Traverse City Record-Eagle

Sports Columnists

May 30, 2014

Dennis Chase: St. Francis enjoying spectacular spring

After a slow weather-related start, the prep spring sports season is closing fast, beginning this weekend with the state tennis and track finals.

And what a spring it’s been for St. Francis.

The girls tennis team, after winning league and regional titles, enters today’s opening round in the Division 4 finals with five seeds in eight flights. Courtney and Carlee McCardel own the highest seed, a No. 2 in No. 2 doubles. Carlee McCardel, a sophomore, is already a two-time state champion in skiing. The Gladiators have been ranked as high as No. 3 in Division 4.

The girls track team, also coming off league and regional crowns, seeks to defend its Division 4 state title Saturday. The task will not be easy. Reading is the top seed in five events, second in two others. St. Francis sophomore Holly Bullough is the No. 1 seed in the 800 and 1600.

Not to be outdone, the boys golf team will play in the Division 4 state finals next weekend. The Gladiators won the district and tied for second in the regional.

The girls softball team, 28-3, and the boys baseball team, 20-6, vie for Division 3 district championships Saturday. Both squads won league titles as well.

The girls soccer team, which co-ops with Traverse City Christian, beat Glen Lake 3-2 Thursday to advance to Saturday’s Division 4 district final, opposite Leland. Liberty is 12-5.

Good thing graduation is Sunday, not Saturday.

FLASHBACK: The 40th annual Record-Eagle Honor Roll track meet Tuesday ended with a stirring performance when St. Francis anchor Holly Bullough made up a 20-yard deficit to help the Gladiators win the 1,600 relay. It was reminiscent of an Honor Roll race years ago when Benzie’s hard-charging Jolene Crooks did likewise, erasing a huge gap by chasing down a Traverse City runner to win the relay for the Huskies. Former Benzie coach Pete Moss was present Tuesday, watching the action in a chair near the finish line.

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