Kozisek's Rare Feat Helps Pickford to Impressive Rise & Title Repeat

By Jason Juno
Special for MHSAA.com

June 4, 2023

KINGSFORD – The Pickford boys moved up a division after winning last year’s Upper Peninsula Division 3 Track & Field Finals title. And it didn't faze them a bit.  

They dominated the field Saturday, finishing with 151 team points. Manistique was second with 90, Ishpeming third with 87 and St. Ignace fourth with 73.

In the process, Pickford ended the Hematites' four-year run on top of Division 2. 

Bark River-Harris’ Kavin Frederick and Manistique’s Wyatt Demers race for the finish line, with Frederick crossing first by one hundredth of a second. The Panthers won nine of the 17 events. Hayden Hagen won all of the distance events and David Kozisek won both of the hurdle races along with the high jump and long jump to become just the ninth male athlete to win four individual events at an MHSAA Finals. Brayden Altoft took home a first in the shot put as did the 400 relay team (Cole Warner, Kendrick Brace, Altoft and Owen McConkey).

One of the more exciting finishes of the day came in the 200-meter dash when Bark River-Harris’ Kavin Fredrick dove for the win ahead of Manistique’s Wyatt Demers.

Demers was Fredrick’s biggest concern. Why? He’s really fast, and he usually beats him in the 200.

Fredrick led until about 50 meters to go, and he could see Demers’ arms coming up.

“So I thought to myself, ‘Well, I mean I’ve got to dive if I want this,’” he said.

And so he did. 

Runners begin the 1,600, including eventual winner Hayden Hagen (1) of Pickford and runner-up Alex Korpela (4) of Ironwood. “I took a big dive and I won by a hundredth of a second,” Fredrick said. “I’m a little cut up, but totally worth it if you ask me.”

No, he hadn’t tried that before.

“It’s my first time ever diving and it worked, so I’d recommend it,” Fredrick said. “It feels great. I went in thinking it would be a tough race against a couple people that I was up against. And I actually did it, so that’s a good feeling.”

Demers picked up a Finals title in the 100 dash. 

The Broncos also the 800 relay (Justin Bergquist, Fredrick, Cristian Spear and Vincent Martin). Manistique won two relays, the 1,600 (Grant Mason, Dillon Hayes, Carter Miller and Demers) and the 3,200 (Mason, Brenden Mead, Ben Gilroy and Austin Hinkson).

The Emeralds’ Mason was first in the 400.

In the field events, Ishpeming’s Brayden Martin won the discus and St. Ignace’s Owen Lester repeated in the pole vault.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Pickford’s David Kozisek crosses the finish line first in the 300 hurdles Saturday. (Middle) Bark River-Harris’ Kavin Frederick and Manistique’s Wyatt Demers race for the finish line, with Frederick crossing first by one hundredth of a second. (Below) Runners begin the 1,600, including eventual winner Hayden Hagen (1) of Pickford and runner-up Alex Korpela (4) of Ironwood. (Photos by Cara Kamps/RunMichigan.com.)

Goals Grow as Gladwin's Klein Seeks to Follow School Record with Big Finish

By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com

April 24, 2024

Logan Klein wanted to leave his mark on Gladwin athletics – and one could argue, as a starting offensive lineman on the 2022 Flying Gs football team which won the Division 5 title, he had already done that.

Bay & ThumbBut Klein was looking for more, so that spring, he switched from baseball to track & field, and went after it.

“Really, I mean, I wanted a school record,” Klein said. “I had played baseball for freshman and sophomore year, and I knew I wasn’t getting it in baseball. I was good, but I wasn’t that good. I did (track & field) in seventh grade, and I was pretty good. I was really close in junior high (to school records) but then in eighth grade, we had COVID.”

In his first year back in the sport, Klein achieved his goal, setting the Gladwin school record in the shot put and throwing his way to a third-place, all-state finish at the 2023 Lower Peninsula Division 2 Finals.

Now, with a little more seasoning under his belt, he’s looking for even more.

“The big goal is to be a state champ,” he said. “The second goal, with how I’ve been throwing in the (discus) lately, I think I can be all-state in both events. That’s a really big one for me, too.”

