Preview: Classic Clashes and Broken Records Expected

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

June 5, 2021

The attention that will be paid to one of the Lower Peninsula Boys Track & Field Finals on Saturday will go past usual interest in just a local school or single division.

Many eyes will be turned to the Division 1 meet, featuring among many Ann Arbor Skyline senior Hobbs Kessler, who has made national news over the last few weeks by setting the national high school record in the 1,500 (3:34.36) and qualifying for the Olympic Trials in the event.

But he’ll be facing some familiar competition in his distance races at East Kentwood – including Hartland junior Riley Hough, who edged Kessler by two seconds in the Division 1 cross country final this past fall.

Their matchup is just one of many stories worth tuning in for this weekend. Events at all four sites begin at 10 a.m. (EDT) and tickets to attend can be purchased online only at GoFan. The meets also will be broadcast on MHSAA.tv and viewable with subscription. Click to watch each division: LPD1 | LPD2 | LPD3 | LPD4

Below is a glance at team contenders and individuals to watch in all four divisions.

Division 1 at East Kentwood

Top Regional scores: Macomb Dakota 160, Traverse City West 145½, Northville 136, Novi 136.

Team forecast: East Kentwood won the last three championships before COVID, with Ann Arbor Pioneer finishing runner-up in both 2018 and 2019. Dakota is an interesting possibility this time with qualifiers throughout the meet. Fenton has top-three seeds in six events, and Zeeland West is another team with scoring opportunities in a variety of events.  

Trey Gardette, Ann Arbor Huron: The senior sprint star has taken amazing strides over the last two years and may be on the verge of an unforgettable finish to his high school career. Gardette’s top-seed 10.5 in the 100 is a blink faster than the LPD1 Finals record of 10.53, and he’s second-seeded in the 200 and also will run on the 400 relay.

Riley Hough, Hartland: The I-96 corridor has been the center of distance running this school year, and Hough hopes to follow his Division 1 cross country championship in the fall with titles in the 1,600 and 3,200. He’s seeded first in the former with a 4:13.93.

Hobbs Kessler, Ann Arbor Skyline: He’s slated to run the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 and on the top-seeded 3,200 relay (7:53.30) Saturday. He won all three of those open races at his Regional, and so while he isn’t top-seeded in any that likely means little as he could drop major time.

Tamaal Myers II, Detroit Cass Tech: The Technicians standout junior has the top 110 hurdles seed time (14.06) by nearly a second and is tied for the top seed time in the 300 (39.32). He’ll also run the 400 and on the 1,600 relay.

Brandon Miller, Fenton: He finished fifth in the 200 as a sophomore in 2019, but he can take a massive leap Saturday as his top seed time in that race (21.25) is five hundredths of a second off the meet record. He’s also the second seed in the 100 with a seed time of 10.60 that is seven hundredths of a second off that meet record. And he’ll also run on contending 400 and 800 relays.

Division 2 at Zeeland

Top Regional scores: Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 216½, Dearborn Divine Child 186, Frankenmuth 164.

Team forecast: Four teams have won this championship over the last four seasons. Flint Powers Catholic is a possibility to make it five as it runs for its first team title led by sprint standouts and relays. Frankenmuth with top qualifiers in the sprints, relays and field events is another to watch in what lines up to be a low-scoring team race. A total of 10 schools won championships in this division over the previous 11 seasons before 2020 was canceled.

Ryan Brenner, Frankenmuth: The senior Eagles hurdler is the top seed in the 300 with a time of 40.1 and also will run on the top-seeded 1,600 relay (3:28.44) and high jump.

Jamal Hailey, Berrien Springs: The standout junior sprinter has the top seed time in the 100 (11.04) and the third-fastest in the 200, and he’ll also run on the second-seeded 400 relay.

