Hurdling toward lofty goals

April 24, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Jake McFadden has become familiar with the number 1 over the last four years as one of Michigan’s elite high school hurdlers.

But he’s got his sight set on three more numbers in this, his final Clare season – 37, 21 and 13.

Running the 300-meter hurdles in 37 seconds has been a goal for a few years, and would further lower his school record in that race. Finishing the 200 in 21.9 would set another school record – and he’s come within nine hundredths of a second of doing so.

Breaking 14 seconds in the 110 hurdles would be another level of significant. McFadden is expected to win the races he runs this season, especially against many of the schools and competitors he already has defeated during his career. But hitting 13 seconds and change in the 110 would put him in elite company, regardless of which division he runs in and whoever he might be facing.

“It’s one of those benchmarks. If you break 14, you’re in a special kind of club,” McFadden said. “That would be more important than winning, personally. No one could take that away. … It would show we can run fast in Division 3 too. You don’t have to be from a big school.”

McFadden gets one of Second Half’s High 5s this week after another dominating performance. He won the 110-meter hurdles (14.9 seconds), the 300 hurdles (39.3) and the 200 dash (22.3) on Saturday at the Remus Chippewa Hills Invitational as Clare scored 174 points to finish first as a team.

He's also the reigning MHSAA Division 3 champion in both hurdles races and helped Clare to a third-place team finish at the 2011 Final.

McFadden has big things ahead. He’s signed to run next season for Michigan State University, and will study biomedical engineering.

But the best part of his story might be the beginning.

By his description, McFadden was “a little bit chubby” in junior high. He shot put and ran on the 800 relay, and as a freshman nearly played baseball instead.

But following the lead of older brother Mike, a 2010 Clare grad and sprinter who had switched to track from baseball, Jake gave track another try.

The Pioneers had a tradition of exceptional hurdlers before McFadden. And before high school, he’d never tried those events. But coach Adam Burhans told his now-slimmer freshman that he’d be the team’s next intermediate hurdler – and the decision proved one of genius.

“He had me try out the high hurdles, and I succeeded,” McFadden said. “I was a little nervous, and he kinda put pressure on me to follow that tradition.”

McFadden qualified for the Division 3 Finals in the 300 race as a freshman, then finished third at the 2010 Final in the 110 hurdles. He won the 110 at last season’s Final in 14.36 seconds and the 300 in 39.15.

This winter he ran on the indoor circuit, and finished second in the 60-meter hurdles at its championship meet just six hundredths of a second behind Ann Arbor Pioneer’s Drake Johnson – the two-time defending 110 champion in Division 1.

It's been an incredible run, literally, regardless of whether or not McFadden hits this season's sought-after times. At Clare High, he’s already certain to be remembered as arguably the best in a long line of record-setting standouts.

“People can look up there and see that I was the best,” McFadden said of his school records. “And they can shoot for that goal also, and break that.”

Click to read more about McFadden and this week's other High 5s.

PHOTO: Clare's Jake McFadden won both hurdles races at last season's MHSAA Division 3 Final.

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

By John Vrancic
Special for

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/