3-Sport Standout Back as Airport Coach

September 9, 2020

By Doug Donnelly
Special for Second Half

CARLETON – Dakota Bostic started his high school cross country career because he wanted to get into shape for his freshman year of basketball for Carleton Airport High School.

A decade later, Bostic is about to launch his coaching career as the varsity cross country coach for the Jets.

“Cross country teaches you a lot,” said Bostic, 22. “It’s a tough sport. There’s no one to battle but yourself. There’s plenty to learn from the sport. I didn’t learn it until I looked back a bit. When you stop, you kind of realize what you put yourself through. It makes you mentally tough.”

Bostic was a three-sport athlete at Airport before graduating in 2015. He ran varsity cross country for all four years, was moved up to the Jets varsity basketball team as a freshman and played baseball four years.

“I think sports are an integral part of a person’s school experience,” he said.

Bostic played basketball for four years at Concordia University in Ann Arbor, going from a little-used freshman to starting his junior and senior seasons. He was also an outstanding student at Concordia, being named the Justice and Public Policy Student of the year in 2019 and graduating with a bachelor’s degree. The award came in part because of his work on a class project that involved investigating a 2013 cold case murder of a mother of two from Taylor. He was named to the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference All-Academic Team multiple times, maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.25.

Airport athletic director Tim Duffy said when he heard Bostic was available this fall to be a coach, he called him up. He at first thought Bostic might be interested in being an assistant with the cross country team. But after talking to him, Duffy thought he would be a candidate for head coach.

“He was a very well-rounded athlete here,” Duffy said. “I can’t tell you how many times I saw him run or ride his bike to and from school to get into the gym. Everything he does, he puts everything he’s got into it. Everybody you talk to here speaks highly of him.”

After Bostic was hired, he had to go through the MHSAA certifications and complete a lot of paperwork to be eligible to coach.

“The morning after he was hired, he was in my office trying to figure out everything he had to do,” Duffy said. “He knocked it all out within a week. And, he did it all while juggling a job. That’s the type of kid he is.”

Bostic has enjoyed his first few weeks coaching the Jets runners.

“The kids have been great,” he said. “My little brother just graduated from Airport, so some of them know me. They are a receptive group. They all want to get better. They are learning what it takes.”

While basketball was his favorite sport in high school, cross country holds a special place in Bostic’s heart. Now, he gets to pass that on to a new group of student athletes.

“In any sport, there is something you can do to get better every day,” Bostic said.

Bostic grew up about three miles from Airport High School and remembers attending Jets sporting events from a young age.

“I remember looking up to the older guys, watching them play basketball and football,” he said.

He exceled in basketball, earning some looks from colleges while being an all-region player in Monroe County.

“I always knew I wanted to play basketball in college,” he said. “It was a process once I got there. I had to adjust. My freshman and sophomore seasons, I didn’t play very much. I had to make my name in practice. 

“By my junior year I started playing a little bit, then I got to start a game and stayed there from then on. It carried over into my senior year. In four years of playing basketball, I learned there are plenty of aches and pains.”

After Concordia, Bostic joined the Marines. He was in officer school when a back injury forced him to be honorably discharged. When Duffy found out Bostic had returned to the Airport area, he jumped at the chance to add Bostic to his coaching lineup.

“He’s a great guy, and we are happy to have him coaching with us,” Duffy said. “He’s a great pick-up for us.”

Bostic said his message to his cross country athletes will be to treat every practice and every meet as if it might be their last.

“Given the current situation of the world, I’ll try and remind them that no opportunity is guaranteed,” Bostic said. “You owe it to yourself and the kids who aren’t getting to participate to go out and not take it for granted.”

Bostic coming home to coach Airport is not necessarily what he previously pictured doing at this point in his life, but he’s happy to be doing it.

As Bostic said, "I hope to always be a Jet.”

Doug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.

PHOTOS: (Top) Dakota Bostic this fall is beginning his first season as Carlton Airport’s cross country coach. (Middle) Bostic makes his move toward the plate while pitching for Airport. (Below) Bostic lines up to shoot a free throw while playing at Concordia-Ann Arbor. (Top and middle photos courtesy of Monroe News; below photo courtesy of Concordia-Ann Arbor.)

Freeland's Hansen Smashes Longstanding Record, FHE Claims 1st Finals Victory

November 4, 2023

BROOKLYN — On the same day Rockford’s Dathan Ritzenhein set a course record at Michigan International Speedway that has never been approached, Kurtis Marlowe of Richland Gull Lake had a performance that was overshadowed.

But Marlowe’s winning time of 15:02.5 in the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 2 Finals in 2000 also stood the test of time.

Until Saturday.

Freeland junior TJ Hansen eclipsed the Division 2 record with his winning time of 14:52.8. Runner-up Solomon Kwartowitz of Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood also nearly broke the previous record, finishing in 15:03.3.

Even though it was apparent from earlier races Saturday that perfect conditions made fast times possible, Hansen didn’t set out to break Marlowe’s record.

“No, my goal was to go out and win,” he said. “Play strategy from the front, let others do the work, then just push it. Whatever time I got, I was gonna get. I knew it was going to take a time like that to win it today.

Henry Dixon sets the pace for Forest Hills Eastern's first team championship.“I usually run close to a (personal record) every year at this meet. It’s one of my favorite courses. It’s definitely unique here at the speedway, so I really like the course, I really like to run it.”

Hansen went through the mile mark tied for 11th in 4:54.3, but you could’ve thrown a blanket over the top 12 runners at that point.

It was a three-man race between Hansen, Kwartowitz and 2022 champion Connell Alford of Chelsea when they reached the two-mile mark in 9:46.

Hansen made sure there would be no drama coming down the stretch.

“I was just trying to stay calm, let them do the work, just sit back,” he said. “When I needed to go, I was gonna go. My goal was to stay relaxed.”

Kwartowitz had no complaints with his race.

“It felt really smooth,” he said. “It was great. I didn’t get a chance to race these guys a bunch this year. I did at Spartan (Invitational, in September). I was really hoping to end it with a victory.”

The boys Division 2 team championship was a toss-up between four teams for the second year in a row, with Ada Forest Hills Eastern coming out on top with 134 points. Pinckney was second with 156, East Grand Rapids third with 175 and Allendale fourth with 176.

Last year, 32 points separated the top four teams.

Junior Henry Dixon led Forest Hills Eastern, placing sixth in 15:16.0. Senior Liam Hinman was 29th, senior Brendan Hoving was 30th, senior Cooper Jacobsen was 38th and junior Tyler Endres was 82nd.

It was the first MHSAA championship for Forest Hills Eastern, which had a program-best finish of fourth in 2007.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Freeland's TJ Hansen approaches the finish of his record run Saturday at MIS. (Middle) Henry Dixon sets the pace for Forest Hills Eastern's first team championship. (Photos by Dave McCauley/RunMichigan.com.)