Fowler Boys Clinch 1st Team Title since 1988, Buford Leaps Into Record Book

By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com

June 2, 2024

HUDSONVILLE — In 2023, Anthony Buford of Detroit Frederick Douglass would have won the long jump at the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 4 Track & Field Finals if not for a historic effort.

Buford nearly was first, but had to settle for second after Peck’s Alex Affer jumped a meet-record distance of 23-feet, 1.5-inches. 

Affer graduated last year, but he still was providing Buford plenty of motivation when he started the long jump event at this year’s event. 

“My main motivator all year has been my main guy Alex Affer, the former record holder at 23-1,” Buford said. “He was really anticipating me breaking his record this year.”

Buford made good on Affer’s proclamation by setting a new Division 4 Finals record, jumping a recorded distance of 23 feet, 2 inches, into a headwind to best what Affer achieved a year ago.

“I was really surprised I broke it with that headwind I was jumping into,” Buford said. “But honestly, I just had to make it happen.”

Oh, but Buford wasn’t done during his busy and successful day.

Buford then won the 400 dash, finishing first in a time of 49.91 in a headwind and with rain coming down.

“I’ve been fighting to beat 49 (seconds) all season,” said Buford, who decided to focus on the 400 meters and long jump this year after primarily competing in the 100 and 200-meter dashes last year. “Just to come out here and beat my time while it was raining and a headwind coming into my face, that really shows how much more mentally tough I’ve gotten over time.”

Detroit Douglass’ Anthony Buford finishes his win in the 400.Buford was also second to teammate Adrian Smith in the 200 and ran in the 1,600 relay to help Douglass finish second on the day. 

Buford’s performance wasn’t quite enough to lift his team past Fowler, which captured the team title with 56.5 points, four more than Douglass. It was Fowler’s first Finals team championship since 1988. 

Brady Feldpausch led Fowler’s point scoring by finishing first in the 110 hurdles with a time of 14.57, running as part of the winning team in the 800 relay, taking second in the 300 hurdles and then being a part of the winning 1,600 relay that clinched the title.

“It feels amazing,” Feldpausch said. “I don’t know what to say. We just all have the same mindset. We come to practice and work hard. We knew if we all ran like we knew how to, we’d have a shot.” 

Fowler entered the last event, the 1,600 relay, knowing that in order to clinch the team win it had to win the race and have Douglass finish fifth or lower.

A strong event all year for the Eagles, they delivered again, winning in a time of 3:26.43. Pair that with a ninth-place finish by Douglass, and Fowler had what it needed. 

Fowler head coach Brett Schaefer credited unsung heroes with stepping up for his team and fulfilling a goal talked about all year.

“We scored in field events where we didn’t expect to,” he said. “Our first meeting with them at the start of the year, our whole goal was to hang a banner in the gym. We did that today.”

Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep took third with 44 points after winning the last two LPD4 team titles.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Fowler’s Brady Feldpausch, left, edges Reading’s Tayshawn Bester to win the 110 hurdles Saturday at Baldwin Middle School. (Middle) Detroit Douglass’ Anthony Buford finishes his win in the 400. (Click for more from Ken Swart/RunMichigan.com.)

With 2nd Place in Final Race, Newberry Clinches 1st in Final Team Standings

By John Vrancic
Special for MHSAA.com

June 2, 2024

KINGSFORD — The race for the Upper Peninsula Division 3 boys track & field championship came right down to the wire Saturday as Newberry edged St. Ignace 96-92 for top honors.

Third-place team finisher Lake Linden-Hubbell won the day’s final race, the 1,600-meter relay, in 3 minutes, 41.94 seconds, and Newberry hung on to edge St. Ignace by two steps for second place and its first title in eight years.

Newberry, which was runner-up to Munising last year, was clocked at 3:43.07 in the 1,600 relay on this sunny and mild late afternoon. The Saints finished nine hundredths of a second later.

“We knew we had to beat St. Ignace to win,” Newberry senior Kennedy Depew said after finishing the anchor leg. “This was my last race ever. I knew I had to give it my all. That’s also why I knew I had to scratch from the open 400. I would have been in four events. I think scratching from the 400 helped me save some energy. We weren’t satisfied with runner-up last year, which makes this year’s championship all the more satisfying.”

Classmate Gabe Luck provided Newberry with its lone individual first with a heave of 44 feet, 1¾ inches in shot put.

“We had a lot of injuries this year,” Newberry coach Drew Schultz said. “For all the obstacles we had, we wouldn’t have it any other way, having two of the best athletes decide it in the last race. I’m extremely proud of our guys. To win it that way is just insane. I’m proud of all our eastern-end kids.”

Chassell's Kalvin Kytta and Cedarville/DeTour's Ethan Snyder lead the pack of 1,600 runners. Depew also was runner-up in the 100-meter dash in 11.63 seconds.

Senior Jon Ingalls, who ran the last leg for the Saints, won the 110 hurdles (16.39) and 300s (42.89) and helped them place second in the 400 relay (45.94).

“Both hurdles were decent,” Ingalls said. “Those weren’t my best times, but it feels good to grind out a few more wins.”

Senior Owen Lester also provided the Saints with a victory in pole vault (12-6).

LL-H got firsts from senior Gabe Popko in discus at 153 feet, 4¼ inches, and classmate Matt Jokela in the 400 (51.09). Jokela also took third in the 100 (11.65).

“Real good hydration and confidence are keys,” Jokela said. “I think having confidence helps a little. I usually don’t go too hard out of the blocks. Then, I usually try to go as hard as I can in the last 200.”

Chassell junior Kalvin Kytta claimed three firsts, taking the 800 in a personal-best 2:03.62, 1,600 (4:39.58) and 3,200 (10:27.32).

“Three wins, I’m pretty happy with that,” he said. “The 800 went real well. Overall, I’m very happy with my performance today.”

Fourth-place Bessemer set UPD3 Finals records in the 400 relay (45.3) and 800 (1:34.64). Powers North Central previously set the record in the 400 (45.34) two years ago and Rock Mid Peninsula had held the 800 record since 2001 when it ran a 1:35.1.

“We shaved two seconds off in the 800 relay which feels good, and our handoffs in the 400 were good all year,” Bessemer senior Landon Peterson said. “Our school record in the 400 is 44.98, which is something we’ve done three times this year. Running on a rubber track gives you a much better grip, which helped us a lot today.”

Bessemer senior Tom Trudgeon became a four-event winner, also taking the 100 (11.46) and 200 (23.85).

Crystal Falls Forest Park freshman Vic Guiliani won high jump (6-0), and sophomore Michael Rexford went 19-9 in long jump, providing Escanaba Holy Name with its first U.P. Finals title since the school reopened in 2021.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Newberry runners celebrate taking second place in the 1,600 relay, allowing them to finish ahead of St. Ignace for the team title in Upper Peninsula Division 3. (Middle) Chassell's Kalvin Kytta and Cedarville/DeTour's Ethan Snyder lead the pack of 1,600 runners. (Click for more from Cara Kamps/RunMichigan.com.)