The Red Hawk boys track team wasn’t able to hold off their opponents last Saturday at the coaches association’s team state finals at Jenison High School. The Hawks finished fifth out of fifteen schools behind champion Vicksburg, runner-up Williamston, Adrian, and Zeeland West. The team state finals allow each team to enter three individuals per event, plus one relay team per race. Each athlete scores as long as they finish their race or have a measurable throw, jump or vault. In many events, there were up to 45 athletes.
“We stated all week that if we could repeat our personal bests in our events we would be battling for the top two spots. As a team, we just didn’t have our best day,” said Coach Jeff Myers. “Individually, there were some great performances, but this is not an individual meet. Everyone helps the team out today. There were a lot of athletes competing. Our fourteen opponents, plus the Division 1 team finals combined for seven heats of the sprints and two heats in the distance races. It was an experience that they will remember for a long time. They still should be proud of their accomplishments as this is the fifth team in school history to make it to the team state finals,” he added.
Leading the way for the Red Hawks for the day were; Justin Balczak, who won the 110m and 300m hurdles; James Putnam, who was second and established a new school record in the 100m dash (10.7), and also placed third in the 200m dash; AJ Olszewski was second in the pole vault; Conner Mora placed fifth in the 1600m run and fourth in the 3200m run; the 800m relay team of Ron Fisk, Alex Hemry, Balczak, and Putnam was fifth; the 400m relay of Matt Dines, Casey VanEss, Hemry, and Putnam was sixth; and Hank Porter was eighth in the long jump. Others establishing personal bests were Ron Fisk in the 200m dash, Aaron Leal in the high jump, the 400m relay team, and Balczak and Aaron Dault in the 300m hurdles.
“We were excited to compete against the D1 schools today. Running against East Kentwood, one of the strongest programs in the country was thrilling,” stated Myers.