ROCKFORD – Jaiden Reed had faith in the Detroit U-D Jesuit 1,600-meter relay team.
Despite the fact the Cubs qualified into the slowest of the three race heats out of the Regional, Reed knew Cameron Hendrix, Bryson Wade, Nick Johnson and Devin Grantham would come through.
His faith was rewarded.
The foursome finished the first heat with a time of 3 minutes, 21.67 seconds, a time that held up enough through two more heats to clinch the Lower Peninsula Division 1 Finals title.
“I’m excited – my emotions are everywhere right now,” Reed said. “I was looking, and it was a one-point lead from what we were looking at. It’s just a lot of emotions. My heart was racing. It stopped, it was skipping beats. But I knew they were going to do it. I knew they were going to pull through. Even without our original four, I still knew they were going to do what they had to do.”
Thanks in part to that third-place 1,600 relay, U-D Jesuit finished with 41 points, 10 ahead of second-place Farmington.
The Cubs thought they had a one-point win, as East Kentwood’s 1,600 relay team was the initial winner, which would have made the top two scores U-D Jesuit 40, East Kentwood 39. But the Falcons were disqualified from the race, and finished tied for third with Clinton Township Chippewa Valley at 29. Rochester Adams rounded out the top five with 24 points.
It was the second team Finals title for the Cubs, with their last coming in Class B in 1993.
“They started talking about it in the winter, ‘What’s the goal? It’s a state title,’” U-D Jesuit coach Carl Brock said. “So to be able to manifest it, it’s something special for them. State meets, everything has to go well and you have to have some luck, and that happened today. For Jaiden to not win the 100 or the 200 (he finished second and fourth, respectively) and us still win the team title, something had to break in our favor, and it did.”
The Cubs did not have an individual champion, but won both the 400 and 800 relays. Reed was joined by Johnson, Grantham and Hendrix on both relays, which won in 42.39 and 1:28.06. The 1,600 relay team finished third after the East Kentwood DQ.
“Watching them develop their brotherhood,” Brock said. “Watching them come together as family. Some of these kids have traveled all over the country running with one another. They’ve stayed in hotel rooms together, they’ve developed that brotherly bond. They’re running for each other, and that’s what it’s all about.”
The only athlete to win multiple individual titles Saturday was Clinton Township Chippewa Valley’s Shamar Heard, who claimed both sprint crowns. He won the 100 in 10.77 and the 200 in 21.32.
There were plenty of surprises on the day, though, and plenty of tight finishes.
One even needed a camera review, as East Kentwood freshman Malachi Mosley eked out a victory over Oak Park’s Josh Flake in the 400. Each runner finished with an official time of 48.85, but Mosley was four thousandths of a second better.
“I just went out there and had to run my race,” Mosley said. “I was supposed to be in Lane 7, they moved me to Lane 2, and I was just really surprised. When I realized I could have a chance to catch those top people, I just pulled ahead. I tried to push myself harder than I ever have, and it worked. I was able to catch him.”
The 800 featured another tight, exciting finish, as Utica’s Trent McFarland used a final kick to pass Davison’s Brady McAardle in the final 20 meters, and win in 1:52.03. That race got an unexpected early spark when Saline’s Jason Whitton put up a 1:54.81 in the first heat, a time that only McArdle had bested during the season. He ended up finishing sixth.
“A kick is all heart, it’s all effort,” McFarland said. “Usually I’m known for giving my all at the end. The race went just to plan, I did it perfectly, paced it perfectly. I knew I had to take off that last 300 meters. I saw I was in position for the win in the last 100 meters and I just went. (Whitton) definitely added a little bit of pressure. But me and the other top runners in the group, we talked, we knew what we were going to do. We all wanted to go 1:53, 1:52, and it worked out for some of us.”
Hartland’s Riley Hough won the 1,600 in his final meet, finishing with a time of 4:07.61, less than a second ahead of Seth Norder of Grand Haven who was second at 4:07.99.
Hough was in an equally tight top two in the 3,200, but this time he came in second to Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills’ Benne Anderson, who won the race in 9:02.89, less than a second ahead of Hough.
Kalamazoo Central’s Kayenn Mabin won the 110 hurdles in 14.27, 0.02 ahead of Ypsilanti Lincoln’s Melik Williams.
Rochester Adams’ Armon Howard won the 300 hurdles in 37.32, in a race that saw four runners at 38 flat or lower.
Detroit Cass Tech’s team of Renard Richmond, Michael Davis-Hawkins, Aydan Myers and Tamaal Myers II won the 1,600 relay in 3:20.24 after the East Kentwood DQ. That was also a photo finish.
Northville won the 3,200 relay in 7:44.71 with a team of Brandon Latta, Brock Malaikal, David Whitaker and Brendan Herger.
Battle Creek Lakeview’s Andrew Berryhill won the shot put with a toss of 57 feet, 9 inches.
“I wanted to throw farther,” Berryhill said. “I had a good week of practice in shot put. I was being really consistent all week at 56, 57, so I knew I had it.”
Farmington’s Jake Steslicki won the discus with a throw of 174-1. Canton’s Nathan Levine won the high jump with a jump of 6-8. Muskegon Mona Shores’ Demitri Roberson won the long jump with a jump of 23-6.75. Temperance Bedford’s Ethan Lingle won the pole vault, clearing 15-9.
PHOTOS (Top) Detroit U-D Jesuit completes an exchange during the 1,600 relay Saturday at Rockford High School. (Middle) Utica’s Trent McFarland surges toward the finish of the 800. (Click for more from Jamie McNinch/Run Michigan.)
