St. Joseph Boys Make Every Point Count in Clinching 1st Finals Since 1997

By Keith Dunlap
Special for

June 3, 2023

ROCKFORD – Entering the final event of Saturday’s Lower Peninsula Division 1 Final, the 1,600 relay, St. Joseph was in first place – but by the slimmest of margins.

St. Joseph had 35.75 points, while Rockford had 35, Clinton Township Chippewa Valley had 32, and Ann Arbor Huron had 30. 

Bears head coach Todd Rose knew his team was in the second heat before faster teams after, but his for sure needed to be faster than Rockford. 

“I don’t teach them to worry about who they are running against,” Rose said. “Just run within themselves and run how we teach them.” 

St. Joseph did that behind the team of Shay White, Will Fiesbeck, Eli Toney and Alex Moyer, finishing fourth in the event with a time of 3:21.50 to earn a meet-best 40.75 points – clinching the program’s first Finals team championship since 1997. 

Chippewa Valley was runner-up with 38 points, while Rockford was third at 36 points. 

St. Joseph senior Gerald Capaccio scored 18 precious points for his team, most notably winning the discus with a winning throw of 167-2. Capaccio said he was in second going into his last throw.

Ann Arbor Huron's Braxton Brann finishes one of his two race wins. “I just had the mindset that everyone can have a big throw, and it just has to be me that gets the big throw,” Capaccio said. “It happened on my final throw.” 

Capaccio also was second in the shot put with a throw of 56-11¼.

In addition to Capaccio earning big points in the shot put and discus, Rose gave credit to high jumper Joshua Scott for finishing in a tie for seventh in that event. That gave the Bears two points, and they proved to be especially important as the team won by less than one.

It’s rare when a runner does something that hasn’t been achieved since before automobiles were invented, but Ann Arbor Huron senior Braxton Brann had that distinction. 

Brann won the 110 hurdles and the 200 dash, becoming the first athlete to win those two events at the same state meet since 1895 – three decades before the MHSAA was formed. 

“It’s great to be in that kind of conversation,” said Brann, who will run in college at Ohio State.

First, Brann won the 110 hurdles in a time of 13.77. He said that was the event he was most concerned about.

“I haven’t really been consistent, so I just wanted to be that,” Brann said. 

Feeling much more comfortable and at home in the 200 dash, Brann ran a winning time of 21.12. 

“Everybody comes in looking at the stats of everybody else,” he said. “I saw I was in the best position to win. But I knew I had to run by butt off against this great field and come out with a win.” 

Northville makes the final exchange of its record-setting 3,200 relay. Just about everyone in the stadium did a double-take when Northville’s 3,200 relay time was posted. The team of Brandon Latta, Brock Malaikal, David Whitaker and Brendan Herger set a new all-Finals record with a blistering time of 7:35.32, which was the best time in the nation this year.

Herger said when he got the baton on the anchor leg, he knew his teammates set him up incredibly well. But even he and Northville couldn’t have foreseen this. 

“I had to run 1.54 to get it, and then I ended up running a bit faster than that,” Herger said. “I was so happy. I love my boys so much. It was great to share the moment together. 

Herger also ended up finishing second in the 800 meters with a time of 1:52.19 behind Utica’s Trent McFarland.

Detroit U-D Jesuit senior Jaiden Reed won the 100 (10.74), and Clinton Township Chippewa Valley junior Shamar Heard won the 400 (47.78). Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills senior Benne Anderson won the 1,600 (4:05.44), and Grand Haven junior Seth Norder won the 3,200 (9:04.68). Kalamazoo Central senior Kayenn Mabin won the 300 hurdles (38.31). Rockford in the 400 (42.01), Chippewa Valley in the 800 (1:26.41) and Oak Park in the 1,600 (3:18.90) also won relay titles.

Battle Creek Lakeview senior Andrew Berryhill was champion in the shot put (58-¼), and Saline senior Dolan Gonzales won pole vault (16-0). Ann Arbor Huron junior Andrew Harding won the high jump (6-7), and Canton sophomore Quincy Isaac won the long jump (22-11). New Baltimore Anchor Bay sophomore Luke Bowman competed in the adaptive 100 (19.65), 200 (35.66) and 400 (1:14.39).  

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) St. Joseph celebrates its LPD1 championship Saturday. (Middle) Ann Arbor Huron's Braxton Brann finishes one of his two race wins. (Below) Northville makes the final exchange of its record-setting 3,200 relay. (Photos by Jamie McNinch [top two photos] and Carter Sherline/

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/