with slideshow: Pioneer boys, Saline girls win Larry Steeb Memorial Meet of Champions
The sun had long since dropped beneath the horizon and dropping temperatures sent athletes in shorts and tanks scurrying for extra layers.
So it was only fitting, perhaps, that the final race of Tuesday's Larry Steeb Memorial Meet of Champions was highlighted by another drop.
The Huron High School girls' 1,600-meter relay team overcame a mishandled baton exchange to win the race under the lights at Ypsilanti High School's Shadford Field.
The River Rats led the final race when Lamicah Hughbanks had to back-track to pick up the dropped baton. By the time her leg was over, Hughbanks had regained the lead before cleanly handing off to Anna Masini - who held off Saline for the victory.
Saline got its share of wins, however, taking the team title with 135 points. Pioneer was second with 95.5, followed by Huron (88) and Lincoln (71). Milan was fifth with 53 points, the highest total by a non-Division 1 school.
Pioneer won the boys title with 97.83 points. Canton (76), Saline (70.33) and Ypsilanti (58.5) followed. The host Phoenix were the top Division 2 team.
Pioneer's Nathan Karr, voted by coaches as the area's co-track athlete of the year, won the 800 run. He shared the honor with Steven Machin of Whitmore Lake, who won the 110 hurdles.
But it was Ypsilanti's Andrew Hunt who may have had the most impressive day at the 36th annual running of the Meet of Champions, which featured athletes from 26 schools in and around Washtenaw County.
Hunt won the 200 dash in 22.18 seconds, a new meet record, and sparked the Phoenix to a win in the 1,600 relay. Ypsilanti was in last place when he took the baton, but in first when he handed off to Austin Sanders, who completed the win on the anchor leg.
Hunt and Sanders were also part of Ypsilanti's winning 800 relay team and Kevin Atkins added a Phoenix win in the long jump.
Saline's Nathan Martis won the 1,600 run and Payton Hardy the 400 dash. Dexter's Jeremy Horner and Steve Ferguson - the boys' field athlete of the year - finished 1-2 in the pole vault.
Pioneer won the shuttle hurdle relays, Whitmore Lake the distance medley relay and Lincoln the 400 relay.
Saline's bevy of first-place finishes in girls competition came primarily in the distance running events. That included a first-place finish in the 3,200 relay by the all-freshman team of Alyssa Cummings, Kristin Green, Emily Reyst and Samantha Rathfan.
Co-track athlete of the year Kate Carter was part of Saline's first-place distance medley relay team and the Hornets added wins in the shuttle hurdle relays, the 400 relay and got an individual first-place from Rachel Nyberg in the long jump.
Chelsea's Olivia Detroyer, who shared the track athlete title with Carter, was part of the Bulldogs' winning 800 relay team.
Pioneer's two first-place finishes came from Christina Wade in the 100 dash and Sophia Kunselman in the 300 hurdles.
Huron's Maya Long won the 400 dash, Milan's Angela Swain the 800 run and Lincoln got first-place finishes from Tierra Williams (100 hurdles) and Lauren Ross (200 dash).
Like in the boys meet, Dexter went 1-2 in the pole vault with Micaela Conter and Claire Tewksbury. The Dreadnaughts also got a first-place finish from Nykie Caldwell in the high jump.