Klein’s immediate success as a thrower didn’t come as a total surprise, as he really was quite good in seventh grade. He’s also a 6-foot-3, 270-pound athlete who, as mentioned, was a starter on a state championship-winning football team. The baseline was there.

He also had a willing teacher in teammate Logan Kokotovich, a 2023 Gladwin graduate who was a captain and Klein’s teammate in football, and the Gs’ top thrower prior to Klein’s arrival.

“(Klein) threw in junior high and he was pretty good, and then last year he started off real strong,” Gladwin boys track coach Buddy Goldsworthy said. “After lots of work on just technique stuff, he realized all the things he was doing wrong, then he just started throwing 50 footers. One person that helped make a good transition was Logan Kokotovich – he was good at football, too, and good friends with Klein. He showed Klein how to do a couple things better.”

On May 5, 2023, at the Nike Trax Invite at Meridian, Klein first threw over 50 feet in competition. Five days later, at the Jack Pine Conference meet, Klein had his school record, throwing 51 feet, 9 inches, smashing the old mark of 50-5 set in 1988.

Klein has high aspirations in both the shot and discus this spring.“I was starting to get up into the 50s, and I knew it was going to happen in the next meet,” he said. “I had been on a PR streak.”

He broke it again in his next meet, the first of four times he has eclipsed his chart-topping mark – which now stands at 55-4¼.

“He’s a big, strong kid, and he loved throwing in junior high,” Goldsworthy said. “We knew that he could be that guy. Now, we didn’t know he would be that guy so quickly. That was a pleasant surprise for us. He loves throwing. He spent a lot of time during the summer saying, ‘Hey, can we go up and throw? Can I take a shot or disc home this weekend and just throw?’ ‘I know you’re going to be gone on vacation, but can I have a shot to work on throws?’ He’s a real student of the game.”

Klein said he’s fallen in love with throwing, and there is certainly a part of him that wishes he had started as a freshman, knowing the massive leap he’s taken in such a short amount of time.

But his being so new to the sport makes him a very intriguing prospect for college coaches, if he chooses to go that route. There has been some communication, but Klein hasn’t decided yet if wants to follow up on throwing at the next level or go into the workforce by becoming an electrician, something that is waiting for him if he wants it.

“I was definitely not planning on (throwing in college),” he said. “I was actually a four-year starter for football, so that’s what I thought I was going to do. I’ve only been doing this for two years now, and I definitely can grow a lot more. A couple colleges have talked to me, and that’s what they were saying, that I really have a lot more potential.”

While he mulls over that decision, he’s working toward reaching those end-of-year goals he’s set, and also bringing along the next wave of Gladwin throwers.

“We talk about it a lot,” Goldsworthy said. “You want to leave a legacy. If you’re a jerk, no one’s going to remember, or they’re going to remember you not in the ways you want. He’s really taken that to heart and he’s the person that people want to be around. He’s going to be remembered that, yeah, he threw 60 feet, but he helped (junior Jacob) Hurst, he helped (freshman Harvey) Grove, he helped (freshman Nick) Brasseur. They’ll remember, ‘We wouldn’t have been as good if we didn’t have Klein around.’”

Klein said coaching also is in his future, whether that’s next year as he starts his career, or later down the line if he chooses to go to college.

With his mark already firmly left on Gladwin athletics, he wants to make sure others can do the same.

“I just like seeing my teammates grow,” he said. “We’ve got a freshman right now that’s really good. I told him, ‘I don’t care if you beat my record. I just want to be there to coach you through it.’”

Paul CostanzoPaul Costanzo served as a sportswriter at The Port Huron Times Herald from 2006-15, including three years as lead sportswriter, and prior to that as sports editor at the Hillsdale Daily News from 2005-06. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron, Tuscola, Saginaw, Bay, Arenac, Midland and Gladwin counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Gladwin’s Logan Klein prepares to launch during a turn in the shot put circle. (Middle) Klein has high aspirations in both the shot and discus this spring. (Photos courtesy of the Gladwin athletic department.)