Monday, June 22, 2009

List mysteries - boys

Every year around this time, I go through the Michtrack lists with a fine-toothed comb and try to make sure I have grades for every athlete. I just finished with the boys. Here's who I am missing. Can anyone help fill in the blanks?

D’Angelo Stevenson (Kal Central) - SOLVED - Jr - Thanks, Dan
Derrick Neal (Detroit Cooley) - sprints
Ricco Hall (Wyoming Park) - sprints
Scott Hoffman (Detroit Catholic Central) - 800
Jack Friedel (RH Lutheran Northwest) - hurdles
Ryan McElyea (Flint Carman-Ainsworth) - hurdles
Dave Brown (Northville) - HJ
Marcus Harrell (Jackson)-- SOLVED - Mario, soph--thanks Goz
Casey O’Brien (Auburn Hills Avondale) - LJ

Girls to come in a few days...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Watch out for bad words!!!

Whatever. I keep trying to chime in on an MLive discussion of the coaching at Temperance Bedford High School (where I think they're doing a great job, by the way). But MLive keeps rejecting my post as containing offensive language. I sure wish I knew what the bad word is, so I can avoid saying it in church...

It's hard to argue with the success that the Bedford boys have had. Here's more on their coach and his (impressive) credentials:

Also, any longtime observer can attest to the fact that how fast a coach was in his running life has hardly anything to do with how well he/she coaches. Sure, fast PRs can impress teenage boys, but most of the great coaches come from the middle or the back of the pack. The view is better there :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saturday: Goethals 2nd in mile - state record for Hill

Highlights from Saturday...
Sitting at 65-3.5 after five rounds of the shot, Zack Hill knew he needed a big one. He gave it all he had, and the Allendale grad ended up with a state record 67-1.25 that placed him 5th in one of the toughest shot put fields ever assembled in U.S. history.

Megan Goethals got her second runner-up performance of the meet with her 4:51.33 performance in the mile. That converts to 4:49.65 for 1600m. She lost by over 10 seconds to the stunning performance of Texas junior Chelsey Sveinsson (4:40.24).



Only a sophomore still, Nick Kaiser of Temperance Bedford ran 1:50.47 in the third heat of the 800, beating all but one time in the final (fast) heat. He shattered his own soph state record by over 1.3 seconds. Meanwhile, Tommy Brinn placed 5th in the fast heat at 1:51.81.



The girls 800 also didn't match what many had predicted. Becca Addison of Grand Haven was unable to match her runner-up performance from last year, finishing 5th in 2:08.23.


Kendall Baisden was the youngest girl (by two years) to make the elite 200m final, and she performed admirably by blasting 24.06 (wind-legal -0.6). That makes her =6 on the all-time Michigan list. It also breaks the 8th-grade state record of 24.95 held by Dynasty McGee, and is more than a second faster than any other girl in the state has run this season. Earlier Baisden had zipped a wind-aided 23.76 in the heats. On a combined legal/windy list, that's the 8th-fastest 200 in state history. Only Shayla Mahan has run faster.



Running in the fast heat of the mile, Mike Atchoo placed 5th in 4:11.63 (converts to 4:10.18). Steven Walker placed 8th in 4:17.74.


Mumford's Aisha Osborne, injured at the state finals, showed a return to form with a near-PR 55.55 to place 14th overall in the 400m.

Kari Prena placed 13th in the discus at 128-11. Kelsey was 17th at 126-7.

Michigan Center junior Michael Parker placed 9th in the 400 hurdles at 55.06.

Runnin' Gear (Mott) placed 8th in the DMR at 12:04.22, the No. 8 time in Michigan history.

Final Boss (Monroe) places 9th in the 4 mile relay, clocking a list-leading 18:06.91. KP Athletics (East Kentwood) clocked 1:32.34 in the 800 medley, the No. 3 time in state history. That placed them 7th in the nation.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday: state record for Goethals!

The highlight of Friday's action in Greensboro, so far, was the second-place finish and state record in the two mile by Rochester junior Megan Goethals: 10:20.25. For 3200m, that converts to a 10:16.66. It betters the old record set by Jenny Morgan of Clarkston on the same track four years ago, 10:24.23. On the way, Goethals narrowly missed another state record. In 4th place at 3000m, she timed 9:43.82, No. 3 in state history. The record is 9:41.6 by Sharon Van Tuyl in 1997. Goethals' FAT splits: 1:18.92, 1:19.86 [2:38.77], 1:17.21 [3:55.98], 1:18.40 [5:14.38], 1:20.19 [6:34.57], 1:19.24 [7:53.80], 1:17.90 [9:11.70], 1:08.56. (5:14.38/5:06.87). [Note-these are correct FAT splits for 440y--amazing job by Tom Jennings and his timing crew!]

