Looking to qualify

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- It all comes down to Friday afternoon for the track and field athletes in the state of Michigan.
Most of the state's regional track and field meets will be held Friday afternoon, including the two in which the athletes from Niles, Brandywine and Buchanan will participate.
The Niles track and field teams will travel to Middleville Thornapple-Kellogg for the Division 2 Regional Meet while the Brandywine and Buchanan track and field teams will head east to Constantine for the Division 3 Regional Meet. The Division 3 meet is set to begin at 2 p.m. and the Division 3 meet is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.
While the teams are not likely to advance past the regionals, several athletes from Niles, Brandywine and Buchanan should make a strong run at qualifying for the state finals.
Niles junior Lonnie Jones and Brandywine senior Lacey Hutchings will be looking to repeat as state qualifiers this year. Jones finished seventh at last year's state finals in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.34. Hutchings qualified but did not place in the shot put.
Other hopefuls this season include Niles junior Karyce Pulliam, Brandywine senior Nikki Smith and Buchanan junior Quinton Buish.
Jones has consistently posted times near the qualifying standard of 11.3 in the 100-meter dash.
Hutchings should have an easy time of it Friday as she needs only to achieve a put of 34-8 to qualify. This past weekend at the Lakeland Conference meet she finished second with a put of 37-1.
Pulliam could qualify in two events--the 200-meter dash and the 100-meter dash. His best chance is the 200 where he has broken the qualifying time of 23.1 at least once this season. He is also close to the 100 qualifying time of 11.3.
Smith's best shot at qualifying for the finals is in the 200-meter dash. This past weekend she won the 200 at the Lakeland Conference meet with a time of 27.8. The state qualifying standard in that race is 27.2.
Buish also has a shot at qualifying in the 200-meter dash. He ran a time of 24.0 at Saturday's Lakeland Conference meet. The qualifying time is 23.1.
This year's state finals meets will be held on Saturday, May 31. The Division 2 meet will be held at Caledonia High School and the Division 3 meet will be held at Comstock Park High School.

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