Comeback Jump as Meaningful as Record
June 4, 2016
By Bill Khan
Special to Second Half
HUDSONVILLE — Because it was wind-aided, the performance by Jackson senior Anthony Owens on Saturday won't count in the MHSAA track and field record books.
But while it won't go down officially as the best long jump ever at an MHSAA Finals, it was one of the greatest jumps, given the circumstances.
Owens was in third place going into the final jump at the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 1 meet on Saturday at Baldwin Street Middle School. He not only had to overtake the two jumpers ahead of him, he had to overcome the pain of a hamstring injury that he suffered on his second jump of the day.
"It really wasn't working for me and things weren't going my way," Owens said. "But my coaches talked to me and told me this is my last year, to finish strong and leave it all out there and just have fun with it. That's kind of what I did for my last jump. It paid off a lot."
Did it ever.
Owens delivered a jump of 24 feet, 1.25 inches to pass Ann Arbor Pioneer's Terius Wheatley (23-10.75) and East Kentwood's Andre Welch (23-7) and win the long jump championship. Owens' jump eclipsed the 24-1 performance by Flushing's Jeff Kline in the 2009 Lower Peninsula Division 1 meet as the longest ever in any division of an MHSAA Final. However, the wind was at 2.4 meters per second when he jumped, more than the 2.0 that is allowable for record performances.
There is precedent for not including jumps that are wind-aided in the record book. In 1996, Midland's Okoineme Giwaagbomeirel won the Lower Peninsula Class A meet with a jump of 24-6 that was wind-aided.
The guts that it took for Owens to come through and win the long jump means more to him than the record. He was third with a jump of 23-3.25 going into his final jump.
"It was a big deal for me, because I didn't think I was going to be able to get 24 feet with my hamstring pulling on me," Owens said. "The fact I fought through it means a lot. I'm glad I could compete with those guys. Those guys, if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't have got to 24-1 and got first."
While Wheatley and Welch are rivals, they are also friends who respect one another's ability.
"I know a lot of them," Owens said. "(Wheatley) is a great kid. I love competing with him. We get the best out of each other. He actually PR'd (personal record) today a lot. I think he was excited as much as me. He deserves the glory as much as I do. Without those guys, I don't think we'd be able to compete at our best, because we all know we're right there by each other."
Owens also felt inspiration from a former teammate, Maseo Moore, who died in an automobile crash on I-94 on May 24, 2015. Moore, a member of the track and field team, would have been a senior this season.
"Going into this track season, it really wasn't all about me," Owens said. "It was about the people around me. Our football coach would always tell us, 'It has everything to do with you and nothing to do with you.' When you take away what you're doing for yourself and define your 'why' and why you're doing it, you'll be successful and be a champion. Once I found my 'why' and why I was doing it and why I wanted to be at the top, it paid off. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my coaches and Maseo and all the support I have."
One all-division MHSAA Finals record that will stay in the books is the throw of 67 feet, 5.75 inches by Oxford senior Connor Bandel in the shot put. Bandel's throw broke the all-division record of 64 feet, 0.5 inches set by Todd Duckett of Kalamazoo Loy Norrix in the 1999 Lower Peninsula Class A meet. Bandel won by 13 feet, 1.25 inches.
Bandel also chased the discus record of 210-1 set by Cullen Prena of Walled Lake Central in the 2012 Lower Peninsula Division 1 Finals, but he had to settle for a decisive victory with his throw of 198-11. Bandel won by 20 feet, 11 inches.
Bandel's record throw in the shot put came in the fifth of his six throws.
"It definitely felt like a good throw," he said. "I was actually kind of surprised by the distance, because I threw 57-2.5 last week, and that one actually felt better in comparison. I guess I did something a little bit different that I didn't notice and I ended up throwing a little bit farther."
While the wind aided Owens in the long jump, it may have hindered Bandel's bid for the discus record. His personal record is 204-2.
"The big difference today was the wind," said Bandel, who also swept both events last year and hit 198-11 twice on consecutive throws Saturday. "The 204-2, I had a pretty decent headwind to help lift the disc up a bit. The back wind knocked it down a bit."
In the team competition, Oak Park scored 55 points to win its first MHSAA boys track and field championship since the 1972 squad won the Class A title. Rockford was second with 46 points, while East Kentwood was third with 37. East Kentwood had won five of the previous seven Division 1 championships.
Oak Park's only victory came from junior Cameron Cooper, who took the 800 in 1:51.68. Senior Dekaryea Freeman was third in the 800, giving Oak Park 18 points in the event.