Running in the first (slower) section of the 2M, Alex Leptich clocked 10:55.26 (2nd), and Michelle Morriset (11:04.61). Official 2M results
First section video (Leptich/Morriset):

Bridgette Owens-Mitchell surprised many non-Michiganders with her runner-up finish as well. The Southfield junior clocked a PR 13.87 in the 100 hurdles into a 1.1 headwind. Official 100H results

The East Kentwood relays had mixed fortunes. Their 4x8 ran 7:59.88 to place 3rd in the "emerging elite" section. Then they blasted 1:27.80 in the 4x2 to capture 5th and All-America honors. However, in the heats of the 4x1, a troubled hand-off left them at 42.75 and they failed to qualify for the finals.

Motor City/Mumford ran 42.26 to miss the finals by only 0.15. However, in the 1600 sprint medley, Mumford clocked a list-leading 3:29.78 to place 8th. It's the sixth-fastest time in state history, and the first five were all run by Mumford!

Eighth-grader Kendall Baisden of Bloomfield St Regis clocked 11.93 into a 1.6 headwind to win the emerging elite 100m, after a 11.89 heat. That 11.89 leads the state high school lists for the year (yes, we include middle schoolers, if they're fast enough).
VIDEO: Baisden's 100 win.

A foursome from Waterford Mott (Runnin' Gear) clocked 9:10.03 in the girls' 4x8 to improve on their own-list-leading time. They finished 9th in the fast heat. Brighton, running in the slow heat, clocked 9:29.84, also in 9th. In the boys 4x8, Motor City placed 9th in 7:55.07, and Final Boss (Monroe) placed 9th in the slow heat at 7:59.54.

In the discus, Andrew Evans of Portage Northern placed 6th (All-American) with his 181-2. Zack Hill threw 165-2 for 10th, after his favorite disc was not allowed by officials.

Rockford's Rachel Herald cleared a season-best 5-4.5 in high jump qualifying. Teammate Sarah Birkmeier tied for 10th in the vault at 11-5.25.

Anzelone breaks soph record for 5000

Gabrielle Anzelone of Grand Blanc placed 4th in the nation last night in the 5000 at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her time of 17:27.00 broke the state sophomore record of 17:28.69 set by Portage Northern's Sharon Van Tuyl at the USA Junior Championships in 1996. Anzelone's mark also makes her the No. 4 5000m runner in state history.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bigger than Nike? Ice Cream Mile finally gets coverage

Finally, Pinckney's Ice Cream Mile gets the elite news coverage it has long deserved. Click here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nike Outdoor Championships--the big show

In Greensboro, North Carolina, this weekend, some of the best of our Michigan athletes will be competing against the best in the nation. You've probably heard of the Nike Outdoor Nationals (NON), but if you're new to the scene you might not know why they're such a big deal. When the best athletes from Michigan meet the best from the other 49 states, something magical happens. Take a look at our current list of state records: 17 of them (!) were set at Nike (the meet had different names in past years: adidas, FootLocker, etc).

Athlete of the Year honors are up for grabs. While MITCA names its own Mr. and Ms. Track (seniors only, heavily based on state meet performances), I name the Athlete of the Year awards after the NON meet. The athletes (one male, one female) can be from any class, and any event. I value quality over quantity, meaning that a 13-foot female vaulter who is restricted to one event has as good a chance as a sprinter/long jumper/hurdler who wins 14 different events at State. What else do I look for? Dominance--self-explanatory. History--does the athlete stack up well against past stars in the event (records, all-time list)? And also, National Impact--an athlete who wins nationals has a much bigger impact than someone who stays home.

Back to NON. Another plus--the meet is announced by our own David Mitchell. Yet another great aspect of the meet is that while none of our Michigan kids wear school uniforms or otherwise represent their schools there, organizers require that relay teams must be made up of four athletes from the same school. No all-star teams, so we're seeing legitimate relay competition that matters. I know some people love the Junior Olympic-style all-star relays of the summer months, but I still maintain that's all about recruiting, and has little to do with coaching or team dynamics.

So who might we see in Greensboro this year? Organizers have sent me a listing that is "99% complete." (I'm frustrated that they send it out in a format that makes it impossible to search by state. Grrr. I needed something to grumble about today.) Mind you, this is not a complete listing--just the highlights. It does not include entrants in the "emerging elite" races.

