By: Jim Evans, Macomb Daily
What in Tarnation!
Nope, not a clip from a Looney Tunes cartoon featuring Yosemite Sam.
Instead, the battle cry emanating from the second MAC White Jamboree won by both the boys' and girls' teams from Anchor Bay.
The school nickname is the Tars.
The boys went 6-0 Tuesday, making their overall White Division dual meet record 11-1. The girls were 5-1 Monday. They, too, finished with an overall 11-1 record.
The Anchor Bay boys shared the dual meet championship with Port Huron Northern. The girls win a title outright.
It is the first division championship for the Anchor Bay boys since 2008.
"I was just telling the kids that I felt at the end of last year, we had the makings of something," said Jeff Payne, the boys' coach. "They are all underclassmen, and there is a lot of talent there.
"My number one runner is a 12-foot pole vaulter, he can run the high hurdles, and he is a distance runner. He's a gymnast, he used to play hockey, and he is on the wrestling team. He is just a heck of an athlete," continued Payne.
That runner, Drew Kolodge, finished third at the jamboree hosted by Warren-Mott. He ran a 17:37. Chippewa Valley's Cedric Grant Jr. was first overall in 17:27, and Carter Stoner of Port Huron Northern came in second at 17:30. Dakota Jones of Warren-Mott was fourth in 17:43, and Raymond Hill of St. Clair finished fifth in 17:54.
"This was my first win. There were a lot of good guys in front, and I just had to keep pace. A lot of them are good friends of mine," said Grant. "Once I got around the bushes over there and saw the home stretch, I knew I had it. This is awesome."
Following Anchor Bay in the team standings Monday were Port Huron Northern (5-1), St. Clair (4-2), Chippewa Valley (3-3), Warren-Mott (2-4), Port Huron (1-5) and Ford (0-6).
Port Huron Northern won the first jamboree with a 6-0 record.
Awesome was a feeling shared by Anchor Bay girls' coach Colleen Mellon, whose team captured its second MAC White championship in three seasons.
"There are perks to having small teams. We usually have 10-12 girls on the team. A lot of our competition has 30 runners," said Mellon.
Mellon, like Payne, graduated from Anchor Bay. Both were collegiate runners. She ran for Western Colorado. Payne competed for both Lake Superior State and Michigan State.
She has also run marathons and is a triathlete.
"I keep it in perspective. These are high school kids. Four of them are sprinters. Their idea of a long workout was 800 yards," said Mellon laughing.
"I think I take knowledge from all of my years of competing for great coaches, and go with the building blocks mentality. It's not just `Let's go run eight miles at six-minute mile pace.' " continued Mellon. "If you did that, you would lose kids. We build up slowly."
Nobody ran faster than Port Huron Northern junior Kiera Snyder. She finished first. It was her second individual victory in as many jamborees.
St. Clair led the team race (6-0). Anchor Bay went 5-1, Port Huron Northern 4-2, Ford 3-3, Port Huron 2-4, Chippewa Valley 1-5 and Warren-Mott 0-6.
This is Snyder's first cross country season.
"Being number one makes it tougher. There is a lot more pressure. There is nobody you are trying to beat, and everybody is trying to beat me," said Snyder.
"This is my first year of cross country, but I have been running since I was seven. I would do road races with my mom," she continued.
Snyder also runs on the PHN track and field team.
"I used to play basketball. During the summer, I was in the weight room with the basketball kids. I realized after my freshman year that I really wasn't very good at it, but I do not like to quit things so I kept going. But it wasn't going anywhere," continued Synder.
She is going somewhere as a distance runner. So is Cedric Grant Jr.
But Tarnation, Tuesday belonged to the Anchor Bay boys and girls teams.