After Close Calls, Chelsea Claims Title
June 1, 2013
By Greg Chrapek
Special to Second Half
ADA – This spring’s high school sports season long will be remembered for having some of the worst weather in years.
While the wet and cold weather hampered many teams across the state, the Chelsea boys track team used it to its advantage. And the payoff was an MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 2 track and field championship Saturday afternoon at Forest Hills Eastern.
After coming close the past two years, the Bulldogs came away with this year’s title as they totaled 64 points to edge second-place Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills by eight points.
Chelsea finished second two years ago, and last year the Bulldogs placed third. This year, thanks to some hard training when the weather was at its worst in the spring, Chelsea had what it took to bring home the title hardware.
“Back in March and April when the weather was bad and everyone was complaining about how bad the weather was, we talked about just concentrating and working harder,” Chelsea coach Eric Swager said. “Rain, sleet or snow everyone was out there working their hardest, and it paid off. … Everyone just worked that much harder when the weather was bad.”
The hard work resulted in Chelsea having a deep team capable of scoring points in a variety of events.
“Everybody contributed,” Swager said. “The sprints, the relays, the distance runners, field events. The entire team has been focused and working hard from day one. We have some individual talent, but everybody stuck together and that was the key.”
Berkley Edwards was one of the individual talents that helped pave the way for the Bulldogs. One of the state’s top sprinters, Edwards wrapped up his high school track career by winning both the 100 and the 200-meter dashes.
Edwards turned in a time of 10.58 in the 100-meter dash and then came back to edge Gary Jones of Allegan in a 200-meter dash that came down to the end. Edwards finished with a time of 21.37.
“Things went well for me today, better than expected,” Edwards said. “I ran a 10.58 which was a p.r. (personal record) in the 100, and then I ran a 21.37 which was a p.r. in the 200.”
The highlight for Edwards was holding on to win the 200.
“It was definitely a photo finish,” Edwards said. “It was a real close race. My strategy was to get out to the lead and hold it on the curve. I heard him (Jones) coming. I didn’t want to stress. I just stay relaxed.”
Sweeping both the 100 and 200 was a major key to Chelsea’s title and part of the strategy going into the Finals.
“My coaches told me I had an opportunity to win two races,” Edwards said. “They thought I could get the 100 and possibly the 200, and if I did we had a real good chance of winning.”
The Bulldogs also picked up points in the field events as senior Michael Hovater won the pole vault by clearing 14 feet, 10 inches. Chelsea also won the 3,200-meter relay as the team of Zach Rabbitt, Jacob Stubbs, David Trimas and Tony Vermilye turned in a time of 7:55.84.
Chelsea was pushed for the title by an Ottawa Hills team that had one of its best Finals performances in recent history. Key to Ottawa Hills’ strong effort was the performances turned in by its sprint relay teams.
Ottawa Hills finished in the top three of three of the four relay events, led by the first-place 400-meter relay team of Shawn Kneeland, Sam Beal, Jacori Millbrooks and Teyland Avery.
The relay was seeded second coming into the day but came away with the school’s first title-winning effort at the Finals since 1997.
“This was real big,” Kneeland said. “The key for us was to focus. Not to worry about anyone else and just focus on running our best.”
Senior Teyland Avery ran the anchor leg for the Bengals.
“To win a state title in Grand Rapids was real special,” Avery said. “We had two seniors on the relay team, and to finally win a title is special. Last year we finished third at state and we didn’t do too well. This just feels great. To run in my city and to win in my city is pretty special.”
For Detroit East English senior Marcell Wyckoff and the rest of his teammates, Saturday’s Finals were the first in school history as East English is in its first year as a high school. Wykoff, who came in seeded second, won the 400-meter dash.
“The first thing I wanted to do was to get out fast,” Wykoff said. “I knew if I got out to a good start, nobody would catch me. I had a pretty good start, and I held on.”
Wykoff’s title was the first in school history and was a little bittersweet for the senior.
“I came over from Crockett Tech,” Wykoff said. “This year was really different. It was not like I thought my senior year would be, but it ended up pretty good winning a state championship. It feels good on the inside.”
Mason senior distance runner Tanner Hinkle ended a few years of frustration both on the track and during cross country season. He won the 3,200 by more than four seconds with a time of 9:13.41.
