EGR's Bishop, Fremont Earn Places with Elite

November 2, 2019

Second Half reports

BROOKLYN – Evan Bishop of East Grand Rapids had already established himself as one of the elite runners in a state known for producing great distance talent.

But while Bishop had credentials and a reputation that stacked up favorably with anyone’s in Michigan, he didn’t have an individual MHSAA championship on his resume.

That changed Saturday when he won the Lower Peninsula Division 2 meet with a time of 15:12.6.

In the process, he defeated one of the runners who deprived him of getting an MHSAA championship sooner, Dearborn Divine Child senior Anthony Hancock. Hancock was second in 15:18.2.

Bishop was second in cross country last year to Otsego senior Alex Comerford. In the spring, he took second to Hancock in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 9:08.03. In between those performances, Bishop earned All-America honors at the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championship in San Diego by placing ninth.

“Last year I made it to some of the national meets, and it was a big surprise,” Bishop said. “This year coming back, it’s like I know I’m at that level. I’m just trying to improve upon last year. I’ve checked those boxes. I made it to nationals, I was second three times last year. Honestly, this season, my biggest goal was winning this race. I couldn’t be happier.”

Bishop emerged victorious in a race that featured four runners who have broken 15 minutes. It was unlikely anyone would break that barrier Saturday on a muddy course and in windy conditions.

“If the weather would’ve been a little bit better, the extreme level of the field this year is just amazing,” said Bishop, who won 10 of 11 meets and didn’t lose to a runner from Michigan this fall. “Times could have been really fast.”

When Hancock crossed the line, he immediately turned around to watch the battle for third place. He had a vested interest in the outcome because his twin brother, Michael, was battling Fremont’s Nathan Walker. Michael Hancock edged Walker by two tenths of a second with a time of 15:23.7.

“Going into it, we were hoping for one and two,” Anthony Hancock said. “It didn’t end up happening, but we did end up going two and three. I knew Michael and Walker would be battling it out. I had a feeling Michael would beat him, because his kick is so strong. I turned around, and I saw him pass him.”

Walker did come away with the satisfaction of leading his team to a championship, as Fremont dominated the field with a 68-point performance. Otsego was second with 176. It was Fremont’s eighth MHSAA championship, the last coming in 2015.

Fremont put its five scoring runners in the top 28 in the team race. Conor Somers was sixth in 16:01.5, Adam Ward 14th in 16:23.0, Ben Paige 16th in 16:23.9 and Mikko Vesma 28th in 16:40.3.

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PHOTOS: (Top) East Grand Rapids’ Evan Bishop pulls a few steps ahead of Dearborn Divine Child’s Anthony Hancock and Fremont’s Nathan Walker. (Middle) Fremont’s Adam Ward (272) leads another pack that includes teammate Joshua Zerfas (273). (Photos by Matt Yacoub/

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/