Munising Follows Leaders to Repeat

By John Vrancic
Special for

May 31, 2015

KINGSFORD — Senior Andy Cooper and junior Brett Hannah have been the leaders for the Munising boys track team all season.

They continued to lead Saturday as the Mustangs retained their Upper Peninsula Division 3 title with 134 points.

Rapid River brought home the runner-up trophy with 65, with Bessemer and Stephenson sharing third at 45 apiece.

Cooper set U.P. meet records in the 110-meter hurdles in 14.96 seconds and 300 (40.13). He also won the 200 (22.8) and high jump at 6-foot-2, making it two straight seasons with four individual Finals championships.

His effort in the 110 race topped the previous best (15.21) by Grayson Hood of Engadine in 2007. In the 300, he bettered the old standard (40.42) by Mike Schmaus of Ontonagon from five years ago.

Hannah established the 800 record with a personal-best 2:01.45, surpassing the old mark (2:03.41) by Tyler Veraghen of Powers North Central in 2009. He also captured the 1,600 (4:38.09) and 3,200 (10:40.5).

“Getting the PR (and U.P. record) in the 800 felt pretty good,” said Hannah. “It definitely helps to have people from our community come all the way over here and show their support. It’s definitely nice to have that sense of comfort.”

Senior Ben Stasewich added a first in shot put (44-2½).

Munising senior Alex Hill was runner-up in the 100 (11.64) by two hundredths of a second to St. Ignace’s James Cryderman. He also placed second in the 200 (23.95) and third in high jump (5-10). Classmate Austin Kelto was runner-up in long jump (18-5) and Ian McInnis was third in discus (122-7).

Rapid River didn’t get any firsts, but got seconds from junior Dan Blair in the 800 (2:03.2) and 1,600 (4:43.44).

Junior Jon Stropich added a second in pole vault (12-0) and freshman Logan Hardwick was runner-up in discus (125-11).

Rapid River sophomore Mason Berglund was third in the 110 hurdles (17.3) and 300 (44.24).

Bessemer retained its 3,200 relay title and Tim Buerger placed second in the 3,200 (10:51.06) and fourth in the 1,600 (4:58.98). Brayden Tomes was runner-up in the 300 hurdles (44.0) and senior Jess Mazzon placed third in the 400 (54.44).

Stephenson senior Brandon Kau won discus (135-9). Senior Connor Cappaert placed third in the 3,200 (10:58.42), and Tristan Johnson was third in the 100 (11.72).

Crystal Falls Forest Park junior Bill Ragio set the U.P. meet pole vault record at 13-3½, topping the old mark (13-3) by Jimmi Cretens of Rock Mid-Peninsula in 2007. He also took third in the 200 (24.14).

North Central junior Bryce Holle won the 400 (51.78) and placed third in the 800 (2:05).

“I just tried to build up a little speed in practice,” he said. “I did a lot of sprints by doing power line pulls where you sprint one, walk one and jog one (prior to repeating the process). Those seem to help me a lot. Winning the 400 means a lot to me. It’s hard to get good placing when there’s so much competition. The rest of the guys also did a pretty good job.”

Senior J.J. Larson became the first Hannahville athlete to place in the U.P. Finals, taking fifth in discus (114-0).        

Click for full results.

PHOTO: Munising's Brett Hannah won the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 at the U.P. Division 3 Final on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Cara Kamps.)

Chippewa Valley's Heard Has Big Plans to Add to All-Time Sprint Legacy

By Keith Dunlap
Special for

May 10, 2024

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Clinton Township Chippewa Valley senior Shamar Heard admits he’s thought about it, and for good reason.

Greater DetroitAfter all, why not at least entertain the thought of doing something unprecedented in state history when it comes to track & field?

Two years ago as a sophomore, Heard achieved the double in the fastest races, winning both the 100 and 200-meter dashes at the Lower Peninsula Division 1 Finals. 