200-Todd Atchinson
800-Tommy Brinn, Nick Kaiser, Brendan Lagios
Mile-Mike Atchoo, Stephen Walker
5000-Christian Birky
400H-Michael Parker
LJ-Ryan Hopson
SP-Andrew Evans, Zack Hill
DT-Evans, Hill
4x1-KP Athletics (East Kentwood)
4x2-Albion, KP
4x8-Final Boss (Monroe), Motor City (Mumford)
4x1M-Final Boss
DMR-Final Boss

200-Kendall Baisden
400-Aisha Osborne
800-Becca Addison
Mile-Courtney Calka, Megan Goethals, Michelle Moriset
2M-Goethals, Alex Leptich, Moriset
5000-Gabrielle Anzelone
100H-Bridgette Owens-Mitchell
HJ-Rachel Herald
PV-Sarah Birkmeier
DT- Kari & Kelsey Prena
4x4-Motor City (Mumford)
4x8-Brighton, Runnin' Gear (Mott)
DMR-Runnin' Gear

Good luck to all!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Non-track: tune into Iran

Go here.

It's rare for me to go off the subject of track, but in this case the stakes are high and the reporting you are getting on TV is unbelievably incomplete. On this one, don't trust CNN, and, for God's sake, don't even think of trusting Fox News. We are seeing history happening in Iran. The question that hangs in the balance is whether the millions of protesters will be beaten down by a previously elected government that, just like Germany's Nazis, has subverted the democratic process in order to stay in power, and hasn't hesitated at turning itself into a fascist state. How this all turns out will affect the entire Middle East, as well as American foreign policy. Yes, these Islamic protesters need your prayers. Check out the Daily Dish for the most complete coverage I've found.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Owens-Mitchell and more tonight

Bridgette Owens-Mitchell, the Southfield junior who won the D1 hurdle title two weeks ago, just won the 100 hurdles at the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational in Puerto Rico today. Her time of 13.95 leads the state lists (0.2 wind-legal).

Nick Kaiser broke his own sophomore state record in the 800 at the Midwest Distance Gala in the Chicago suburb of Lisle. The Temperance Bedford junior-to-be ran 1:51.83 to take three-tenths off the mark he set in winning the D1 title. Mike Atchoo placed 17th in the mile at 4:18.80, imploding after going through the 800 in 2:00.32.

Record day at the Midwest Meet

Jackson's four-year run of hosting the Midwest Meet of Champions has come to an end, but a pair of record performances by some of Michigan's best helped the meet go out with a bang.

In the 800m, Tommy Brinn blasted a 1:49.27, taking down Rick Gledhill's state record of 1:49.33 from the 1988 season. Gledhill, from Mt Clemens Chippewa Valley, ran his time at the now-defunct International Prep Invitational in Elmhurst, Illinois--a meet that once was as important as the Nike Outdoor Championships are today. Brinn's splits: 26.6, 27.8 [54.4], 27.5 [1:22.1], 27.2. He split his last 200 in 13.4/13.8.

In the 300 hurdles, Christienne Linton came through despite ostensibly being tired from winning the long jump at 18-6.5 and the 100H in 14.42 (slight headwind). She won handily in 42.49, an all-time state record that trumps the old best of 42.70 set by Nikki Bouyer of East Lansing at the Midwest Meet in 1994.

More details on the meet will be found in my news report, which I am updating at this moment. Click here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Records lost, respect won

It's always sad to "take away" a record. In reality, though, the decertification of a record is not about taking away, but about considering new evidence and realizing the record shouldn't have been called a record at all. It happens from time to time in this sport. What makes it sad is that the athletes who celebrated are perceived to have been kicked in the teeth, or "hated on" as we hear all too often.

But true athletes strive for records in the knowledge that a record represents the ultimate. A record represents value and hard work and respect. And no true athlete wants a cheap, phony, or suspicious record. For our records to carry real value, they must be beyond reproach. No one wants whispers that they didn't run far enough, that the wind was blowing too hard, that the field sloped downhill, that the timers were sloppy, etc. It is the most important responsibility of meet management to ensure that the competition is fair and the resulting marks are reliable to the best of our ability. That means that for our most prestigious competitions, the facilities must be top-notch, the timing must be fully-automatic, and the wind gauges must be used in accordance with the rules.

