Friday, October 30, 2009

Raffin Reports: EGR flourishing under Hopkins

Sometimes I wonder which is more important to the development and growth of a successful cross country or track program. Many successful programs have both great schools and famous coaches: Flint Northern and Norbert Badar, Flint Beecher and Martin Crane, Ann Arbor Pioneer and Don Sleeman and Bryan Westfield, Detroit Mumford and Bob Lynch.

Now would Badar have won all those state championships at Flint Northwestern? Could Crane win thirteen state track titles at Flint Hamady? Sleeman and Westfield at Ann Arbor Skyline? Or Lynch at Detroit Henry Ford?

The questions might be unanswerable, but those great schools and coaches came together and produced some memorable cross country and track teams.

Now emerging from a great school is a young coach making strong strides toward history: East Grand Rapids’ Nicholas Hopkins. A newer, younger coach is building another dynasty at another school.

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Raffin Reports: Atchoo looking unbeatable

If Michael Atchoo of Troy High School isn’t the best Division I male cross country runner or the best runner in any division this year, then there really is “something wrong in the state of Denmark.”

Okay, I know there are a core of good “K” runners: Kamyszek of Kenowa Hills, last year’s Division II champion and now a Division I contender; Karr, Kern, and Kern from powerful Pioneer; and Kaiser of Temperance-Bedford, all probable top five runners.

But Atchoo is unbeaten and unbeatable.

And as the Troy star told me, “Yea, I know I’m unbeaten so far this season, but I always knock on wood.”

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