Storms Can't Squash Inspired Performances
June 1, 2019
By Matt Schoch
Special for Second Half
ZEELAND – From great-grandparents and former coaches to a mother and a son, athletes at the MHSAA Boys Track & Field Finals became champions in honor of their loved ones on Saturday.
Take senior Emari O’Brien of Harper Woods Chandler Park, who became the 100-meter Division 2 champion at 10.97 seconds at Zeeland Stadium in honor of former coach Paul Zelmanski, who died in January.
“This whole time I’ve been running, he told me I was going to win it one year,” said O’Brien, a Ferris State football signee who wrote “For Z” on his shoes. “Last year when I (took second place), he said next year when you come back, you’re going to win it for sure.
“I’ve been waiting on this for the longest time, so I have to win that for my coach.”
Athletes like O’Brien endured a three-and-a-half-hour delay and then another of 45 minutes as storms crept off Lake Michigan. Then, a final delay of more than two hours pushed the event to a 12-hour affair.
On the heels of three event wins, Zeeland West earned the team title with 53 points, topping Yale (37), Fruitport (33), Dearborn Divine Child (27) and Corunna (26).
“That means we have won every meet we have been to,” said Zeeland West’s Ethan Brooks, the only individual champion for the Dux. “It is awesome.”
Zeeland West won the 400 relay at 43.51 seconds, and the 800 relay at 1:29.29.
Brooks won the 300 hurdles at 39.38, edging Fruitport junior Ethan Flores by one hundredth of a second in his quest for a second title on the afternoon. Meanwhile, Flores said he had his family, in particular his great-grandmother, on his mind in the starting blocks for the 110 hurdles, which he won at 14.53 seconds. This, despite a slow start to his spring after basketball season leaked longer than usual.
“I didn’t have time to be at the track like I should’ve,” Flores said. “I worked by myself over Memorial Day. I wanted it, and I worked really hard for it.”
Saginaw senior Tony Martin, who is headed to Michigan State, jumped 22-11.25, winning his second straight Division 2 title. That distance came, he said, despite missing the whole board on the championship jump.
Martin credited his mother, Kishon, for pushing him through hard times this year, including a pulled hamstring that hampered his season. He also said his son, Isaiah, has been an inspiration.
Before the injury, Martin had a regular-season jump of 26-6, which is among the top all-time national jumps.
“For me to come and do what I did is pretty amazing,” Martin said. “I’m just happy that I’m back and healthy.”
Junior Dylan Targgart of Coldwater continued his decorated career with two more titles, repeating in the discus at 187-7, a personal record, and the shot put at 66-7.50, a Division 2 Finals record, breaking former Detroit Lions defensive lineman Anthony Zettel’s 2011 mark for Ogemaw Heights (61-8).
“I had thrown my PR before the delay, so I think maybe it was a good thing since other people had to sit and wait and try and PR after that,” Targgart said. “So it might’ve worked to my advantage that way.”
Targgart is probably just being modest though – he won that competition by 14 feet and then the shot by more than six.
Rounding out the field events, junior Matt Veneziano of Parma Western won the high jump at 6 feet, 6 inches, and senior Josh DeVries of Grand Rapids South Christian won the pole vault at 15 feet.
On the track, junior Luke Brenner of Ada Forest Hills Eastern won the 200 at 22.02 seconds. Yale senior Justin Kudera won the 400 at 48.74 seconds, edging last season’s champion Jacob Denison of Tecumseh by six hundredths of a second.
Otsego junior Hunter Hartman won the 800 at 1:55.56; and Corunna senior Ben Jacobs won the 1,600 meters at 4:19.79.
Jacobs also overcame a Zeeland West runner to give Corunna a win in the 3,200 relay at 7:53.20.
After the final weather delay, Dearborn Divine Child junior Anthony Hancock won the 3,200 at 9:06.65.
Yale closed the long day with the 1,600 relay win in 3:23.42 to earn second overall.
PHOTOS: (Top) Zeeland West completes a relay hand-off during its team championship run Saturday. (Middle) Runners take off to start a race at Zeeland Stadium. (Photos by Kevin Fowler. Click to see more from RunMichigan.com.)
Peramaki Adds to Past Finals Fame by Leading Munising to Team Title
By Jason Juno
Special for MHSAA.com
June 4, 2023
KINGSFORD – Munising’s Micaiah Peramaki couldn’t really top last year’s Upper Peninsula Division 3 Finals. He became the eighth male all-time to win four events at an MHSAA track & field championship meet.
“I proved myself last year, so it’s a little more of a fun meet this year,” Peramaki said. “But it’s still important for me just to do good.”
And he was excellent again.
He led the Mustangs to the team title with individual wins in the 100, 200 and 400. He was also a part of the winning 1,600 relay team.
“The 100, I was right next to my brother, Josiah; he ended up getting third. That was really fun actually. We both did really good in that,” Peramaki said. “The 400, I had Aa’Keem (Jackson) from Newberry to watch out for. He pushed it hard in the corner over here, I was prepared for it and I just ran hard from there.”
Josiah Peramaki repeated with a win in the pole vault. Other members of the 1,600 relay were Kane Nebel, Zack Lindquist and Josiah Peramaki.
Munising won the team title with 103.5 points. Newberry was second with 81, Bessemer third with 52 and Rapid River fourth with 44.
Bessemer won the 400 relay (Tommy Trudgeon, Landon Peterson, Daniel Lis and Vinnie Triggiano). Bessemer also finished fifth in the 800 relay – despite being seeded first – and Trudgeon said he had to make a comeback in the 400 relay, which also was seeded first.
He was behind after a shaky handoff, though. But the 100 meters is probably his best race anyway. He finished runner-up to Peramaki, one-tenth of a second behind him.
“I guess I just had to close like a train,” he said of his leg of the relay. “It feels great, glad to win.”
Newberry won the 800 relay (Marco Juarez, Jackson, Matthew Rahilly and Kennedy Depew) and Dollar Bay the 3,200 relay (Joshua Gaunt, Josh Luukkonen, Caleb Kentala and Amos Norland).
Crystal Falls Forest Park’s Samuel McKissack won the 110 hurdles, and Newberry’s Chris Hopson was champion in the 300 hurdles.
In the distance races, Dollar Bay’s Norland won the 800, Forest Park’s Gaven Rintala the 1,600 and Chassell’s Kalvin Kytta the 3,200.
The latter race with Norland was so close – Kytta won by seven hundredths of a second – that Kytta wasn’t sure if he was in fact champion or not.
“I got passed by the leader. I tried to stick on him through the rest of the race,” he said. “He got a little gap on me the last 100 meters. I just felt that juice. I think I passed him.”
It turns out he did.
Whitefish Township, which has just 22 students in the high school, went home with a champion for the first time in school history – Seth Mills in the discus. Newberry’s Rahilly won the long jump, North Central’s Dylan Plunger won the high jump and Rapid River’s Kody Goldi took the shot put.
PHOTOS (Top) Munising's Micaiah Peramaki, center, wins the 400 on Saturday. (Middle) Bessemer's Vinnie Triggiano (4) is able to hold off Lake Linden-Hubbell's Matthew Jokela and Newberry's Kennedy Depew to win the 400 relay. (Below) Chassell's Kalvin Kytta, left, and Dollar Bay's Amos Norland run together until the end of the 3,200. (Photos by Cara Kamps/RunMichigan.com.)