And occasionally, when meet management slips up and those requirements aren't met, something is declared a record despite the fact that it doesn't measure up. Those are the breaks... "When in doubt, throw it out." That's because a record that's not quite right robs three groups: past record holders, who have had their achievements unfairly erased; future record challengers, for whom the bar has been wrongly placed too high; and the supposed current record breakers themselves, who may spend the rest of their careers trying to live up to the expectations of a bogus performance.

Two current cases are on my desk. Both are unfortunate, but both are also tribute to the honesty of our meet officials and the classiness of the athletes involved:

At Grand Rapids West Catholic High School, Zack Hill threw what was called a state record 67-11.25 in the shot put at his regional meet. However, some of the attendees noted what appeared to be a sloping landing area. The rule, incidentally, is that the landing area in the throws is allowed to slope by no more than a 1:1000 ratio. That's 0.1 percent. The officials at West Catholic brought in a professional surveyor afterward and found that the field slopes by a bit more than one percent. Doesn't sound like much, but it's 10 times the allowable. The state record reverts to Hill's earlier 67-0.5. Are there other fields in the state with illegal slopes? I'm sure there are, but no one has the time and the money to check them all out. In the meantime, we rely on the honesty of people like those at West Catholic.

The reaction of Zack and his family was refreshing. Said his mom when she was informed, "That is a bummer! Although understandable... We will pray that he throws big next weekend and then this will all be irrelevant." She passed on to us an exchange she had with his coaches, in which one of them added, "Zack is a great kid. This is no big deal, and it changes nothing. God has a plan for even this. Perhaps he will use it to give Zack a sense of perspective that records are made to be broken, and lost, no one should live for records. Really, there ought to be a record for most humble, and mature thrower with a positive attitude and a servant heart."

Here's hoping that Zack pops the big one in Jackson on Saturday!

The second unfortunate record situation happened in the D1 Finals at East Kentwood. The two-lap stagger in lane five appeared to some knowledgeable officials to be in the wrong place. That's the mark from which an East Kentwood boys foursome demolished the 24-year-old state record in the 4 x 100 with their amazing 41.47. The MHSAA had some remeasurements done by the meet director and found that lane to apparently be 38-inches short. A minuscule difference. My math shows it to be a tenth of a second, meaning their "actual" 41.57 still would have slammed the old record by two-tenths. But it didn't. Whether it's a inch short or 38 inches, it still can't be a record, even converted (though the converted version will appear on the Michtrack all-time lists).

You might think the East Kentwood athletes took this pretty badly. Sure, it was a hard pill to swallow, but coach Dave Emeott made it clear that his guys will accept the verdict. And in truth, we might not yet know the eventual verdict. The firm that originally certified the track reportedly maintains that the track is correct, however, they will be unable to confirm that for some time. Their chief guy is undergoing open heart surgery, and can't revisit EK until he recovers. However, the East Kentwood sprinters aren't sitting around feeling sorry for themselves and waiting for vindication. They're reportedly making plans to race at the Nike Outdoor Championships to prove to the world that they're fast. "Yeah, they can run faster," says Emeott.

It's often been said that records are made to be broken. Maybe so, but records have a higher purpose. They are meant to be honest and true and to motivate our athletes to become the best people they can be, whether they break them or not. Zack Hill and the East Kentwood sprinters are shining examples of the kind of success we truly want for our young people.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

D3 Wind Readings

For the record, here are the wind readings from the track events at D3, courtesy of Blake Hagman. We haven't yet gotten them from D2 and D4, but we're hoping.
(anything over 2.0 is wind-aided)
G100 0.4, 0.0, 0.0, 0.0
B100 0.0, 0.0, 0.6, 0.4
G200 0.0, 0.1, 0.6
B200 0.0, 0.9, 1.0
G100H 2.1, 0.0, 0.0
B110H 0.9, 0.0, 0.1

G100 1.4, -0.7
B100 -0.5, -0.7
G200 -0.1, 0.0
B200 -0.1, 0.0
G100H 0.4, 0.0
B110H -0.1, 0.0

G100 1.2
B100 0.7
G200 1.6
B200 0.4
G100H 1.2
B110H 1.2

Monday, June 1, 2009

D1 Girls Photo Report

Sorry for the delay. The girls report is ready, and I hope you find it worth the wait. Please let me know if you spot any errors, no matter how small. Several people found problems in the boys results that I fixed. Some of them were problems with the MHSAA's version of the results, and I've passed those on to the authorities. But I want my version to be as perfect as possible--it will end up in the Michtrack Yearbook, and that will end up on for many years. In practical terms, it will be the historical record.

Click here for complete D1 girls coverage.