Performance: Lee's Thomas Robinson
April 27, 2018
Wyoming Lee senior – Track & Field
Robinson, a four-time MHSAA Finals sprints champion, is off to another fast start. He swept the 100 and 200 championships at Saturday’s Fred Solis Invitational with two of the fastest times statewide this season to earn the Michigan Army National Guard’s “Performance of the Week.”
The two-time reigning Lower Peninsula Division 3 champ in both races, Robinson ran an 11-second flat 100 and 22.14-second 200 on Saturday and also helped Lee’s 400 and 800 relays to runner-up finishes. The 200 time ranks as the state’s fastest across all divisions this spring, and his 100 time is tied for fourth; he then ran the 100 in a hand-timed 10.84 seconds Tuesday. Over his first two seasons and the first month of this one, Robinson has won all but four of his 100 and 200-meter races – and his only finish lower than second came in a preliminary where he came back to win an MHSAA championship.
Robinson set the LPD3 Finals record with a 21.76 in the 200 last season. His 21.74 in that race is a school record, and is his best of 10.74 in the 100 – both broke previous records set in 1976 – and he also set a school record of 43.97 with the 400 relay team including Tino Savala, Aridel Torres and Gio Santiago. Robinson’s first MHSAA title in 2016 was the program’s first in the sport since 2006, and he also was a receiver and defensive back on a football team that finished 3-6 in the fall – tying its best record since 2007 with more wins than the previous four seasons combined. Robinson carries a 3.38 grade-point average – he earned academic all-state in track last year – and has accepted a full scholarship to Michigan State University, where he’s interested in studying computer, mechanical or electrical engineering. It’s been quite a rise – he didn’t run track for the first time until his sophomore year.
Lee sprints and football coach Tom DeGennaro said: “(Thomas) was always a good student. He is naturally fast. When he was a sophomore, I was coaching at Kelloggsville High School and watched him run in our conference meets. His first race he did not even know how to use blocks and was very raw. I came here last year, and we worked on simple things like arm placement and running form – spent a ton of time on block work and attended track camps. He can go faster with some additional form clean up. … Thomas is a natural talent who works hard in the weight room in the offseason. He squats close to 500 pounds, which is a lot considering he only weighs 180 pounds.”
Performance Point: “Usually for me, I don't really run (early in the season) what I expect to run. I really expect to run 10s (10 seconds in the 100) but I haven't really been trying to hit a 10 this season yet. I expect to hit a 10 later on this season when the weather gets warmer. (I) just keep going to practice every day, just keep doing every drill 100 percent. … I just want to get faster and (personal record) in all my events. In the 100, I want to run at least a 10.4 and the 200 at least the low 21s.”
Putting Lee on the map: “People, when they look at Lee, they don't see (success) like that coming from here, so it means a lot that I can be that successful at Lee. People always say that everyone who goes there is bad at sports and stuff. I want to show them that's not true. … I always hear teachers and staff (saying) congrats on my races, and just a lot of support from everyone and my athletic director.”
Catching up: “I was just a stay-at-home kid playing video games. I kinda (knew I was fast), but I never really took it seriously. ... The way I started getting into sports is we got a new football coach (former coach Carlton Brewster). He's all like (talking about my) potential and challenging me. He just told me to do football. I was decent at it my freshman year. And then the second year I got a lot better, and after that season was over he was like, 'You should run track.' I didn't really want to at first – I was like, ‘Nah, I don't want to do it.’ I look at it now; I thank him for making me do it because I've had a lot of success in it.”
Setting an example: “Before, no one really cared about me. But now everyone's looking up to me, like little kids look up to me – 'Oh, you're that really fast kid. I want to be like you when I'm older' – stuff like that. It makes me feel good because I'm a role model for them. Little kids say they want to be like me, my little brother (in eighth grade) too because he just started track this season.”
Following another GR-area star: “Khance Meyers (four-time individual LPD1 champ for East Kentwood, now at Hinds Community College in Mississippi) – I want to follow his steps because he’s really successful in track right now in college. He won a national title for the 200 meters already his first year as a freshman. (He taught me) to just always work hard and stuff like that – set your mind to it, and it will happen.”
- Geoff Kimmerly, Second Half editor
Every week during the 2017-18 school year, Second Half and the Michigan Army National Guard will recognize a “Performance of the Week" from among the MHSAA's 750 member high schools.
The Michigan Army National Guard provides trained and ready forces in support of the National Military Strategy, and responds as needed to state, local, and regional emergencies to ensure peace, order, and public safety. The Guard adds value to our communities through continuous interaction. National Guard soldiers are part of the local community. Guardsmen typically train one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. This training maintains readiness when needed, be it either to defend our nation's freedom or protect lives and property of Michigan citizens during a local natural disaster.
