ADA – After four years, Chaniya Madison knew she was out of tomorrows.
The Bridgeport sprinter accepted that the odds of capturing a rare third Lower Peninsula Division 2 Finals title in the 100-meter dash depended largely on health. And if that was the case, Madison admitted a mysterious knee that has baffled doctors for four years would have much to say about the final result.
There were dark times because of the injury when Madison thought about giving in to the pain, calling it a career and moving on to something else.
But after Saturday's Finals at Forest Hills Eastern, Madison is glad she didn't.
She won her third championship in the 100 with a time of 12.07. The title comes after winning the event in both her freshman and junior seasons and caps four seasons of ignoring knee pain that nearly ended her career several times. It took nearly four years for doctors to determine Madison suffered from fluid of the knee, first in her left and then in her right knee. Madison said doctors tried since her freshman year to diagnose the problem, which they guessed could have been anything from arthritis to a torn muscle.
Even after the knee was finally drained, Madison said she considered herself only 85-percent healthy.
"I lost my will to participate, my mental health and my will to stick to it," Madison said. "But I took a few days off and decided I didn't care how much pain there was. This is a big relief. After being so tired, I just wanted to cry. This is so emotional for me."
Madison also helped the Bridgeport 800 relay finish first (1:44.14).
While Madison headed the individual winners, East Grand Rapids captured the team title with 66 points to 37.6 for runner-up Grand Rapids Christian. Zeeland East was third with 29 points, Hudsonville Unity Christian fourth with 23.6 and Allendale and New Boston Huron tied for fifth with 21.
The team title was the 146th state championship for the East Grand Rapids athletic program, but first for the girls track & field team. That's a fact coach Mike Dykstra said he carefully passed along to his athletes this season.
"Maybe it's a bit overwhelming," Dykstra said of joining the Pioneers' lengthy history of state championships. "We thought this was a chance to make history, and they bought into it. It was definitely a goal of ours. We have that as a goal at the start of every year. This was a pretty special year."
The Pioneers collected individual titles by Camryn Bodine in the 800 (2:12.46) and Drew Muller in the 1,600 (4:51.41) while also winning the 3,200 relay, which included Muller and Bodine (9:25.89).
Ludington senior RyAnn Rohrer had a big day winning the shot put (41-11) and discus (135-07). Like Madison, Rohrer had to overcome injury to win her titles. She suffered a leg injury after just two meets this spring and had to focus on getting healthy for the next two months. Rohrer not only had to overcome injury, she added the discus this season after a string of prior successes in the shot.
“I had to do a lot of work to improve, a lot of reps," said Rohrer, whose parents were both involved in throwing events in college. "I got very frustrated, so this is a relief. I knew I could do it, but sometimes it takes time and a mental ability. I had goals as a senior in the discus and I thought, ‘Why not take on a new challenge?’ I'm open to new things.”
Warren Regina junior Ella Jenkins won the 300 hurdles (44.99) and nearly won the 100 hurdles, finishing second (14.97) to Chelsea sophomore Leila Wells (14.96).
Jenkins was a Finals qualifier in the 100 hurdles a year ago and was seeded first in both events this season.
"I thought I had a shot," Jenkins said of winning the 100. "I always want to get out strong and finish with what I have left. I compete to win; I have a passion to win."
Grand Rapids Christian senior Madelyn Frens won the 3,200 (10:44.24). She said comparing Saturday's title with winning last fall's Division 2 cross country championship is not a stretch. Both, she said, involved mental strength. She also competed in the 1,600, where she was second, and the 3,200 relay, which finished runner-up to EGR.
"I like cross country because it's a little harder mentally, and it's longer," she said. "But this is more competitive, and it feels like there is more pressure with expectations. You have to push yourself mentally through both."
Elizabeth Anderson of New Boston Huron was a double winner in the 200 (25.07) and 400 (56.28).
Other champions included Linden in the 400 relay (49.41) and Dearborn Divine Child in the 1,600 relay (4:00.83).
In the field events, Natalie Christnagel of Grosse Ile won the high jump (5-4), Jordyn Wright of Tecumseh took the pole vault (12-0) and Lindsay Girard of Marine City took first in the long jump (17-7).
PHOTOS (Top) Bridgeport's Chaniya Madison, middle, crosses the finish line first in the 100 meters Saturday at Forest Hills Eastern. (Middle) East Grand Rapids celebrates its first girls track & field Finals championship. (Click for more from Dave McCauley/Run Michigan.)