LANSING | T.F. South and Lowell were trading first places with regularity throughout Saturday's T.F. South Invitational track meet.
The Red Devils piled up early wins in both throwing events and the 3,200. Jalen Woods brought the Rebels wins in the triple jump and high jump. Teammate Joe Richmond beat Lowell's Mitch Leckrone to the line in the 110-meter hurdles.
Caleb Smith added a win in the 100, 10 more points going to the Rebels' cause. Lowell's Roman Huseman answered with a win in the 800.
By the time Leckrone edged Richmond in the 300 hurdles, it was clear the meet would come down to the 1,600-meter relay. Lowell's Kyle Eller taking the individual 1,600 all but guaranteed that whatever school led the other across the finish line would take the meet.
As it turned out, Lowell led everyone across the line, with T.F. South .96 seconds behind. Eller, Lowell's anchorman, edged fast- closing Jalen Woods of T.F. South at the finish, and the 10 points Lowell picked up to T.F. South's eight earned Lowell the title over T.F. South, 106-105.
Leckrone had opened a lead in the second leg of the relay. Richmond tried to close the gap in the penultimate lap, but failed to gain as much as he'd hoped.
"We would have gotten them if I'd have pushed it at the 100-meter mark like I should have," Richmond said.
That left it to Woods, who had earlier added a win in the 400 to his triple jump and high jump crowns. In his last home meet as a senior, he was chasing a fourth win. But he was also chasing Eller, who had looked like a man walking to the corner to catch a bus during his 1,600 triumph, and hardly looked exhausted even after holding off Woods in the final 50 meters of the relay. The margin of just under a second added the two necessary points for a team title into Lowell's ledger.
Woods only needed to clear 5-10 to win the high jump, but the 48- degree temperatures kept everyone grounded.
"It was cold, and real hard to get loose," Woods said. "I didn't come in until 5-8, so I had to wait and keep warming up. That was a factor.
I had a bad jump in the triple also. I'm happy I won, but I'm never satisfied."
Marian Catholic took third, with 95 points, highlighted by wins in the 400 relay and 800 relay, and Matthew Simmons edging Highland's Nick Jones in the long jump on his second-best jump after they matched bests at 19 feet, 9.75 inches. Simmons was second to Woods in the triple jump.
Illiana Christian came in second to Lowell in the sophomore scoring with a split squad. The Vikings were an all sophomore and freshman contingent, because the school's prom was Friday night. They still scored 34 points on the varsity level, including a second in the 3,200- meter relay and thirds for Kevin Vroegh in both the 400 and 200.