KINGSFORD — There was reason to celebrate Saturday evening in Ishpeming as both of its track and field teams came home as Upper Peninsula Division 2 champions.
Earlier in the day, the Ishpeming boys retained their title, as did the girls.
The Ishpeming boys scored 134 points, followed by Iron Mountain with 94 and Iron River West Iron County 65.
“We had a fire truck parade through town and the booster club bought us a bunch of pizzas,” said first-year coach P.J. Pruett. “The boys ran good. One of the bigger battles we had was with the senior party (on Friday night).”
The Hematites, who swept all four places in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs in the Regional at Manistique on May 18, again scored heavily in the distance races in Saturday’s Finals.
Ishpeming grabbed three places each in the 1,600 and 3,200 and two in the 800.
Junior Daren Guichin paced the Hematites by taking runner-up honors in the 800 in 2 minutes, 11.31 seconds and 1,600 (4:57.39) and helping their 3,200 relay place second (9:16.2).
“We went through the Regional with four in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200, and that ended up well for us,” said Pruett. “That gave us a chance to score some points in the Finals. We were neck-and-neck with Iron Mountain until the distances. They had good runners, but we had more of them. Our depth really showed. When you get to the Finals, points are points. Our distance guys ran as a pack, as they did in the Regional.”
The Hematites gained three firsts, with those coming in the 400 (47.48), 800 (1:37.9) and 1,600 (3:48.79) relays.
Ishpeming’s Isaac Olson, who placed second in the 100 (11.83), also helped the 800 relay.
“It felt like everything clicked for us,” said senior Kazmine Langness, also part of that relay. “Our handoffs were good, and everybody took off at the right time. Communication is the key. The chemistry is there.”
“Our 1,600 relay really took off,” said Pruett. “We were the underdog and ended up winning that one.”
Iron Mountain senior Nate Carey won 1,600 (4:45.04) and 3,200 (10:11.44) and helped the winning 3,200 relay (8:54.81).
“I wanted to go faster in the 3,200, but it’s tough to do when you get close to 10 minutes,” said Carey. “This is the first year I got under 10:20. I started training earlier this year (in late January) than in the past. I also did some weight training, which helped my leg strength. Running with the D-1 guys was a good motivator because I was running with the same guys I ran against in cross country.”
Teammate Tanner Huotari, also part of the winning 3,200 relay, added a first in the 800 (2:08.37).
Iron Mountain’s Aaron Bolo became a double-winner, taking high jump (5-8) and long jump (18-10), and Charlie Gerhard added a first in the 100 hurdles (17.36).
West Iron’s Bryant Schram dominated shot put (48-1¼) and took second in discus (118-7).
Hancock’s Alex Dewald won the 100 (11.68) and 200 (23.52), and senior Gage Hawthorn captured disc (140-2).
PHOTOS: (Top) Ishpeming’s Kyle Pruett cruises through the rain during the 3,200 relay; his team finished second in the race. (Middle) Hancock’s Alex Dewald crosses first in the 100. (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.