Previous 2017-18 honorees:
March 29: Carlos Johnson, Benton Harbor basketball - Read
March 22: Shine Strickland-Gills, Saginaw Heritage basketball - Read
March 15: Skyler Cook-Weeks, Holland Christian swimming - Read
March 8: Dakota Greer, Howard City Tri-County wrestling - Read
March 1: Camree' Clegg, Wayne Memorial basketball - Read
February 23: Aliah Robertson, Sault Ste. Marie swimming - Read
February 16: Austin O'Hearon, Eaton Rapids wrestling - Read
February 9: Sophia Wiard, Muskegon Oakridge basketball - Read
February 2: Brenden Tulpa, Hartland hockey - Read
January 25: Brandon Whitman, Dundee wrestling - Read
January 18: Derek Maas, Holland West Ottawa swimming - Read
January 11: Lexi Niepoth, Bellaire basketball - Read
November 30: La'Darius Jefferson, Muskegon football - Read
November 23: Ashley Turak, Farmington Hills Harrison swimming - Read
November 16: Bryce Veasley, West Bloomfield football - Read
November 9: Jose Penaloza, Holland soccer - Read
November 2: Karenna Duffey, Macomb L'Anse Creuse North cross country - Read
October 26: Anika Dy, Traverse City West golf - Read
October 19: Andrew Zhang, Bloomfield Hills tennis - Read
October 12: Nolan Fugate, Grand Rapids Catholic Central football - Read
October 5: Marissa Ackerman, Munising tennis - Read
September 28: Minh Le, Portage Central soccer - Read
September 21: Olivia Theis, Lansing Catholic cross country - Read
September 14: Maddy Chinn, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep volleyball - Read
PHOTOS: (Top) Wyoming Lee’s Thomas Robinson (far left) leads on the way to winning the 100-meter championship in Lower Peninsula Division 3 last spring. (Middle) Robinson crosses the finish line in the 200 championship race last year well ahead of the pack. (Click for more from RunMichigan.com.)
Preview: UP Boys Finals Loaded with Intriguing Opportunities
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
June 2, 2023
Saturday’s Upper Peninsula Boys Track & Field Finals can match storylines with any of the other events happening statewide on the busiest day of the school sports season.
The Division 1 meet will pit rivals returning after one point separated them a year ago, while Division 2 will see a pair of 2022 champions looking to win again.
Munising’s Micaiah Peramaki will compete in his last Finals after becoming the latest to win four individual events last spring, and Pickford’s David Kozisek will compete in his first and only Finals with a great possibility of becoming the next four-event champ.
All three divisions will again be contested at Kingsford High School, with preliminaries leading off the day at 9 a.m. local (Central) time. Tickets cost $11 and are available digitally only via GoFan.
MHSAA.tv will live-stream the meets beginning at 9 a.m. (CDT)/10 a.m. (EDT), viewable with subscription.
Following is a glance at team contenders and individuals to watch in all three divisions:
Team forecast: Marquette owns a two-year championship streak, but claimed last season’s title by a mere point ahead of Kingsford. The Flivvers will pose another challenge Saturday with a pair of relay favorites and strong field events hoping to counter Marquette’s distance stars and overall depth. Sault Ste. Marie, boasting excellence in the distance events as well, could factor significantly.
Matthew Colavecchi, Iron Mountain junior: Last season’s 100 and 200 champion in UPD2 will run on a contending 400 relay and had the sixth-fastest UPD1 Regional time in the 100 (11.85).
Will Fairchild, Iron Mountain senior: He finished fifth both in the 110 and 300 hurdles and eighth in long jump in UPD2 last season, but heads into these UPD1 Finals with the top Regional times for his division in both races – 16.05 and 42.48, respectively.
Michael Floriano, Kingsford junior: Last season’s 200 and 400 relay champion and 100 dash runner-up will run on two favored relays this time and also enters with the third-fastest UPD1 Regional times in the 100 (11.56) and 200 (23.94).
Drew Hughes, Gladstone senior: After running a relay at last year’s Finals, he’s set to run two plus enters with the top UPD1 Regional time in the 800 (2:05.23) and fourth-fastest in the 1,600 (4:38.46).
Gabe Litzner, Sault Ste. Marie freshman: The UPD1 cross country champion in the fall enters his first Track Finals with the top UPD1 Regional times in the 1,600 (4:35.42) and 3,200 (9:58.36).
Cole Myllyla, Kingsford senior: He’s another returning relay champ and also won the long jump and was sixth in the high jump last season. He’ll run on two favored relays and had the third-best UPD1 Regional long jump (20-¼).
Carson VanderSchaaf, Marquette senior: He’s a two-time 3,200 champion and also won the 1,600 and as part of the 3,200 relay last spring, and he’ll enter Saturday with the second-fastest UPD1 Regional time in the 1,600 (4:37.21) and third-fastest in the 3,200 (10:02.40).
