KINGSFORD – The Gladstone boys had quite a championship reign at the Upper Peninsula Track & Field Finals during the previous decade, taking the Division 1 titles from 2004-09, then winning again in 2013.
They returned to the winner's circle here Saturday, bringing home the championship trophy for the eighth time in 16 years with 127 points. Ishpeming Westwood and four-time reigning champ Marquette shared runner-up honors at 97.
Gladstone senior Adam Bruce, who underwent hip surgery in late January, earned his first 1,600-meter title in four minutes, 35.73 seconds and also won the 3,200 (10:04.67), both in season-best times.
"The 1,600 is the one that evaded me for four years," he said. "It felt great to go under 4:40. I think good training all week really helped and having the break (nine days from competition) helped my hip heal.
"In the 3,200, I just wanted to go out relaxed in the first lap, and I stayed relaxed. I was hitting my splits each 200 (meters). I'm proud of my time after hip surgery. There was no guarantee I'd be able to run like this so soon. The guys were around the track cheering me on, which I really appreciate. I'm just thankful for everybody, especially Zoie (Berg) who's there for me all the time.
"We also wanted to do this for Mr. Houle (longtime coach and athletic director Matt Houle, who died last fall), who always told us 'It's a great day to be a Brave.'"
Sophomore teammate Calvin Thibault retained his 110 and 300-meter hurdle titles in 15.35 and 40.35, respectively, and placed second in the 200 (23.13) and third in the 100 (11.58).
The Braves showed their depth especially in hurdles with sophomore Blake Servant taking second in the 110s (15.99) and senior James McKnight runner-up in the 300s (41.66).
Servant added a first in discus (137-9).
Escanaba junior Dayton Miron set a U.P. and school record in pole vault at 13-8, erasing the previous U.P. Finals record of 13-7 by Mike Coyne of Gladstone in 2007 and the 47-year-old school record (13-6¾) by John Noblet.
"It felt amazing to clear 13-8," Miron said. "It felt real good to see the bar stay up there after I rolled over. I couldn't stop thinking about it on my 14-foot attempts. I couldn't have done it without the help from my coach (Joe Royer), who gave me a lot of pointers. I won it at 13, then decided to go for 13-8. I'm really glad it happened here. I have a new pole, which separated me from 13 feet."
Marquette senior Raphael Millado captured high jump (6-3) and long jump (20-7), and classmate Mathurin Gagnon took the 800 (2:03.84) and helped the Redmen take the 3,200 relay.
Westwood senior Nathan Beckman won the 200 (22.96), and junior Chad Pohlman won the 400 (51.13).
The Patriots also swept the sprint relays, and senior Blake Hewitt added a first in shot put (44-4½).
PHOTOS: (Top) Gladstone’s Calvin Thibault powers through the finish to take first in the 300 hurdles, while teammate James McKnight follows to finish second. (Middle) Marquette’s Raphael Millado clears the bar on the way to winning the high jump. (Photos by Cara Kamps.)
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.
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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.