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 DougDonnelly@hotmail.com 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.)

Back from Broken Foot, Grandville's Arnsman Finishes as State's Top Senior

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for MHSAA.com

November 18, 2022

GRANDVILLE – Almost a year ago, Allie Arnsman didn’t know whether she would ever be able to run competitively again. 

West MichiganOver the last week, the Grandville senior was named Ms. Cross Country by the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association while also establishing a school record. 

Arnsman suffered a broken right foot during last year’s cross country season that required surgery.

“They told me there was a small possibility of even being able to run again,” Arnsman said. “It was very scary going into the surgery thinking that there was a 90-percent chance that I wouldn’t be able to run, but I had the doctors and the physical therapists that were able to get me back.”

Arnsman sustained the injury during the third meet of her junior season when she stepped in a hole on the course.

Originally, doctors didn’t think the injury was serious.

“They kept telling us it was just a sprain, and after six weeks it would be healed,” said Arnsman, who wore a boot on her right foot.

Arnsman returned to run in the final three races of last year, and finished 17th overall in the Lower Peninsula Division 1 Final.

However, she still felt uncertain that her foot was completely healed.

“It was really painful when I ran and I thought something was still wrong, but I wanted to finish out my junior year and I was grateful that I did,” Arnsman said. “Right after the state meet I had an MRI, and it revealed that it was broken.”

Arnsman missed the track & field season due to her recovery after surgery. She began running again in late spring and then returned in August for her senior year.

Arnsman, bottom row center, takes her place on the medal stand next to Holland West Ottawa champion Helen Sachs, far right. “It was a tough injury for her to overcome, but she came back and we started talking about goals for the season,” Grandville girls cross country coach Rachael Steil said. “I told her that I thought she had the potential to finish in the top five (at the Finals) and we joked about her winning.

“She had so much untapped potential, and she did so well on little mileage. She doesn’t realize how talented she is, but with the hard work she put in I felt like it was going to be a really good season.”

Arnsman ran well throughout the season and continued to drop her times.

At the Finals, she exceeded her own expectations by placing runner-up in Division 1 behind West Ottawa’s Helen Sachs. 

Arnsman finished with a time of 17 minutes, 43 seconds at Michigan International Speedway.

“I was just trying to go out with the front pack, and I wanted to stick up close and then close in in the last mile,” she said. “It was tough to catch her because she went out very fast, and I wasn't used to that pace. The weather conditions weren't great, and I just couldn't get up there.”

Still, Arnsman was ecstatic about her finish.

“I was really excited,” she said. “Coming into the season I did not think I could even be top three and I was hoping for a top 15, so placing second was amazing. It was a dream.”

Arnsman got more good news after the race as she was the top senior in all divisions and was named Ms. Cross Country.

“When they pulled me aside in the room I had the biggest smile on my face,” Arnsman said. “I knew going in that it was a possibility, but of course I didn't know right away. I was so excited.”

A week later, Arnsman ran in the MITCA Meet of Champions and became the fastest girl in Grandville school history when she finished second with a time of 17 minutes flat.

The previous record of 17:20 was set by Madison Troy in 2015.

“She was drastically improving through the season, and I knew the possibilities were endless for her,” Steil said. “She has great form, and she’s strong from all the weight training she did. She put all the little pieces together, and they came together at the right time.”

Arnsman will run for Grand Valley State next year, but it’s been a journey that was somewhat unexpected after growing up as an accomplished soccer player.

She stopped playing soccer after her sophomore year to focus on running.

“I grew up in soccer, so it was scary going into a new sport and giving up something that I loved,” Arnsman said. “It was a different sport and a whole new environment that I wasn’t used to, but I’m grateful that I was able to have the success I did. ... I never thought about running in college. I thought I would be playing college soccer.”

Arnsman, who ended her cross country career as a three-time Finals qualifier, will run indoor track & field this winter before running outdoor in the spring with her team.

Dean Holzwarth has covered primarily high school sports for Grand Rapids-based WOOD-TV for five years after serving at the Grand Rapids Press and MLive for 16 years along with shorter stints at the Ionia Sentinel and WZZM. Contact him at dream100@comcast.net with story ideas for Allegan, Kent and Ottawa counties. 

PHOTOS (Top) Grandville’s Allie Arnsman runs toward the finish at the Lower Peninsula Division 1 Cross Country Final on Nov. 5. (Middle) Arnsman, bottom row center, takes her place on the medal stand next to Holland West Ottawa champion Helen Sachs, far right. (Click for more from RunMichigan.com.)