Smith Sets Tone as Multi-Talented Pewamo-Westphalia Ascends Again

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for

June 1, 2024

KENT CITY – Trevor Smith set the tone early for the Pewamo-Westphalia boys track & field team Saturday at Kent City.

The junior sprinter earned a narrow win in the 100 to collect early points that would prove beneficial in the Pirates’ pursuit of their latest Lower Peninsula Division 3 championship.

“It was a big win right away in the beginning, and it helped put us in a good position,” Smith said. “It was a big emotional shift, and it was unreal.

“I didn’t really expect it, but it was a big help toward our team with points. I just missed winning last year, so to come back and win it meant a lot.”

Pewamo-Westphalia kept its early advantage throughout and hung on in the end to capture the title. The Pirates, last year’s runners-up, recorded 49 points to clip second-place Clare by four points. Detroit Edison was third with 32 points.

P-W senior Gavin Nurenberg repeated in the shot put (60-02), while senior Collin Farmer added a pair of top-4 finishes in the distance events.

“Our boys had a really nice season, but this was always the focus from Day 1,” Pirates coach Scott Werner said. “We felt we had the pieces in place when we got out of Regionals, and we were just excited to attack the day.

“We are the type of program where we are good in quite a few events. We don't rely on one person. We set the tone early with unexpected points in the 3,200 relay, and it built from there.”

Ovid-Elsie's Tryce Tokar attempts a vault amid the rainy conditions.Farmer finished runner-up in the 3,200 and fourth in the 1,600.

“There are not a lot of teams that have good guys in the field, sprints and distance, so I think that brings a lot of peace to the team,” Farmer said. “We knew that we could trust each other, and not one person had to take control.”

Senior Dalton Brown also provided a lift with a personal record en route to a third-place finish in the shot put.

“I challenged each of the separate groups to go out and score a minimum of 15 points,” Werner said. “We had a plan and an approach for every single event, and they trusted the process and executed at the highest level. I’m proud of them.”

Clare made a late push with a strong showing in the relays, while also receiving a boost from senior Brad White. He cruised to a win in the 800 with a new personal-best time and also was part of the winning 1,600 relay.

“Honestly, I didn't expect this,” White said. “I came into today pressure-free. I’ve already accomplished everything I could ever want in a season, and I'm just as happy as I can be to come out here and do something special, especially in my last high school race. I’m proud of my team and my PR.”

North Muskegon senior Jerry Wiegers repeated in the 400 by edging Geoffrey McBurrow of Detroit Edison. Wiegers also won the 200.

“There was a lot of pressure (to repeat), and I was worried on the whole ride here that I was going to screw up and I was going to have to hand the title to someone else,” Wiegers said. “But when I finally passed the finish line and I won, I was like, ‘I did this again, in my final year in high school.’ It was a good way to cap off my career.”

Coloma senior Boden Genovese (1,600) and Grayling senior Drew Moore (3,200) won the distance races, and Napoleon senior Holden Van Poppel (110) and Elk Rapids junior Max Ward (300) were hurdles champions. Standish-Sterling (400), Edison (800) and Traverse City St. Francis (3,200) also won relays. Lawton junior Mason Mayne (discus), Ovid-Elsie junior Tryce Tokar (pole vault) and Clare sophomore Conan Weeks (long jump) were other field event winners. Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett senior Jake Juip (100 and 200), Montague junior Wyatt Fairchild (400) and Perry senior Alec Chapman (shot put) won the adaptive event championships.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Pewamo-Westphalia's Trevor Smith, center, edges Dearborn Advanced Technology's Cobey Cureton and University Liggett's Santino Cicarella, among others, in the 100 on Saturday. (Middle) Ovid-Elsie's Tryce Tokar attempts a vault amid the rainy conditions. (Click for more from Jamie McNinch/

With 2nd Place in Final Race, Newberry Clinches 1st in Final Team Standings

By John Vrancic
Special for

June 2, 2024

KINGSFORD — The race for the Upper Peninsula Division 3 boys track & field championship came right down to the wire Saturday as Newberry edged St. Ignace 96-92 for top honors.

Third-place team finisher Lake Linden-Hubbell won the day’s final race, the 1,600-meter relay, in 3 minutes, 41.94 seconds, and Newberry hung on to edge St. Ignace by two steps for second place and its first title in eight years.

Newberry, which was runner-up to Munising last year, was clocked at 3:43.07 in the 1,600 relay on this sunny and mild late afternoon. The Saints finished nine hundredths of a second later.

“We knew we had to beat St. Ignace to win,” Newberry senior Kennedy Depew said after finishing the anchor leg. “This was my last race ever. I knew I had to give it my all. That’s also why I knew I had to scratch from the open 400. I would have been in four events. I think scratching from the 400 helped me save some energy. We weren’t satisfied with runner-up last year, which makes this year’s championship all the more satisfying.”

Classmate Gabe Luck provided Newberry with its lone individual first with a heave of 44 feet, 1¾ inches in shot put.

“We had a lot of injuries this year,” Newberry coach Drew Schultz said. “For all the obstacles we had, we wouldn’t have it any other way, having two of the best athletes decide it in the last race. I’m extremely proud of our guys. To win it that way is just insane. I’m proud of all our eastern-end kids.”

Chassell's Kalvin Kytta and Cedarville/DeTour's Ethan Snyder lead the pack of 1,600 runners. Depew also was runner-up in the 100-meter dash in 11.63 seconds.

Senior Jon Ingalls, who ran the last leg for the Saints, won the 110 hurdles (16.39) and 300s (42.89) and helped them place second in the 400 relay (45.94).

“Both hurdles were decent,” Ingalls said. “Those weren’t my best times, but it feels good to grind out a few more wins.”

Senior Owen Lester also provided the Saints with a victory in pole vault (12-6).

LL-H got firsts from senior Gabe Popko in discus at 153 feet, 4¼ inches, and classmate Matt Jokela in the 400 (51.09). Jokela also took third in the 100 (11.65).

“Real good hydration and confidence are keys,” Jokela said. “I think having confidence helps a little. I usually don’t go too hard out of the blocks. Then, I usually try to go as hard as I can in the last 200.”

Chassell junior Kalvin Kytta claimed three firsts, taking the 800 in a personal-best 2:03.62, 1,600 (4:39.58) and 3,200 (10:27.32).

“Three wins, I’m pretty happy with that,” he said. “The 800 went real well. Overall, I’m very happy with my performance today.”

Fourth-place Bessemer set UPD3 Finals records in the 400 relay (45.3) and 800 (1:34.64). Powers North Central previously set the record in the 400 (45.34) two years ago and Rock Mid Peninsula had held the 800 record since 2001 when it ran a 1:35.1.

“We shaved two seconds off in the 800 relay which feels good, and our handoffs in the 400 were good all year,” Bessemer senior Landon Peterson said. “Our school record in the 400 is 44.98, which is something we’ve done three times this year. Running on a rubber track gives you a much better grip, which helped us a lot today.”

Bessemer senior Tom Trudgeon became a four-event winner, also taking the 100 (11.46) and 200 (23.85).

Crystal Falls Forest Park freshman Vic Guiliani won high jump (6-0), and sophomore Michael Rexford went 19-9 in long jump, providing Escanaba Holy Name with its first U.P. Finals title since the school reopened in 2021.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Newberry runners celebrate taking second place in the 1,600 relay, allowing them to finish ahead of St. Ignace for the team title in Upper Peninsula Division 3. (Middle) Chassell's Kalvin Kytta and Cedarville/DeTour's Ethan Snyder lead the pack of 1,600 runners. (Click for more from Cara Kamps/