Austin Hamlin, Flint Powers Catholic: The Chargers sophomore would play a major role in any team title pursuit, entering with the top seed in the 200 (22.5), third-fastest in the 100 and as part of the top-seeded 400 relay (43.3) and fourth-seeded 800 relay. That 400 relay time is a second off the meet record.

Alex Mansfield, Monroe Jefferson: The junior thrower is another who has made a major move over the last two years. He enters Saturday with the top seed in the shot put (56-3) by two feet and the top seed in the discus (163-11) by nearly 10.

Luke Stowasser, Edwardsburg: The junior Eddies jumper also is top-seeded in both of his events, with a 22-6½ in the long jump and 6-10 in the high jump. That high jump is six inches better than the field and two off the meet record. He was the high jump runner-up as a freshman.  

Division 3 at Jenison

Top Regional scores: Grass Lake 132, Caro 129, Pewamo-Westphalia 126 1/3.

Team forecast: Grass Lake will be pursuing its first team title since 1970 and has six top-four seeds leading the way. Figuring the next few contenders is difficult with points looking to be spread among a number of teams.

Brennan Bargesser, Grass Lake: A drive for the team championship would include significant points from Bargesser, who is seeded first in the 200 (21.98) and 400 (49.34) and second in the 100 for his final high school meet. He’ll also run on the top-seeded 400 relay (44.14) – that seed time is one second off the meet record.

Hunter Jones, Benzie Central: The sophomore standout has two Division 3 cross country championships to his credit and will make his Track Finals debut as the top seed in the 3,200 (9:37.42) and a likely contender in the 1,600 and 800 as well.

Josh Jones, Harrison: He’ll close his high school career running the 800, 1,600 and 3,200, with his 1,600 seed time (4:19.84) topping that event list.

Brenden Quackenbush, Chesaning: He’s set to establish himself in both throws at this level Saturday, with the top seed in the discus (143-0) by nearly two feet and the third seed in the shot put.

Derrick Voltz, Carrollton: A qualifier in the 100 as a freshman in 2019, he could cap his junior season as a two-event champion. He’s seeded first in the long jump (23-2) by nearly a foot with that leap only five inches off the meet record. He’s also the top seed in the 100 (11.11) just ahead of Bargesser.

Division 4 at Hudsonville

Top Regional scores: Lutheran Westland 171, Reading 170, Carson City-Crystal 147.

Team forecast: Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Prep was the back-to-back champion before COVID, and Saugatuck was the Division 3 runner-up in 2019 but is back in Division 4. Saugatuck won’t run a relay this weekend but has favorites in the hurdles and distance events, and Breckenridge’s strengths in the sprints and relays should make it a team title contender as well as it seeks its first championship.

Coleman Clark, Carson City-Crystal: The lone returning champion in this division won the 3,200 as a sophomore in 2019 and will run that race along with the 800 and 1,600 and as part of the top-seeded 3,200 relay (8:19.40).

Benny Diaz, Saugatuck: The junior sprint/hurdles standout could make a run at four individual titles Saturday or next season. He’s the top seed in both hurdles races this time (15.01 in the 110 and 40.59 in the 300), and the fourth seed in the 200 and seventh in the 100. He was third in Division 3 in the 300 as a freshman.

Zane Forist, Carson City-Crystal: He was the runner-up in the discus and eighth in the shot put as a freshman two years ago, and he’s aiming for much more this time. His top-seed throws of 196-8 and 64-4, respectively, would both set LPD4 championship meet records – both by roughly six feet.

Nik Pettinga, Saugatuck: A top distance runner in cross country the last few seasons, he is looking to finish as a champion in his last high school meet and enters as the top seed in the 1,600 (4:26.99) and second seed (to junior teammate Max Sharnas) in the 3,200.

Charlie Steinhaus, Breckenridge: The speedy senior would help lead any charge for a team championship, entering as the top seed in the 100 (11.01) and second in the 200. He’ll also run on the top-seeded 400 relay (44.51) and second-seeded 800 relay.