Colin VanderSchaaf, Marquette senior: He’s also won races the last two Finals, the 800 last year and 1,600 as a sophomore (finishing second to his brother last year), and enters this meet with the second-fastest UPD1 Regional times in the 400 (54.11) and 800 (2:06.68) and third-fastest in the 1,600 (4:37.28).
Team forecast: Ishpeming has four won straight Division 2 titles (not counting canceled 2020), but Pickford – last season’s UPD3 champion – might be the favorite to continue its streak instead. The Panthers have contenders in several events and also will get help with a number of Bark River-Harris hopefuls slotting into possible high places as well. That said, the Hematites do have qualifiers in 16 events and depth to match anyone in the field.
Caden Awbrey, Pickford senior: He won the 300 hurdles in UPD3 and was second in the 110 last season, also running on championship and runner-up relays. He’ll run on two contending relays this weekend and enters with the UPD2 Regionals third-fastest 300 time (43.97) and fourth-fastest in the 110 (17.63).
Wyatt Demers, Manistique junior: He had a busy 2022 Finals with a relay championship, fifth places in the 100 and 400 and a third in the 200. He could top that as part of two contending relays and entering with the fastest UPD2 Regional times in the 100 (11.5) and 200 (23.24).
Tramon Gauthier, Ishpeming junior: He played a major role in last year’s team title with a win in the 110 hurdles, second in the 300 and fourth-place long jump, and this weekend he enters with the second-best UPD2 Regional long jump (19-3), second-fastest 110 (16.41) and 300 hurdles (43.34) times and fourth-fastest in the 100 (11.99).
Hayden Hagen, Pickford junior: After also running on a relay champ last year in UPD3 and finishing fourth in the 3,200 and ninth in the 1,600, he’s lined up for a huge meet entering with the top UPD2 Regional times in the 800 (2:14.15), 1,600 (5:03.16) and 3,200 (11:08.89).
David Kozisek, Pickford senior: He could cap his lone season of high school track with one of the most memorable as he enters with the top UPD2 Regional times in the 110 (15.39) and 300 hurdles (42.37) and top high jump (5-10) and long jump (20-7½) as well.
Owen Lester, St. Ignace junior: The reigning pole vault champion (and seventh-place finisher in the 300 hurdles) posted the top UPD2 Regional pole vault (11-6) by six inches.
Brayden Martin, Ishpeming junior: He had the farthest UPD2 shot put (43-8½) and second-longest discus toss (119-2) at Regionals, after finishing fourth in the shot put at last year’s Finals.
Team forecast: There will be a new champion with Pickford in UPD2, with 2022 runner-up Munising coming off a Regional title after falling just nine points shy of catching the Panthers a year ago. The Mustangs have favorites in several events and contenders in most others. Newberry, fifth in UPD2 last season, also looks capable of making serious noise.
Joe Kelley, Munising junior: He finished fifth in the 300 and sixth in the 110 hurdles last season, but could play a massive part Saturday entering with the fastest UPD3 Regional 300 (44.81) and second-fastest time in the 110 (17.06).
Kalvin Kytta, Chassell sophomore: He finished seventh in both the 1,600 and 3,200 and 10th in the 800 as a freshman and also will be expected to score entering with the fastest UPD3 Regional times in the 1,600 (4:48.91) and 3,200 (10:56.07).
Seth Mills, Paradise Whitefish senior: He could become his school’s first Finals champion in this sport as he enters with the top UPD3 Regional discus throw (149-4) by more than 21 feet – and with that toss nearly 40 better than his fifth-place finish in the event a year ago. He also enters with the sixth-best UPD3 Regional shot put (38-5).
Josiah Peramaki, Munising senior: The reigning pole vault champion also was third in the long jump and fifth in the 200 last season, and he’ll enter this weekend tied with the top UPD3 Regional pole vault (12-0) and also competing on a relay and in the long jump and 100, having posted the third-fastest time (11.73) in the sprint.
Micaiah Peramaki, Munising senior: He became the eighth boys four-time Finals individual champion last year winning the 100, 200, 400 and discus. He could add three more individual titles entering Saturday with UPD3 Regional bests in the 100 (11.24), 200 (23.47) and 400 (53.05) while also running on a contending relay.
Matthew Rahilly, Newberry sophomore: He was fifth in the long jump and ran on two scoring relays in UPD2 as a freshman, and enters this Finals with the best UPD3 Regional long jump (19-9) and tied for the second-best high jump (5-8).
Ian Sundling, Rapid River senior: The reigning long jump champ also finished seventh in high jump last season and will compete in both plus two relays, entering with the third-best UPD3 Regional long jump (19-1).
PHOTO Iron Mountain's Matthew Colavecchi (3) edges Pickford's David Kozisek (2) and Powers North Central's Luke Gorzinski (4) in a 200 heat at the April 17 Superior Dome Invitational. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)