TR’s Fowlkes overcomes weather, past injuries to qualify for state

Big night also for Taylor, Coffey

STURGIS — Nothing was going to stand in Arionne Fowlkes’ path to the state meet.
Fowlkes, Three Rivers’ star junior sprinter and relay specialist, wasn’t about to let anything deter her from reaching that destination.
Not even the unseasonably cold weather and rain.
The adverse conditions didn’t seem to bother Fowkes, who captured a regional title in the 100-meter dash in a time of 12.81.
“I was really excited for this meet. I haven’t lost a race in the 100 yet this season. After not being able to run in this meet the last couple years it was emotional. I cried after knowing I had won because I’ve done what I have need to do to remain healthy this season,” Fowlkes said.
“My goal on the anchor leg of the 1600 relay was to try and catch the Edwardsburg anchor. When I saw I wasn’t going to make up the difference, I just ran hard to help us hold onto second and get to state. I’m really proud of the other girls on the team. We have put in the hard work and if we do that, we will do fine at state.”
Three Rivers girls’ coach James Phillips was pleased to see Fowlkes earn her first trip to the state finals.
“Arionne has put in the hard work and it’s paying off for her now. She has focused on the fundamentals and listened to our coaching staff and her personal trainer Aaron Baker on improving her start out of the blocks and her positive attitude has helped her immensely,” Phillips said.
“I am proud of this team. We were able to score a lot of depth points and the girls have really bought into the team concept. Izzy placed and qualified in both throws and all of our younger girls scored big points for us. We’ve gotten into a good routine of making sure we are stretched out and ready to run our races.”
Three Rivers was in third place heading into the final lap of the girls’ 1600 relay.
Fowlkes got the baton, then caught and passed the Otsego runner, holding on to help the Lady Cats qualify for state with a second-place time of 4:19.74.
Fowlkes teamed up with Desiree Sussdorf, Haradine and Schneider for third in the 400 relay (53.12).
Three Rivers used its top tier talent and team depth to capture second place with 82 points in the girls’ meet. Otsego finished first with 97.
One event in the girls’ meet, the long jump, was postponed due to the wet conditions until Monday at 5:30 p.m.
It’s unlikely Three Rivers will be able to score enough points to overtake Otsego in the final point standings.
Izzy Taylor, another talented junior for the Lady Wildcats coached by James Phillips, took home a regional crown in the shot put with a throw of 37-4__1/2.
Taylor also qualified in the discus with her throw of 103-5 for second place.
“I’m really excited because winning regionals is a great achievement for me. In the middle of the season I hadn’t been throwing that well so doing this great today gives me a lot of confidence,” Taylor said.
“I feel my competition level this season has been much higher than last year, and its really motivated me. My goal is to throw 40 feet in the state meet. My best is 38-10 in last year’s state finals.”
Three Rivers placed two in the girls’ pole vault. Campbell Haradine finished fifth (8-0) and Alexandria Deel fiished in a three-way tie for sixth (7-6).
Senior Cara Smith claimed a fifth-place finish for Three Rivers in the girls’ 100 hurdles (18.28).
Please see Saturday’s Commercial-News print or e-edition for the full article.

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