PHOTO: Carrollton’s Derrick Voltz, right, breaks across the finish line during the 100-meter preliminaries at his Division 3 Regional at Shepherd last month. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)

Breslin Bound: 2022-23 Boys Report Week 9

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

February 6, 2023

We are down to the final four weeks of this MHSAA boys basketball season – and while the entertaining part is detailed below in our regular Monday report, there’s some major data crunching underway behind the scenes as well.

MI Student Aid

Seeding the top two teams in every District requires thousands of data points – and a season-long process of collecting them all. More than 720 varsity teams are playing this winter, and we’re in the midst of a process of checking their schedules one by one – about a 24-hour task by itself to make sure all scheduled games are showing, league standings are set up correctly, etc.

Additionally, daily we’re sorting through disputed scores, changes to schedules because of weather or teams that have discontinued their seasons, and other adjustments. But we’re always striving for perfection – and when Districts are drawn and those top teams seeded Feb. 26, we hope to have every schedule up to date and every score filled in.

“Breslin Bound” is powered by MI Student Aid and based on results and schedules posted for each school at MHSAA.com.

Week in Review

The countdown of last week’s five most intriguing results:

1. North Farmington 68, Muskegon 55 These two have lived at or near the top of Division 1 MPR all season, making this win by the Raiders (12-1) at the 2K23 Showcase at Aquinas College arguably their best, especially considering it also was the first loss for the Big Reds (13-1). 

2. Saline 57, Ann Arbor Huron 47 The Hornets (11-4) saw an eight-game winning streak end three days later, but in this one handed Huron (13-1) its lone defeat of the season. 

3. Ann Arbor Huron 67, Benton Harbor 55 The River Rats, meanwhile, rebounded immediately with a 13-point win over Dexter and then a 67-55 victory over Benton Harbor (13-3) at Aquinas. 

4. Warren Lincoln 52, Grand Rapids Northview 37 The Abes (12-3) just keep impressing, this time with a big win over a Northview team matching their 12-3 record, also during the 2K23 Showcase. 

5. Iron Mountain 64, Powers North Central 58 This matched arguably the best in the Upper Peninsula in Divisions 3 and 4, respectively, with the Mountaineers moving to 13-1 and the Jets to 11-2.

A Montabella player gets to the basket during his team's 43-28 win last week over Carson City-Crystal.

Watch List

With an eye toward March, here are two teams in each division making sparks:

DIVISION 1

Detroit U-D Jesuit (14-2) The Cubs have won outright or shared the last two Detroit Catholic League Central championships, and they’re hoping to run that streak to three by winning Friday’s rematch with first-place Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (14-1). A 68-53 defeat to the Warriors on Jan. 24 and a 67-64 loss to Orchard Lake St. Mary’s on Jan. 6 have left Jesuit a game back, but the Cubs do have a sweep of reigning Division 1 champion Warren De La Salle Collegiate plus early impressive nonleague wins over Clarkston and Ferndale.

Kalamazoo Central (13-2) After just missing the Division 1 Semifinals a year ago – losing to Northview by two in a Quarterfinal – the Maroon Giants are ahead of their 16-win pace from that finish with their only losses to Brother Rice and Battle Creek Lakeview (11-3), the latter by a point. They also defeated Lakeview in the teams’ first meeting, handed Mattawan its only loss and most recently defeated Detroit Renaissance at the 2K23 event. 

DIVISION 2

Ferndale (7-6) Few if any have played a tougher schedule, especially considering Ferndale is Division 2 playing most of the Division 1 powers. The Eagles are No. 5 in Division 2 MPR despite a 1-5 start including losses to Brother Rice, Jesuit, St. Mary’s and Muskegon, and then a two-point loss to North Farmington last week. Meanwhile, Ferndale has defeated Grosse Pointe South (13-3), Flint Beecher (12-3), Clarkston (11-5) and River Rouge (10-5). The North Farmington rematch is Feb. 24, and a Feb. 11 matchup with Port Huron Northern should also boost MPR.

