Potter's House's Osterink, Hillsdale Academy Earn 1st Finals Wins

November 6, 2021

BROOKLYN — Lezawe Osterink’s arrival among the state’s elite was deferred for a year.

He was ready to make a run at the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 4 cross country championship in 2020, but was unable to run at Regionals after breaking his collarbone on a training run.

Who says cross country isn’t a contact sport?

The junior from Wyoming Potter’s House showed up Saturday at Michigan International Speedway as a different runner than the one who had a respectable 55th place as a freshman in 2019.

Osterink completed an undefeated season by winning the Division 4 race in 15:50.60. He won by 23.76 seconds ahead of Concord senior Jonathan Mikovits.

Last year, Osterink was on track to get to MIS when he won the Pre-Regional meet.

“I broke my collarbone before Regionals, then I got COVID,” he said. “That was kind of a big disappointment. I couldn’t run at all. We were going to try to push it and try to win state that year.”

Hillsdale Academy cross countryOsterink won all 13 races in which he competed this fall, giving him a 14-race winning streak going back to last season.

After racing at MIS as a freshman, he began to dream about becoming a Finals champion.

“I didn’t know if it would become realistic,” Osterink said. “I put in a lot of work. Our coach knows what he’s doing. I had good teammates to train with. That’s what I would say got me here.”

Osterink reached the mile mark in 5:03.3, giving him a 4.6-second cushion over Mikovits. The lead increased to 7.6 seconds when Osterink hit a two-mile split of 10:10.1.

“I could feel myself running away,” he said. “I was surprised. They went out good. They stuck with me for a while. I was scared of the guy behind me. I didn’t look back, but people who were there said he was close, so I had to keep hammering the whole time.”

In the team competition, Hillsdale Academy grouped its second through fifth runners only 13 seconds apart to win with a score of 154 points.

Senior Emil Schlueter gave Hillsdale Academy a low stick with his eighth-place finish in 16:49.75, good for sixth among team runners. Two eighth-graders scored for the Colts: Cole Bates (64th, 17:56.70) and Grayson Rorick (72nd, 18:02.22). Also scoring were sophomore Thomas Holm (51st, 17:49.17) and freshman Vincent Reagle (69th, 17:59.71).

It was the first MHSAA team championship for the Colts, whose best finishes were 10th-place showings in 2010 and 2018.

Concord had three runners in the top 22, but had to count runners who were 75th and 159th overall.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS Potter’s House’s Lezawe Osterink approaches the finish of the Division 4 Final at Michigan International Speedway. (Middle) Hillsdale Academy’s Thomas Holm (844) and Adrian Lenawee Christian’s Grant Long (764) push down the final stretch. (Click for more from RunMichigan.com.)

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.)