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Categorized | Sports

Back to back champions

The Cedar Springs Boys Varsity track team captured the 2011 OK Blue Conference championship last Thursday and Friday nights by winning 10 of the 17 events and outpacing the field with 162 points. Entering the season, expectations were sky high for this team and to date has lived up to them and then some.

Hank Porter-Conference CHamp Long Jump.

Hank Porter-Conference CHamp Long Jump.

“These kids performed awesome the last two nights. What a special group,” Cedar Springs coach Jeff Myers said. “We had kids hit personal-best efforts in a lot of events. Plus, we picked up additional points from some of our second and third kids in events. It was fun to watch them perform the way they did. They remained calm and collected throughout the meet, even when faced with adversity.” The meet was stopped due to weather delays on each night.

The team was led by all-conference athletes Justin Balczak (who won the shot put, 110H, 300H), Alex Hemry (winner of the 100m, 200m, 400 relay), Connor Mora (won the 1600m, 3200m), Hank Porter(two wins in the long jump, 400 relay), AJ Olszewski (first in the pole vault), Ryan Austin and James Putnam (helped with the 400 relay), and Aaron Dault (accumulated points from finishing 2nd in long jump, 3rd in 110H, 6th in 300H, 3rd in 1600 relay).

Justin Balczak-Conference Champ Shot. Photo by Mark Balczak.

Justin Balczak-Conference Champ Shot. Photo by Mark Balczak.

Conference championships cannot be won without those who may not win but place to add to the point total. Those key contributors were Dan Sagorski (2nd discus), Derek Ash (5th discus), Nate Jones (4th high jump), Aaron Leal (6th high jump), Jake Rickner (5th long jump), Ron Fisk (6th 400m, 2nd 800m relay, 3rd 3200m and 1600m relays), and Aaron Brooks(6th 3200m). The relay teams were solid scorers as the 3200 relay of Mora, Ron Fisk, Alex Bray, and Ethan Menefee finished 3rd, the 800 relay of Fisk, Austin, Putnam, Hemry were 2nd, and the 1600 relay of Fisk, Dault, Porter, and Balczak placed 3rd.

Conner Mora leading and just behind him, Justin Harthorn, distance running. Photo taken by Julie Weiler.

Conner Mora leading and just behind him, Justin Harthorn, distance running. Photo taken by Julie Weiler.

“There were a lot of boys who set personal records these past two days. These are the meets that we expect athletes to perform at their best, and they did.  Plus, we had another school record fall. Balczak lowered the 110m hurdle record to 14.64.  Without doubt, this was a total team effort,” added Coach.

As mentioned, this teams lofty goals and expectations continue tomorrow as they participate in regional meet at Houseman Field in Grand Rapids. Entering as one of the favorites along with reigning state champion Byron Center, Grand Rapids Catholic Central, Grand Rapids Christian and Forest Hills Northern, the competition will be stout with individual and team state meet qualifications on the line.  Field events begin at 1:45; preliminary races begin at 2:00, while the running finals begin at 5:00.

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