Grand Rapids Christian (10-4) The Eagles may be in fourth in the Ottawa-Kent Conference White, but they are No. 6 in Division 2 MPR. Three of the four losses were to league opponents, but Christian is coming off a 55-53 double-overtime win over Warren Michigan Collegiate (13-2) on Saturday at Aquinas. An early win over Grand Rapids Catholic Central and a Jan. 21 victory over De La Salle also stand out.

DIVISION 3

Flint Beecher (12-3) The Bucs are off to another big start after last season’s finish at the Division 3 Semifinals, losing only to Detroit Cass Tech (17-0), Benton Harbor and Ferndale as Beecher also has loaded up its nonleague schedule. Beecher also has four wins over teams with double-digit victories, with an 80-71 defeat of Flint Hamady (14-2) on Jan. 10 putting the Bucs in first in the Genesee Area Conference Red. The Hamady rematch is Feb. 18, before a major regular-season finish against Goodrich (13-1) and Grand Blanc (14-2).

Napoleon (14-0) The Pirates aren’t sneaking up on anyone after going 19-3 last season, but they are dominating nonetheless. All but one win have been by eight points or more, and Napoleon leads the Cascades Conference after finishing second last year with a pair of losses to Vandercook Lake. The Pirates not only defeated Vandercook in their first meeting, by 40, but next defeated Michigan Center by 17 after the Cardinals ended their season last winter. Napoleon also has a 63-45 win over Big 8 Conference co-leader Concord.

DIVISION 4

Baldwin (13-1) The Panthers are coming off an 18-5 finish and second place in the West Michigan D League, and they lead it this time by two games and with a win over Mesick after losing both meetings to the eventual league champ a year ago. Baldwin also has avenged a 2021-22 loss to Mason County Eastern and could avenge another hosting Traverse City Christian on Tuesday. The Panthers also have given Marion (11-4) half its losses.

Powers North Central (11-2) As noted above, the Jets are at least among the handful of elite small-school Upper Peninsula teams, No. 4 in statewide Division 4 MPR although second in D4 in the U.P. with Painesdale Jeffers in the top spot. Those two wouldn’t see each other until a Regional Final, where North Central’s 19-5 run ended last season. The Jets only defeats this time are to Division 2 Kingsford and Division 3 Iron Mountain, which stand a combined 25-3.

Can’t-Miss Contests

Be on the lookout for results of these games coming up: 

Tuesday – Goodrich (13-1) at Corunna (12-2) – They’re tied atop the Flint Metro League Stars with Goodrich winning the first meeting 69-54 on Jan. 10.

Friday – Detroit U-D Jesuit (14-2) at Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (14-1) – As noted above, the Detroit Catholic League Central title will be on the line, as Jesuit can force a shared championship.

Saturday – Hamtramck (10-5) vs. Kalamazoo Central (13-2) at Benton Harbor – The Cosmos have faced their share of statewide elite as well, and will be seeking what would be one of their most notable wins in this Wilson Chandler Shootout matchup.

Saturday – Flint Hamady (14-2) at Davison (10-5) – Old rivals meet again as Davison is coached by longtime Beecher leader Mike Williams.

Saturday – Saginaw Arthur Hill (7-9) at Saginaw (14-4) – They’ll still have 2023-24 left before one the best rivalries in state history ends with a school merger, but this year’s rematch comes after Saginaw won 57-55 on Jan. 14.

MHSAA.com's weekly “Breslin Bound” previews and reviews are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at www.michigan.gov/mistudentaid and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

PHOTOS (Top) A Saginaw player gets to the rim during Friday's 59-54 loss to Mount Pleasant. (Middle) A Montabella player goes to the basket during his team's 43-28 win last week over Carson City-Crystal.(Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)