Last year, Heard completed the trifecta when it came to sprint state titles, focusing solely on the 400 dash and winning that event in 47.78 seconds while also running on first and third-place relays.

So, how about trying to train for and win all three events this year as a senior? Who in the state would be able to stop him? 

“I definitely have been thinking about it,” Heard said. “Because why not? It probably hasn’t been done in a long time, if ever.”

But while the thought has crossed his mind, it won’t happen. It’s a little much on the body — in particular running the 100-meter dash — to try and do all three at once. 

However, Heard in the coming weeks is still in a good position to cement what already is a place among the greatest sprinters to come through the state of Michigan. 

First, he has big things in mind for his specialty race, the 400 meters. He has won two consecutive AAU national titles in that event in addition to the Finals title he won last year, but is craving more.

“I want to be at 45 seconds for the state meet,” Heard said noting the June 1 Finals at East Kentwood. 

In addition, Heard plans on competing in the 200 meters at East Kentwood. He also is a part of Chippewa Valley’s 800 relay team that won last year in 1:26.41. He’s expected to qualify for all three at the Regional on May 17 at Romeo.

Heard prepares to run the winning 400 at last season’s championship meet.When Heard is done with high school, he will continue running track at Tennessee. 

It’s all mighty impressive for a speedster that Chippewa Valley head coach Terry Wilson said hates lifting weights and is “barely above 150 pounds.”

“He doesn’t weigh a whole lot, but he generates a lot of power,” Wilson said. “His strength-to-weight ratio has to be astronomical. He’s just gotten better with his form.”

Throughout his entire life, Heard said he’s simply loved racing. When he was a kid, he would constantly pick out a stop sign on a street or another spot in a yard and race others to the finish, often beating them with ease. 

When he was 10 years old, he was invited by a friend to come out for a track team, and he proceeded to beat others in races continuously. 

As he got a little older, Heard discovered how gifted he was running the 400 meters and started to focus more on that event. 

Heard said he loves the 400 meters so much mostly because he loves embracing a challenge many sprinters don’t want to face. 

“I like that not many people want to go through that pain,” he said. “I take it as a compliment when people look at (the 400) and they say, ‘Hey, people are crazy for doing that.’ That makes me motivated to do it.”

Wilson admits there doesn’t have to be much coaching done with Heard. It’s just simply a matter of getting together before races to discuss how he feels and what his body can do that day. 

“He understands his body a little bit better every year,” Wilson said. “He understands what he needs to get done in races. He’ll run the 200 in practice and I’ll have a stopwatch on him, and he’ll say, ‘That felt like a 24 (seconds). I look at my stopwatch and it’s a 24.2. He has that ability to gauge how fast he’s going. It’s just different with him.” 

Heard also was a football player at Chippewa Valley, but gave the sport up before last fall to focus solely on his track career. 

“I was just looking at the bigger picture,” Heard said. “I was more consistent in one sport than I was the other.”

He will run the 400 meters at Tennessee, and then the sky could be the limit given what he’s accomplished already on a national level.

Until then though, Heard will spend the rest of his high school career trying to win more hardware and leave a mark that might be impossible for future sprinters in Michigan to surpass. 

“I want to give everyone a senior year that they will remember,” Heard said. “I want to go out with one of the most memorable years of a high school athlete.” 

Keith DunlapKeith Dunlap has served in Detroit-area sports media for more than two decades, including as a sportswriter at the Oakland Press from 2001-16 primarily covering high school sports but also college and professional teams. His bylines also have appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, the Houston Chronicle and the Boston Globe. He served as the administrator for the Oakland Activities Association’s website from 2017-2020. Contact him at [email protected] with story ideas for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Chippewa Valley’s Shamar Heard crosses the finish line while anchoring the winning 800 relay at last year’s LPD1 Finals. (Middle) Heard prepares to run the winning 400 at last season’s championship meet. (Click for more from Jamie McNinch/