By Dan D’Addona & Tom Markowski
Special for Second Half
ZEELAND — Led by a trio of dominant throwers, the Coldwater boys track & field team had high hopes of winning the Lower Peninsula Division 2 Finals on Saturday.
The team finished runner-up to Zeeland East last year and returned most of its point scorers.
Coldwater turned the tables and surged to the championship this time with 60 points at Zeeland Stadium.
“It means a lot. We got second last year, and we were really happy with that,” Coldwater’s Dylan Targgart said. “But we have never done this in school history. It feels really good.”
Zeeland East was second with 53 points, followed by Harper Woods Chandler Park (37), Tecumseh (33), Chelsea (26), Saginaw (25), Flint Powers Catholic (21), Wyoming Lee (20), Essexville Garber (18) and Romulus (18).
Coldwater powered through the shot put, taking the top three places behind Dylan Targgart (61-2), Zach Gipple (54-0¼) and Cole Targgart (52-6¾).
“The energy is always there when we are in the ring, and that helps us a lot,” Dylan Targgart said. “It’s fun. After each person hits their throw, we build off of each other and off of the energy that the crowd is giving us.”
Zeeland East’s Boone Bonnema was fifth (52-1) in the shot put.
Dylan Targgart won the discus with a throw of 170 feet, 10 inches, holding off East’s Brenden Knoll (170-1).
Coldwater’s Shuaib Aljabaly added a win in the 1,600 in 4:16.56.
“Nobody remembers who finishes second,” Aljabaly said of 2017. “Finishing second last year was a big part of what we did today.”
Aljabaly placed second in the 3,200-meter run last season and said he needed to do more this season to help his team score points. He ran the 1,600 just a few times as a junior and made a concerted effort in this event to compete with the best.
“This year the mile was my best event,” he said. “I felt, in the shorter the race, the more guts you have to have. I wanted more of a challenge this year.”
Aljabaly placed third in the 3,200 and then, oddly, ran in the next and final race, the 1,600 relay and helped Coldwater finish seventh for two more points.
“It was great seeing everyone perform,” Targgart said.
Zeeland East’s Gabe Taylor, Alex Stockdale, Bryce Metzger and Corbin DeJonge won the 800-meter relay (1:29.67). The quartet also won the 400 (43.06).
DeJonge won the 300-meter hurdles in 38.14 for the Chix.
“My Regional time wasn’t very good, and I knew I had to do something different to try to win this, so I tried to bring it out way faster than I normally do, then try to have the crowd drag me through at the end,” DeJonge said. “It is tough because (the state title) as a team is what we were working toward.”
One of the more impressive athletes on this day was Thomas Robinson of Wyoming Lee. This was Lee’s first season competing at the Division 2 meet. Robinson won the 100 and 200 both of the last two seasons in Division 3, improving his times in both each time.
Robinson made it a double three-peat Saturday as he set personal bests in the 100 (10.85) and in the semifinals of the 200 (21.6). His winning time in the 200 was 21.62.
Robinson didn’t compete in track until his sophomore year, the same year he tried out for football. A 6-foot-1, 180-pound receiver, Robinson said he’s more of a fan in that sport than he is in track. Be that as it may, Robinson signed to run track at Michigan State.
“My football coach at the time told me I should go out for track,” he said. “He said it would make me better in football. I don’t like track as much as football. I’m just better at track.
“I felt good running the 200. I am getting better. Just look at my times.”
Like Robinson, Anthony Hudson of Harper Woods Chandler Park competed in football and track. And, like Robinson, Hudson began his high school career rather late. Hudson competed in track in middle school but decided not to compete as a freshman. He ran a couple of races as a sophomore before making a commitment his junior year. Last season he placed sixth in the long jump and was second in the 200. This season he won the 110 hurdles with a time of 14.68. He also placed fourth in the 200.
He held off Zeeland East’s DeJonge (14.69) by a hundredth of a second in the 110 in one of the closest races of the day.
“I didn’t think I’d be that good my freshman year,” he said. “That’s why I didn’t come out.”
Hudson signed to play football at Davenport University and said he might try both sports if he can handle the load. He plans on majoring in sports management in college.
Chances are not many in the crowd expected Jacob Denison of Tecumseh to do well in the 400 run. That’s all right. Denison followed his own expectations.
The junior won the 400 with a time of 49.27, a personal best. Last season he competed in one event, the 1,600 relay. Denison also ran on the 400 and 800 relays this season.
“I’ve been working hard all season for this,” he said. “It’s not much of a surprise to me. It was just a lot of hard work. I knew I had to take it out fast today. I had a good coach who got me out of the block faster, and I had a lot of support from my family. I’m blessed.”
Injuries held Alex Comerford back last season as the junior from Otsego placed 11th in the 3,200. Healed by the time fall rolled around, Comerford placed second at the Cross Country Finals and won the 3,200 on Saturday with a time of 9:07.25.