Miles Daniel was second in the 100, third in the 200 and ran on the fifth-place 400 relay team for Oak Park.
"The biggest thing we've got going for us is we got some football players to come out," Oak Park coach Robert Lynch said. "The football players came out, have been part of the track team and have put us over the edge."
East Kentwood's Khance Meyers won two events, taking the 100 in 10.73 seconds and helping the 800 relay team set a Division 1 meet record of 1:26.27. Ansel Jeffries, Shane Harris and Welch also ran on that relay team.
The other individual champions were East Lansing's Kentre Patterson (110 hurdles, 14.03); Ann Arbor Skyline's Anthony Giannobile (1,600, 4:11.48); Wayne Memorial's Montel Hood (400, 47.30); Dearborn's Adnan Hamka (300 hurdles, 39.62); Fenton's Jacob Lee (3,200, 9:07.72); Rockford's Jonny De Haan (pole vault, 15-0); and Mount Pleasant's Kalebb Perry (high jump, 6-7).
The other winning relays were run by Rockford (3,200, 7:43.92); Detroit Cass Tech (400, 42.26); and Saline (1,600, 3:19.37).
PHOTOS: (Top) Jackson's Anthony Owens prepares for launch on the way to winning the long jump championship. (Middle) Oxford's Connor Bandel stands atop the awards podium after repeating as shot put champion. (Photos by John Brabbs/RunMichigan.com.)
Preview: UP Boys Finals Loaded with Intriguing Opportunities
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
June 2, 2023
Saturday’s Upper Peninsula Boys Track & Field Finals can match storylines with any of the other events happening statewide on the busiest day of the school sports season.
The Division 1 meet will pit rivals returning after one point separated them a year ago, while Division 2 will see a pair of 2022 champions looking to win again.
Munising’s Micaiah Peramaki will compete in his last Finals after becoming the latest to win four individual events last spring, and Pickford’s David Kozisek will compete in his first and only Finals with a great possibility of becoming the next four-event champ.
All three divisions will again be contested at Kingsford High School, with preliminaries leading off the day at 9 a.m. local (Central) time. Tickets cost $11 and are available digitally only via GoFan.
MHSAA.tv will live-stream the meets beginning at 9 a.m. (CDT)/10 a.m. (EDT), viewable with subscription.
Following is a glance at team contenders and individuals to watch in all three divisions:
Team forecast: Marquette owns a two-year championship streak, but claimed last season’s title by a mere point ahead of Kingsford. The Flivvers will pose another challenge Saturday with a pair of relay favorites and strong field events hoping to counter Marquette’s distance stars and overall depth. Sault Ste. Marie, boasting excellence in the distance events as well, could factor significantly.
Matthew Colavecchi, Iron Mountain junior: Last season’s 100 and 200 champion in UPD2 will run on a contending 400 relay and had the sixth-fastest UPD1 Regional time in the 100 (11.85).
Will Fairchild, Iron Mountain senior: He finished fifth both in the 110 and 300 hurdles and eighth in long jump in UPD2 last season, but heads into these UPD1 Finals with the top Regional times for his division in both races – 16.05 and 42.48, respectively.
Michael Floriano, Kingsford junior: Last season’s 200 and 400 relay champion and 100 dash runner-up will run on two favored relays this time and also enters with the third-fastest UPD1 Regional times in the 100 (11.56) and 200 (23.94).
Drew Hughes, Gladstone senior: After running a relay at last year’s Finals, he’s set to run two plus enters with the top UPD1 Regional time in the 800 (2:05.23) and fourth-fastest in the 1,600 (4:38.46).
Gabe Litzner, Sault Ste. Marie freshman: The UPD1 cross country champion in the fall enters his first Track Finals with the top UPD1 Regional times in the 1,600 (4:35.42) and 3,200 (9:58.36).
Cole Myllyla, Kingsford senior: He’s another returning relay champ and also won the long jump and was sixth in the high jump last season. He’ll run on two favored relays and had the third-best UPD1 Regional long jump (20-¼).
Carson VanderSchaaf, Marquette senior: He’s a two-time 3,200 champion and also won the 1,600 and as part of the 3,200 relay last spring, and he’ll enter Saturday with the second-fastest UPD1 Regional time in the 1,600 (4:37.21) and third-fastest in the 3,200 (10:02.40).
Colin VanderSchaaf, Marquette senior: He’s also won races the last two Finals, the 800 last year and 1,600 as a sophomore (finishing second to his brother last year), and enters this meet with the second-fastest UPD1 Regional times in the 400 (54.11) and 800 (2:06.68) and third-fastest in the 1,600 (4:37.28).
