Preview: 4 Team Championships, Many More Contenders at LP Boys Finals
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
June 3, 2022
There are a number of knowns entering Saturday’s MHSAA Lower Peninsula Boys Track & Field Finals, as a number of stars are returning and looking to add to their past achievements.
What’s more difficult to forecast than usual is how the team competitions will finish. All four divisions appear to have multiple serious contenders, and many more possible outcomes.
Events begin at 10 a.m. (EDT) and tickets to attend can be purchased online only at GoFan. The meets also will be broadcast on MHSAA.tv and viewable with subscription.
Below is a glance at team contenders and individuals to watch in all four divisions.
Division 1 at Rockford
Team forecast: Last season saw the top 10 teams packed in within 14 points of each other and co-champs Fenton and Rockford – and Saturday could produce something similar. Detroit U-D Jesuit is seeking its first team title since 1993 and has qualifiers in a variety of events but major strengths in sprints and relays. East Kentwood saw its three-season title streak end with a 13th-place finish last spring, but again has intriguing relay, sprint and hurdle possibilities. Rockford may again be in the hunt as well.
Braxton Brann, Ann Arbor Huron junior: He qualified in the 200 and 300 hurdles last season, and could leave a lasting impact this weekend entering as the top seed in the 100 (10.44) and 200 (21.26) and running on the 400 relay.
Riley Hough, Hartland senior: The latest Michigan distance runner to earn national acclaim, Hough will attempt to follow up his 3,200 title from last year and back-to-back LPD1 cross country championships while seeded first in both the 1,600 (4:13.17) and 3,200 (9:08.71).
Armon Howard, Rochester Adams senior: He's seeded sixth in the 100 hurdles and seventh in the 300, but he has the top 300 time in the state this spring (37.30) and third-best in the 110 (14.37). He also will run on two relays.
Brayden Kennedy, Milford sophomore: He’s joined the state’s elite hurdlers in his second season, entering this weekend seeded first in the 300 (37.43) and second in the 110 (14.62).
Tamaal Myers II, Detroit Cass Tech senior: Last season’s champion in both hurdles races is seeded third in the 300 (37.87) and will run on the top-seeded 1,600 relay.
Jaiden Reed, Detroit U-D Jesuit junior: He also should move up substantially after finishing ninth in the 100 in 2021. Reed is the second seed in both the 100 (10.45) and 200 (21.44) and will run on the second-seeded 400 and top-seeded 800 relays.
Kellen Reed, Holt senior: After qualifying in the 100 last season, he’ll have a much busier Saturday competing in four events. He’s seeded fourth in long jump (22-9) but with the state’s best leap this season of 23-4¾. He’s also seeded sixth in the 100, seventh in the 200 and could run on the top-seeded 400 relay.
Cole Sheldon, Dexter senior: The reigning pole vault champion has the top seed by eight inches at 16 feet and the state’s highest vault of the season at 16-1. He’ll also run on the 800 relay.
Division 2 at Ada Forest Hills Eastern
Team forecast: Reigning champion Frankenmuth could be lined up well with all four relays qualifying including the top-seeded 800 group, plus strengths in the sprints, hurdles and throws. Detroit Martin Luther King will be in the mix too with strong sprints and relays, and a contender in long jump. Flint Powers Catholic should make a push after finishing runner-up by only 3¾ points last season.
Patrick Adams, Allendale senior: The reigning champion in the 110 hurdles is seeded first in both hurdles races – at 15.09 in the 110 and 39.97 in the 300 – and he’ll also run on the 800 relay.
Camryn Battjes, Allendale senior: He won pole vault last season and is back in the mix with a top vault this spring of 14-6½ – although the field might be chasing Charlotte senior Landon Cosby after he went 15-7 at his Regional.
Troy Cranford, Romulus senior: The reigning 200 champion will run the 100, 200 and is seeded fourth in the 400 (50.36).
Austin Hamlin, Flint Powers Catholic senior: The reigning 100 champ is back in that race, seeded third in the 200 (22.49) and running on two top-three seeded relays.