“It’s something I’ve been working on,” he said. “I haven’t been finishing well, and it was really my cross country season that started things. I got stronger. I grew up.”
In the 3,200-meter relay, Chelsea’s Connor Gilbreath, Jensen Holm, Carson Rabbitt and Tom Oates won in 7:56.48, holding off Zeeland West’s Carson Holwerda, Bryce Arredondo, Lunke Munsey and Matthew Converse (7:59.93).
Parma Western’s Alex Inosencio won the pole vault in 15-8, besting the field by an entire foot. Lake Fenton’s Jaden Zaitshik won the high jump in 6-7, and Saginaw’s Tony Martin won the long jump in 22-7.
Essexville Garber’s Josiah Morse won the 800 (1:55.63), and Lansing Catholic’s Ryan Schroeder, James Fedewa, Jack Fedewa and Ryan Ruiter won the 1,600 relay (3:23.27).
PHOTOS: (Top) Coldwater's Zach Gipple begins to unwind on a discus toss Saturday. (Middle) Chandler Park's Anthony Hudson, middle, stays just ahead of Zeeland East's Corbin DeJonge, left, in the 110 hurdles, which proved to be the closest race of the meet. (Photos by Janina Pollatz. Click for more from RunMichigan.com.)
David Kozisek ♦ Pickford
Senior ♦ Track & Field
Kozisek was an exchange student from Czech Republic this school year, and when he returns home this week he'll do so having accomplished a rare feat in MHSAA track & field history. On Saturday he became the ninth male athlete to win four individual events at a Finals, taking first in the 110 hurdles (15.40), 300 hurdles (41.39), high jump (6-3) and long jump (20-10) in helping Pickford to the Upper Peninsula Division 2 team championship.
After also playing football and basketball for the Panthers, Kozisek joined the track & field team this spring with plenty of knowledge having competed in that sport over the last six years in his home country. He was incredibly close to leaving an even larger historical imprint last weekend; Kozisek's long jump and high jump both were just one inch off tying UPD2 Finals records, and his 110 time missed that meet record by only six hundredths of a second. He was the first to win four boys events with the combination of two hurdles races and two jumps, and the second four-time individual winner joining Joe Baker, who in 1974 became the first from any school to win four Finals events.
Follow the MHSAA on TikTok.
MHSAA.com's "Performance of the Week" features are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.
June 1: Helena McLellan, Northville soccer - Report
May 25: Mitchel Luck, Linden lacrosse - Report
May 18: Ahava Le Febre, Holland tennis - Report
May 11: Gracie Maloney, Macomb Dakota softball - Report
May 4: Braxton Brann, Ann Arbor Huron track & field - Report
April 27: Owen Patton, Vestaburg track & field - Report
April 20: Lilly Damm, Millington softball - Report
April 13: Larissa Huffman, Mackinaw City track & field - Report
April 6: Darius Acuff, Detroit Cass Tech basketball - Report
March 23: Regan Finkbeiner, Hemlock basketball - Report
March 16: Alaina Yaney, Grand Ledge gymnastics - Report
March 9: Braeden Davis, Dundee wrestling - Report
March 2: Gabriel Sanchez-Burks, Ann Arbor Pioneer swimming - Report
Feb. 23: Grace Sobczak, Marquette swimming - Report
Feb. 16: Kaitlynn Demers, Gibraltar Carlson competitive cheer - Report
Feb. 9: Indya Davis, West Bloomfield basketball - Report
Feb. 2: Braydon Sorenson, Onekama skiing - Report
Jan. 26: Shayna Hruska, Iron Mountain wrestling - Report
Jan. 19: Kayla Tafanelli, Warren Woods-Tower bowling - Report
Dec. 20: Brenden Paden, Riverview Gabriel Richard hockey - Report
Dec. 16: Tuff Scott, Holton bowling - Report
Dec. 9: Macey Fegan, Standish-Sterling basketball - Report
Dec. 2: Treyton Siegert, Gladwin football - Report
Nov. 24: Lily Witte, Dexter diving - Report
Nov. 17: Navea Gauthier, Shelby volleyball - Report
Nov. 10: Derek Huisman, Holland Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3: Thomas Westphal, New Baltimore Anchor Bay cross country - Report
Oct. 27: Justin Wickey, Colon football - Report
Oct. 20: Owen DeMuth, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood tennis - Report
Oct. 13: Mia Melendez, Ann Arbor Greenhills golf - Report
Oct. 6: Shawn Foster, Grand Ledge football - Report
Sept. 30: Hannah Smith, Temperance Bedford swimming - Report
Sept. 22: Helen Sachs, Holland West Ottawa cross country - Report
Sept. 15: Nina Horning, Lake Orion volleyball - Report
Sept 8: Arturo Romero, Muskegon Oakridge soccer - Report
Sept. 1: Austin King, Midland Dow tennis - Report
Aug. 25: Olivia Hemmila, Troy Athens golf - Report
PHOTOS courtesy of 2BU Photography.