“I have finished second two different times at state,” Hinkle said. “Winning it my senior year feels real good, to finally win a state title. I also finished second at state during the cross country season. I’ve been very close to a state title a few times before, and to finally win one is a dream come true.”
In the field events, Cadillac senior Riley Norman closed out a successful high school throwing career by winning the shot put for a second consecutive season. He turned in a winning put of 59-10, missing a Finals record by less than two feet.
“I won it last year with a 61-2 ½ and this year I had a p.r. of 62-10,” Norman said. “I wanted to set a new record, but I came up a little short.”
PHOTOS: (Top) Chelsea's Berkley Edwards races toward the finish line on the way to winning one of his two MHSAA titles Saturday. (Middle) Mason's Tanner Hinkle sets the pace in the 3,200. (Photos by Greg Chrapek.)
Peramaki Adds to Past Finals Fame by Leading Munising to Team Title
By Jason Juno
Special for MHSAA.com
June 4, 2023
KINGSFORD – Munising’s Micaiah Peramaki couldn’t really top last year’s Upper Peninsula Division 3 Finals. He became the eighth male all-time to win four events at an MHSAA track & field championship meet.
“I proved myself last year, so it’s a little more of a fun meet this year,” Peramaki said. “But it’s still important for me just to do good.”
And he was excellent again.
He led the Mustangs to the team title with individual wins in the 100, 200 and 400. He was also a part of the winning 1,600 relay team.
“The 100, I was right next to my brother, Josiah; he ended up getting third. That was really fun actually. We both did really good in that,” Peramaki said. “The 400, I had Aa’Keem (Jackson) from Newberry to watch out for. He pushed it hard in the corner over here, I was prepared for it and I just ran hard from there.”
Josiah Peramaki repeated with a win in the pole vault. Other members of the 1,600 relay were Kane Nebel, Zack Lindquist and Josiah Peramaki.
Munising won the team title with 103.5 points. Newberry was second with 81, Bessemer third with 52 and Rapid River fourth with 44.
Bessemer won the 400 relay (Tommy Trudgeon, Landon Peterson, Daniel Lis and Vinnie Triggiano). Bessemer also finished fifth in the 800 relay – despite being seeded first – and Trudgeon said he had to make a comeback in the 400 relay, which also was seeded first.
He was behind after a shaky handoff, though. But the 100 meters is probably his best race anyway. He finished runner-up to Peramaki, one-tenth of a second behind him.
“I guess I just had to close like a train,” he said of his leg of the relay. “It feels great, glad to win.”
Newberry won the 800 relay (Marco Juarez, Jackson, Matthew Rahilly and Kennedy Depew) and Dollar Bay the 3,200 relay (Joshua Gaunt, Josh Luukkonen, Caleb Kentala and Amos Norland).
Crystal Falls Forest Park’s Samuel McKissack won the 110 hurdles, and Newberry’s Chris Hopson was champion in the 300 hurdles.
In the distance races, Dollar Bay’s Norland won the 800, Forest Park’s Gaven Rintala the 1,600 and Chassell’s Kalvin Kytta the 3,200.
The latter race with Norland was so close – Kytta won by seven hundredths of a second – that Kytta wasn’t sure if he was in fact champion or not.
“I got passed by the leader. I tried to stick on him through the rest of the race,” he said. “He got a little gap on me the last 100 meters. I just felt that juice. I think I passed him.”
It turns out he did.
Whitefish Township, which has just 22 students in the high school, went home with a champion for the first time in school history – Seth Mills in the discus. Newberry’s Rahilly won the long jump, North Central’s Dylan Plunger won the high jump and Rapid River’s Kody Goldi took the shot put.
PHOTOS (Top) Munising's Micaiah Peramaki, center, wins the 400 on Saturday. (Middle) Bessemer's Vinnie Triggiano (4) is able to hold off Lake Linden-Hubbell's Matthew Jokela and Newberry's Kennedy Depew to win the 400 relay. (Below) Chassell's Kalvin Kytta, left, and Dollar Bay's Amos Norland run together until the end of the 3,200. (Photos by Cara Kamps/RunMichigan.com.)