Alex Mansfield, Monroe Jefferson senior: After finishing first in shot put and second in discus last season, he’ll again take a run at both titles seeded first in shot (59-9) and seventh in discus.
Luke Stowasser, Edwardsburg senior: The reigning champion in both jumps is tied for the top high jump in Michigan this season at 6-9 and had the best Regional long jump in LPD2 at 22-1.
Garrett Winter, Parchment senior: He finished fourth in the 3,200 and 10th in the 1,600 in Division 3 a year ago, but has major last-meet opportunities seeded first Saturday in both the 1,600 (4:20.83) and 3,200 (9:32.94).
Division 3 at Kent City
Team forecast: Division 3 has seen 11 champions over the last 12 Finals. The only team that won twice during that time, Sanford Meridian, should contend Saturday. Pewamo-Westphalia is a possibility with strong relays, hurdles and field events. Saugatuck and Benzie Central could follow multi-event individual stars into the mix as well.
Carson Brunk, Potterville senior: He finished fifth in the 800 last season and should cap his high school career in a big way, seeded second in both the 800 (1:57.20) and 1,600 (4:23.20).
Benny Diaz, Saugatuck senior: After sweeping the hurdles races in Division 4 last season, Diaz is seeded first this weekend by nearly a second in the 110 (14.31) and almost a half-second in the 300 (39.75). He’s also seeded sixth in the 100 and fifth in the 200.
Hunter Jones, Benzie Central junior: The reigning 1,600 champ and three-time LPD3 cross country winner is seeded first in the 800 (1:54.42), 1,600 (4:19.51) and 3,200 (9:25.26).
Dane Plichta, Sanford Meridian senior: He finished third in the 200 last season and enters Saturday as the top seed in the 200 (22.36), tied for the top seed in the 100 (11.09) and running on two relays including the second-seeded 800.
Corey Schafer, Pewamo-Westphalia senior: The Pirates could receive their most points from Schafer, who was seventh in the 300 hurdles in 2021. He’s seeded second to Diaz in the 110 (15.26) and 300 (40.15) hurdles this time and will run on two relays.
Division 4 at Hudsonville Baldwin Middle School
Team forecast: Carson City-Crystal ended Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep’s two-season championship run last spring, and 2021 runner-up Saugatuck moving to Division 3 opens up even more possibilities. Hackett should return to contention and Carson City-Crystal will be back among the best as well. Reading, Flint Beecher, Concord and Hillsdale Academy all look to have enough points opportunities to push up the standings.
Tyler Bays, Reading junior: He finished 12th in the 1,600 last season, perhaps previewing this spring as he enters as the top seed in the 800 (1:59.64) and 1,600 (4:31.91) and could run on two of three relays including two second seeds.
Zane Forist, Carson City-Crystal senior: He set LPD4 Finals records in both the shot put and discus last season and has the state’s top throws by significant amounts this spring. He best shot put of 67-4 would threaten the all-Finals record.
Liam Mann, Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep junior: He qualified in the 100 and as part of a relay last season, but could lead Hackett back into the team title mix this time seeded first in the 200 (23.01), second in the 100 (11.06) and running with the top-seeded 800 relay and fourth-seeded 400 group.
Jok Nhial, Wyoming Potter’s House Christian senior: He won the long jump last season and is tied for the fourth seed this time at 20-10. His 21-9½ at last season’s Final would be the top seed.
Jaylin Townsend, Flint Beecher junior: He also had a headlining 2021 Finals with championships in the 100 and 200 and as part of the 800 relay. He enters Saturday top-seeded in the 100 (10.83) and running on the top-seeded 400 relay and fourth-seeded 800 relay.
PHOTOS (Top) Carson City-Crystal's Zane Forist unloads a shot put toss during a league competition May 11. (Middle) Pewamo-Westphalia's Corey Schafer leaps a hurdle during the Alma Invitational on May 13. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)