St. Johns vastly improved over the two seasons, wins Division 2 girls track title

Track and Field   | Bill Khan

State Champs! Sports Network




Zeeland — Two years ago, St. Johns' girls' track and field team wasn't even a factor in its own conference.

The Redwings placed fifth out of six teams, never daring to dream of what they accomplished on Saturday when they pulled off a surprise victory in the Division 2 state finals at Zeeland Stadium.

With senior Karrigan Smith helping to score all but four of the team's points, St. Johns edged Flint Southwestern Academy, 36-34.

St. Johns had never placed in the top 10 in a state track meet, taking 21st last year when Smith won the 1,600-meter run. It was the first state championship for a girls' team from St. Johns, which has five from boys' teams (four in wrestling, one in track).

"I think I can speak for everyone when I say this is a surprise," Smith said. "A small town like St. Johns winning a state title in track and field? It's an indescribable feeling right now."

St. Johns coach Neil Feldpausch figured his team could be in the hunt, but had Southwestern tabbed as the favorite by a 39-34 margin on his pre-meet mock-up.

"Definitely we thought (Smith) could score points, but coming in thinking we were going to win the state meet? No, it didn't even cross my mind," Feldpausch said. "These girls have surprised me."

Smith repeated as the 1,600-meter champion in a rout, posting a time of 4:59.08