There’s an excellent chance many statewide eyes turn to Saturday’s Upper Peninsula Boys Track & Field Finals at Kingsford High School.
Start in high jump, where Menominee’s Brady Schultz is one of four athletes sharing the top performance in that event in Michigan this season. Ishpeming’s Jonny Matson is another intriguing story; he’s the top seed in four individual events, and if he wins all four will become just the ninth athlete in state history to do so at the MHSAA Finals. Powers North Central’s Luke Gorzinski and Ewen-Trout Creek’s Jaden Borseth are Division 3 contenders who have starred leading their teams to statewide Finals in football and basketball, respectively.
Of heightened interest closer to home, annual favorites Marquette and Ishpeming could face tough challenges in team title competition from Kingsford and Iron Mountain, respectively. Dollar Bay, a first-time team champ in 2021, will look to add another but with Pickford and Munising perhaps the favorites in Division 3 this time around.
Below is a glance at team contenders and individuals to watch in all three divisions.
Team forecast: After seeing its latest Finals win streak end at four with Gladstone taking the 2019 championship, Marquette returned off the COVID year with a win ahead of runner-up Gladstone in 2021. Marquette also was first at its Regional two weeks ago, scoring nearly as many points as the other four teams combined. But watch out for Kingsford. The Flivvers, seeking their first team title since 2014, have qualifiers all over the meet and are seeded to have five event champions. Houghton has similar star power and potential for points.
Dryden Nelson, Calumet senior: The Copper Kings’ standout won the 100 and long jump last year, and he’s seeded first in the 100 (11.31) and second in the 200 (23.58) and long jump (19-11½). He will also run on the 400 relay.
Sasha Olsen, Gladstone senior: Last season’s pole vault champion also was fourth in high jump and is seeded third (5-9) in that event and will run on the 400 relay.
Brady Schultz, Menominee senior: Schultz’s 6-7 in high jump at his Regional was seven inches higher than anyone else in UPD1, and his best of 6-9 remains tied for best in the state this spring. He set the UPD1 meet record last year at 6-8. He’ll also run on three relays including the second-seeded 800 and 1,600.
Lucas Tappy, Kingsford senior: The reigning shot put champion is top-seeded in that event by 3½ feet with a Regional toss of 46-2½.
Carson VanderSchaaf, Marquette junior: This half of the distance twin duo is the top seed in the 1,600 (4:35.72) and 3,200 (9:59.88) and won the 3,200 last season.
Colin VanderSchaaf, Marquette junior: The reigning champ in the 1,600 is second-seeded to his brother by 12 hundredths of a second at 4:35.84 and top-seeded in the 800 (2:05.42) by less than a tenth of a second ahead of Houghton standout Eric Weiss. VanderSchaaf also will run the 400 and on the top-seeded 1,600 relay.
Team forecast: The Hematites shared championship last season with Norway was its third straight title and sixth over the last seven seasons. Its Regional win two weeks ago came in part thanks to 10 event championships, and the team has six top seeds based on those performances. Iron Mountain has a qualifier in all but one event Saturday as it seeks its first team title since 2008.
Eric Edwards, Newberry senior: Last season’s shot put champion is the second seed this time (42-6¼) and will run on two relays including the top-seeded 800.
Nathan Hochstein, L’Anse senior: After sweeping the jumps last spring, Hochstein is the top seed in the high jump (5-7) and fifth in long jump (17-3), and may also run the 400 and on up to two relays.
Christian Koiveniemi, St. Ignace senior: The reigning 100 champ is seeded in the middle of that race and the 200 and tied for the second seed in the high jump (5-6). He’ll also likely run on the top-seeded 400 relay.
Jonny Matson, Ishpeming senior: He enters his first Finals as the top seed in all four of his events – the 100 (11.68), 200 (24.06), 400 (54.06) and long jump (20-0).
Eli Ostermeyer, L’Anse senior: The reigning discus champion is top-seeded in that event (122-9½), and third in shot put (41-9¼) coming off last season’s runner-up finish in that throw.
Landon Sundelius, West Iron County senior: He won the 300 hurdles and was fourth in the 110 last season, but enters Saturday seeded first for both in 41.59 and 17.34, respectively.
Trevor Visnaw, St. Ignace sophomore: Las season’s pole vault champion is seeded second (10-6) and could run two relays, including on the top-seeded 400.
Team forecast: Dollar Bay claimed its first Finals championship in this sport last season, edging Pickford by 12 points. Both should be in the mix Saturday, plus Munising is seeking its first team title since winning back-to-back in 2014 and 2015. The Mustangs have top seeds in four events, while Pickford has qualifiers in every event but one. An interesting addition is Norway, which shared the Division 2 championship last season and finished second at its Regional last month to Stephenson.
Jaden Borseth, Ewen-Trout Creek senior: The basketball standout is also a rare four-field event athlete and the top seed in the discus (127-9). He’ll also compete in the shot put and as the third seed in the long jump (18-9½), and placed in high jump as a junior.
