3200 run (11:07.69).
Sophomores Hannah Korpics and Kelsee Kinder ran on the 4×100 relay, earning them both all-state honors for the first time.
Fellow sophomores Kayla Gandy and Ellayna Iaquaniello joined in on the fun.
Gandy was second in the 100 hurdles and 13th in the 300 and Iaquaniello helped the 4×800, along with a 19th place finish in the 800 run (2:27.54).
To round out the fantastic day for the Falcons, freshman Haley Divis earned all-state honors after helping the 4×800 squad to the first place finish.
Shannon Rice (long jump) and Jessica Semaan (pole vault) also competed for the Falcons Saturday.
“This team is one for the decades to come, a truly devoted group of young adults coming together for the common good/goal of the team,” said Mifsud.
“This is great, especially for our four senior captains who directed this team in 2013.
Along with O’Neill going to Siena Heights, Stephanie Norwood will be attending Albion for cross-country and track, while both Patterson and Myler, who have clear college potential, are undecided at this point.
To read the original post that appeared in the Dearborn Press & Guide on June 4, 2013, go to www.miprepzone.com/pressandguide