LAWRENCE — If redshirting was a thing in high school, at least two coaches at Lawrence would stick that label on senior John Schuman.
“We don’t want to lose this kid ever,” said Derek Gribler, the Tigers’ first-year varsity football and baseball coach.
“If we could put a red shirt on this kid every year, we would.”
Athletic director John Guillean, who also coaches varsity basketball, agreed.
“He is what we strive to have all our student-athletes achieve: high GPAs, multi-sport athletes, good, overall well-rounded human beings,” Guillean said.
Schuman has participated in five of the seven boys sports Lawrence sponsors.
As a freshman and sophomore, Schuman played football, wrestled, ran track and played baseball.
He had wrestled since he was 4, and went from the 119-pound weight class as a freshman to 145 the following year. That sophomore season he qualified for his Individual Regional. But as a junior, he traded wrestling for basketball.
“My older brother wrestled at Lawrence, so I would come to practices,” he said. “I quit for a couple years (in middle school) because I liked basketball, too. It was hard to do both. Obviously, in high school, I still struggled with choosing,” he added, laughing.
Guillean is thrilled Schuman made the switch.
“He’s 6-(foot-)4, he’s super athletic, defensively he’s a hawk, offensively he can put the ball in the bucket. But really, aside from his skills, just that positive attitude and that positive outlook, not just in a game, but in life in general, is invaluable,” the coach said.
Last season, Schuman earned honorable mention all-league honors in the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference, averaging 9.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
Lawrence left the BCS for the Southwest 10 Conference this year, joining Bangor, Bloomingdale, Hartford, Decatur, Comstock, Marcellus, Mendon, Centreville, White Pigeon and Cassopolis. Schuman and senior Tim Coombs will co-captain the Tigers, with Guillean rotating in a third captain.
At a school of fewer than 200 students, Schuman will help lead a varsity team with just nine – joined by seniors Andy Bowen and Gabe Gonzalez, juniors Christian Smith, Noel Saldana, Ben McCaw and Zander Payment, and sophomore Jose Hernandez, who will see time with the junior varsity as well using the fifth-quarter rule.
“I attribute a lot of (last year’s successful transition) to my coach, helping me get ready because it wasn’t so pretty,” the senior said. “But we got into it, got going, and my teammates helped me out a lot.”
Gribler is one coach already looking ahead to spring sports after seeing what Schuman did during football season.
In spite of missing 2½ games with an injury, the wide receiver caught 50 receptions for 870 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“I just like the ability to run free, get to hit people, let out some anger,” Schuman laughed.
Gribler said the senior is “an insane athlete.
“On top of his athletic ability, how smart he is in the classroom (3.88 GPA), he helped mold the culture we wanted this year for football. He got our underclassmen the way we wanted them. He was a big asset in many ways.”
Schuman earned all-conference honors for his on-field performance in football as well.
“I would say that my main sport is football,” the senior said. “That’s the one I like the most, spend the most time on.”
In the spring, Schuman competed in both track and baseball, earning all-conference honors in both.
“Doing both is tough,” he said. “I have to say my coaches make it a lot easier for me. They help me a lot and give me the ability to do both, so I really appreciate that.
“Throughout the week you’re traveling every day, it seems like. Baseball twice a week and track, but it’s worth it.”
Schuman’s commitment is so strong that he made a special effort not to let his teammates down last spring.
“He qualified for state in the long jump and did his jumps up in Grand Rapids, then he drove all the way to Kalamazoo to play in the District baseball game,” Guillean said. “That speaks volumes about who this kid is. He did his jumps at 9 a.m. (but did not advance) and made it back to Kalamazoo for a 12:15 game.”
Big shoes to fill
As the youngest of four children of Mark and Gretchen Schuman, the senior was following a family tradition in sports.
Oldest brother Matthew played football, basketball and baseball as well as competed in pole vault and wrestling.
Middle bother Christopher competed in football, wrestling and baseball.
Sister Stephanie played basketball, volleyball and softball.
“I like to say they blazed a pretty good trail for me at this high school,” Schuman said.
As for feeling pressure to live up to his siblings, “I used to when I was younger, but now I feel like I’ve made my own way and done enough things to be proud of that I’m happy with it.”
His own way led him to achieve something none of the others did.
He was named the Tigers’ Male Athlete of the Year, just the third junior to earn the boys honor over the last 25 years.
“I was very honored to win that as a junior,” Schuman said. “There were good athletes in the grade above me. I guess hard work pays off.”
Guillean said while Schuman is “darn good at every sport here,” an athlete does not have to be a “top dog” in every sport.
“Learn how to take a back seat,” he said. “Learn how to be a role player. That will make you a better teammate and a well-rounded human being.
“Johnny has that work ethic, in the classroom, on the field, on the court, on the track. It doesn’t go unnoticed and, obviously, he’s reaping the benefits now.”
Pam Shebest served as a sportswriter at the Kalamazoo Gazette from 1985-2009 after 11 years part-time with the Gazette while teaching French and English at White Pigeon High School. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with story ideas for Calhoun, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.
PHOTOS (Top) Lawrence’s John Schuman has participated in five varsity sports during his first 3½ years of high school. (Middle) Lawrence athletic director John Guillean. (Below) Lawrence football and baseball coach Derek Gribler. (Action photos courtesy of John Schuman; head shots by Pam Shebest.)