Luke Gorzinski, Powers North Central junior: The 8-Player Finals championship quarterback is also the reigning UPD3 champ in the 200. He’s the top seed in the 100 (11.38), second in the 200 (23.92) and could run on two relays including the top-seeded 800.
Trenton Naser, Powers North Central senior: He finished second in the 300 hurdles and fourth in the 110 last season, but is the top seed in both this weekend at 44.04 and 16.94, respectively. He’s also slated for multiple relays including possibly the 800.
Micaiah Peramaki, Munising junior: After finishing runner-up in the 100 and third in the 200 last spring, Peramaki enters seeded second in the 100 (11.72) but first in the 200 (23.65) and 400 (53.31) – and also second-seeded in the discus (121-8).
Nikolas Thomas, Dollar Bay senior: He contributed to Dollar Bay’s first team title scoring points in the 1,600 and 3,200 and as part of last season’s winning 3,200 relay. He’ll have a much larger role in any repeat attempt as the top seed in the 800 (2:06.08), 1,600 (4:44.86) and 3,200 (10:46.15) and fourth seed in the 400 (54.43).
PHOTOS (Top) Marquette’s Lamb Ngafeeson (left) and Samuel Markey are step for step with each other near the start of their 110 hurdles Regional race last month. (Middle) Kingsford’s Cardel Morton (5) retains a slight lead on Marquette’s Colin VanderSchaaf (3) after the final handoff of the 1,600 relay at the May 13 Negaunee Lions Invitational. (Photos by Cara Kamps.)
David Kozisek ♦ Pickford
Senior ♦ Track & Field
Kozisek was an exchange student from Czech Republic this school year, and when he returns home this week he'll do so having accomplished a rare feat in MHSAA track & field history. On Saturday he became the ninth male athlete to win four individual events at a Finals, taking first in the 110 hurdles (15.40), 300 hurdles (41.39), high jump (6-3) and long jump (20-10) in helping Pickford to the Upper Peninsula Division 2 team championship.
After also playing football and basketball for the Panthers, Kozisek joined the track & field team this spring with plenty of knowledge having competed in that sport over the last six years in his home country. He was incredibly close to leaving an even larger historical imprint last weekend; Kozisek's long jump and high jump both were just one inch off tying UPD2 Finals records, and his 110 time missed that meet record by only six hundredths of a second. He was the first to win four boys events with the combination of two hurdles races and two jumps, and the second four-time individual winner joining Joe Baker, who in 1974 became the first from any school to win four Finals events.
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June 1: Helena McLellan, Northville soccer - Report
May 25: Mitchel Luck, Linden lacrosse - Report
May 18: Ahava Le Febre, Holland tennis - Report
May 11: Gracie Maloney, Macomb Dakota softball - Report
May 4: Braxton Brann, Ann Arbor Huron track & field - Report
April 27: Owen Patton, Vestaburg track & field - Report
April 20: Lilly Damm, Millington softball - Report
April 13: Larissa Huffman, Mackinaw City track & field - Report
April 6: Darius Acuff, Detroit Cass Tech basketball - Report
March 23: Regan Finkbeiner, Hemlock basketball - Report
March 16: Alaina Yaney, Grand Ledge gymnastics - Report
March 9: Braeden Davis, Dundee wrestling - Report
March 2: Gabriel Sanchez-Burks, Ann Arbor Pioneer swimming - Report
Feb. 23: Grace Sobczak, Marquette swimming - Report
Feb. 16: Kaitlynn Demers, Gibraltar Carlson competitive cheer - Report
Feb. 9: Indya Davis, West Bloomfield basketball - Report
Feb. 2: Braydon Sorenson, Onekama skiing - Report
Jan. 26: Shayna Hruska, Iron Mountain wrestling - Report
Jan. 19: Kayla Tafanelli, Warren Woods-Tower bowling - Report
Dec. 20: Brenden Paden, Riverview Gabriel Richard hockey - Report
Dec. 16: Tuff Scott, Holton bowling - Report
Dec. 9: Macey Fegan, Standish-Sterling basketball - Report
Dec. 2: Treyton Siegert, Gladwin football - Report
Nov. 24: Lily Witte, Dexter diving - Report
Nov. 17: Navea Gauthier, Shelby volleyball - Report
Nov. 10: Derek Huisman, Holland Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3: Thomas Westphal, New Baltimore Anchor Bay cross country - Report
Oct. 27: Justin Wickey, Colon football - Report
Oct. 20: Owen DeMuth, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood tennis - Report
Oct. 13: Mia Melendez, Ann Arbor Greenhills golf - Report
Oct. 6: Shawn Foster, Grand Ledge football - Report
Sept. 30: Hannah Smith, Temperance Bedford swimming - Report
Sept. 22: Helen Sachs, Holland West Ottawa cross country - Report
Sept. 15: Nina Horning, Lake Orion volleyball - Report
Sept 8: Arturo Romero, Muskegon Oakridge soccer - Report
Sept. 1: Austin King, Midland Dow tennis - Report
Aug. 25: Olivia Hemmila, Troy Athens golf - Report
PHOTOS courtesy of 2BU Photography.