CUTLERVILLE — Abbie Porter of South Christian proved to the entire state how talented of a runner she has become.
Porter, a junior, was the Division 2 state champion in the 400-meter run in Zeeland (56.87). Isabel Olds of Trenton was a very close second (56.93).
Porter was third in the state race in 2014 (57.13).
This season, Porter also combined with Haley Ritsema, Nicole Kruithof, and Mariel Bruxvoort in the 4×400 relay, which took fourth (4:09.39).
Porter’s coach, Eric Grimm, said while it’s hard to predict how any athlete could do at the state finals, her championship performance was not surprising.
South Christian tied for third in the state team standings. Porter’s versatility in the sprints was critical.
“It depends on where we need points,” Grimm said. “We were getting more points out of her in the 100 and 200 than we were in the 800.”
But the 400 was the event where Porter had her chance to shine, and she took advantage for a school record. Her time was significantly better than the 59.15 clocking from the regionals.
“She had a much faster start than she had been doing,” Grimm said. “She went for it at the opening. She struggled on the straightaway. Typically for her, she’s catching and passing. But it worked. She used her potential by going for it early. I couldn’t really see for sure if she won. It was a very close finish between her and the other girl.”
Grimm indicated that the 800 may have been Porter’s second-best event.
“She only ran it twice,” Grimm said. “But she ran a 2:18.02 at the end of the season. That’s a very good time. She had (previously) talked about if she should run the 400 or 800, because possibly in the 800, she might do better. I thought she’d do better in the 400. I’m glad that worked out.
“If she hadn’t placed high in the 400, we might be rethinking that maybe she should have run the 800. But she’s certainly capable of doing well in the 800.
“In the ninth grade, she ran the 800 more often than she ran the 400. Last year as a 10th-grader, I had her focus more on the 400, and she ended up getting a school record and doing real well.”
Porter’s best time in the 200 was 26.57 seconds at the OK Gold Conference meet.
Porter’s 4×400 team brought home a medal, but Grimm indicated there were higher hopes.
“That one didn’t go well as well as we had hoped,” Grimm said. “We were seeded first. If everybody had run well, they would have ended up first. It always doesn’t work out that way.”
Grimm indicated that Porter’s potential success as a senior may hinge on the team’s makeup.
“It depends a little bit on the rest of the team on where we can maximize points or that sort of thing,” Grimm said. “She could end up with a different focus. I think she should be a very good 200 runner and she could be a very good 800 runner. It depends a little bit on where we need to get points for the team.”