With neon glow sticks tied up in their hair, and the excitement of opening night evident in every step – there was no mistaking the energy and enthusiasm that came with one of the areas most unique races, the unofficial kickoff to the Mid-Michigan High School Cross Country season, St. johns Under the Lights race Friday night. This year the meet saw the home team St. Johns girls team win on their home course. Their win was punctuated by Senior Taryn Chapko’s victory in the girls red race (pictured).
“It was a lot of fun, racing at night gives you a sense of feeling so much faster and the weather was amazing. Seeing all these girls competing in the dark and enjoying each other and cheering each other on is just amazing.” Chapko commented. “I’m looking forward to my team excelling. We already did so well at this meet – I can’t wait to see what we can do at bigger meets in bigger races.”
“Taryn has since day one as a freshman, a level of success; she’s been all-state three years and hopefully four years. She’s been all-state and a champion in track and is just a tremendous athlete.” St. John’s coach Bob Sackrider said of Chapko after the race. “This being her senior year she has very high goals for herself and she looked very comfortable tonight. This is a great first step for her considering all she wants to achieve.”
Chapko has strong competition in Haslett freshman Lauren Hunter who finished her first high school race in dominate fashion coming in thirty seconds ahead of the third-place runner Aiden Grasse of Holt. Despite the effort this was unmistakably St. John’s night though with Chapko and fellow Redwing Sarah Zehr finishing in the top five. Sarah had a great run, one of which might have been the best of her career, or at least it was in her coaches’ eyes.
“Sarah has come a really long way since her freshman year. She’s a junior and she has kind of willed herself over the years and fashioned herself into being a really high-level runner. I felt like this was one of her better races that I’ve seen from her out of her high school career.” Sackrider said of Zehr. “She should be absolutely thrilled, a lot of the time she was racing alone based on how the packs worked out. Sometimes that is easy to slip off of your pace, but she maintained it the whole way.”
It’s easy to see why this race is such a big draw for teams and their families. The evening run creates one of the most challenging yet exciting courses around. “The event was this long forming idea – every year we’d kick off the season with a midnight run and you do it in the dark a little bit, and we’d talked about doing a whole meet in the dark. It took about fifteen years of talking about it before we figured out the logistics and gave it a go.” Sackrider said. “The kids like it because the idea of it, we were trying to build that Friday night atmosphere you have with football and level of excitement in something different"
Other individual winners from the 21 team meet included Freeland’s freshman Braydon Honsinger, Holt’s Alex Penski, and Marlette’s Riley Ford. The race saw teams come from the far corners of Michigan bringing 472 runners. Rounding out the winning teams were Freeland (men's and women's), and Hudsonville.
Final Event Results can be viewed here: https://www.athletic.net/CrossCountry/meet/156700/results
LANSING, Mich. – Griffin Conine, Ryan Gold and Rafael Lantigua each crushed two-run homers and the Lansing Lugnuts (28-25, 60-62) rolled up the largest margin of victory in franchise history in a 19-1 rout of the Fort Wayne TinCaps (22-31, 55-66) on Friday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.
The Lugnuts came two runs from matching the franchise record for runs in a game, set in a 21-4 victory on May 14, 2004, while setting new season highs in runs, hits (18) and runs in an inning (an eight-run sixth inning that blew the game open).
Every Lugnuts member of the starting lineup collected at least one hit, led by center fielder Tanner Kirwer going 4-for-5 with two singles and two doubles, and scored one run, led by shortstop Lantigua’s four runs. Only third baseman Johnny Aiello, who finished 1-for-3 with two walks and two runs, failed to drive in a run; second baseman LJ Talley picked him up with four RBIs on a sacrifice fly, an RBI single and a two-run double.
The rout was so great that Fort Wayne needed two position players to finish the eighth inning on the mound, with Tyler Benson allowing five runs – including Conine’s league-leading 20th home run of the year – before first baseman Kelvin Alarcon came on to record the final out.
Catcher Gold ignited the offense with his sixth home run of the year, walloped to right field off Fort Wayne starter Cullen Dana (Loss, 2-2), who served up five runs on five hits and a walk in four innings.
Dana was replaced by Jose Quezada, who gave up a Gabriel Moreno RBI fielder’s choice in the fifth inning, putting the Lugnuts up 6-1, before allowing the first five batters to reach in the pivotal sixth, including consecutive run-scoring hits from LJ Talley, Tanner Kirwer and Otto Lopez.
Cody Tyler relieved Quezada and gave up a Yorman Rodriguez RBI single, a Moreno RBI double and a Conine sacrifice fly. He recovered to strike out Johnny Aiello before Lantigua belted his second home run of the year to left, increasing the Lugnuts’ lead to 14-1.
The recipient of the avalanche of run support was Lansing starter Troy Miller (Win, 6-7), pitched around seven hits and two walks in five innings, striking out three, and allowing only a Lee Solomon RBI double in the fourth.
Marcus Reyes and Brody Rodning took it from there, with Reyes striking out three batters in two hitless frames before Rodning pitched the eighth and ninth scorelessly.
Left fielder Lopez went 2-for-5 with a walk, extending his team high hitting streak to 17 games.
The Dayton Dragons arrive in Lansing on Saturday, opening a four-game series at Cooley Law School Stadium on Michigan Baseball Hall of Fame Night / Pure Michigan Night presented by Farm Bureau Insurance with post-game LAFCU Fireworks! Lugnuts right-hander Cobi Johnson (4.39 ERA) starts against Dayton right-hander Eduardo Salazar (4.52). -from the Lansing Lugnuts
LANSING, Mich. – Lansing Ignite FC attacker Rafa Mentzingen has been named the USL League One Player of the Month for July, earning a majority of the fan vote and unanimous League One Technical Committee support.
Mentzingen becomes the second LIFC player to earn the honors after goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland was named the USL League One Player of the Month for June.
"It's a great honor to be player of the month in a league with so many top players," Mentzingen said, "especially in a month in which the race for the playoffs became so intense."
The Brazilian standout appeared in four games for the team in July, recording two goals and three assists. Mentzingen was a problem for every defense he faced and recorded six scoring chances.
"I think there were a couple factors that helped me have good performances in the month of July," Mentzingen said. "First of all, having my mom and sister here gave me the confidence and the extra motivation to push myself to a higher standard. Also, my teammates and the coaching staff gave me the confidence and the freedom I need to play the way I feel most comfortable."
The former Valparaiso University standout has been electrifying for the team since making his professional debut on March 30. He's recorded four goals and four assists in 2019 and has attempted the most shots and shots on goal for LIFC.
"Rafa is performing at a very high standard and is working extremely hard every single day," LIFC Head Coach Nate Miller said. "We are a very explosive and connected team, and Rafa is scoring and creating a lot of goals. He is also defending at a very high level and is becoming an all-around top player."