Team forecast: Ishpeming has four won straight Division 2 titles (not counting canceled 2020), but Pickford – last season’s UPD3 champion – might be the favorite to continue its streak instead. The Panthers have contenders in several events and also will get help with a number of Bark River-Harris hopefuls slotting into possible high places as well. That said, the Hematites do have qualifiers in 16 events and depth to match anyone in the field.
Caden Awbrey, Pickford senior: He won the 300 hurdles in UPD3 and was second in the 110 last season, also running on championship and runner-up relays. He’ll run on two contending relays this weekend and enters with the UPD2 Regionals third-fastest 300 time (43.97) and fourth-fastest in the 110 (17.63).
Wyatt Demers, Manistique junior: He had a busy 2022 Finals with a relay championship, fifth places in the 100 and 400 and a third in the 200. He could top that as part of two contending relays and entering with the fastest UPD2 Regional times in the 100 (11.5) and 200 (23.24).
Tramon Gauthier, Ishpeming junior: He played a major role in last year’s team title with a win in the 110 hurdles, second in the 300 and fourth-place long jump, and this weekend he enters with the second-best UPD2 Regional long jump (19-3), second-fastest 110 (16.41) and 300 hurdles (43.34) times and fourth-fastest in the 100 (11.99).
Hayden Hagen, Pickford junior: After also running on a relay champ last year in UPD3 and finishing fourth in the 3,200 and ninth in the 1,600, he’s lined up for a huge meet entering with the top UPD2 Regional times in the 800 (2:14.15), 1,600 (5:03.16) and 3,200 (11:08.89).
David Kozisek, Pickford senior: He could cap his lone season of high school track with one of the most memorable as he enters with the top UPD2 Regional times in the 110 (15.39) and 300 hurdles (42.37) and top high jump (5-10) and long jump (20-7½) as well.
Owen Lester, St. Ignace junior: The reigning pole vault champion (and seventh-place finisher in the 300 hurdles) posted the top UPD2 Regional pole vault (11-6) by six inches.
Brayden Martin, Ishpeming junior: He had the farthest UPD2 shot put (43-8½) and second-longest discus toss (119-2) at Regionals, after finishing fourth in the shot put at last year’s Finals.
Team forecast: There will be a new champion with Pickford in UPD2, with 2022 runner-up Munising coming off a Regional title after falling just nine points shy of catching the Panthers a year ago. The Mustangs have favorites in several events and contenders in most others. Newberry, fifth in UPD2 last season, also looks capable of making serious noise.
Joe Kelley, Munising junior: He finished fifth in the 300 and sixth in the 110 hurdles last season, but could play a massive part Saturday entering with the fastest UPD3 Regional 300 (44.81) and second-fastest time in the 110 (17.06).
Kalvin Kytta, Chassell sophomore: He finished seventh in both the 1,600 and 3,200 and 10th in the 800 as a freshman and also will be expected to score entering with the fastest UPD3 Regional times in the 1,600 (4:48.91) and 3,200 (10:56.07).
Seth Mills, Paradise Whitefish senior: He could become his school’s first Finals champion in this sport as he enters with the top UPD3 Regional discus throw (149-4) by more than 21 feet – and with that toss nearly 40 better than his fifth-place finish in the event a year ago. He also enters with the sixth-best UPD3 Regional shot put (38-5).
Josiah Peramaki, Munising senior: The reigning pole vault champion also was third in the long jump and fifth in the 200 last season, and he’ll enter this weekend tied with the top UPD3 Regional pole vault (12-0) and also competing on a relay and in the long jump and 100, having posted the third-fastest time (11.73) in the sprint.
Micaiah Peramaki, Munising senior: He became the eighth boys four-time Finals individual champion last year winning the 100, 200, 400 and discus. He could add three more individual titles entering Saturday with UPD3 Regional bests in the 100 (11.24), 200 (23.47) and 400 (53.05) while also running on a contending relay.
Matthew Rahilly, Newberry sophomore: He was fifth in the long jump and ran on two scoring relays in UPD2 as a freshman, and enters this Finals with the best UPD3 Regional long jump (19-9) and tied for the second-best high jump (5-8).
Ian Sundling, Rapid River senior: The reigning long jump champ also finished seventh in high jump last season and will compete in both plus two relays, entering with the third-best UPD3 Regional long jump (19-1).
PHOTO Iron Mountain's Matthew Colavecchi (3) edges Pickford's David Kozisek (2) and Powers North Central's Luke Gorzinski (4) in a 200 heat at the April 17 Superior Dome Invitational. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)