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Tag Archive | "Cedar Springs Boys Track"

Track Team finishes fifth in State


James Putnam set a new school record in 100m dash.

James Putnam set a new school record in 100m dash.

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.

Justin Balczak jumping hurdles

Justin Balczak jumping hurdles

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.

AJ Olszweski in the pole vault.

AJ Olszweski in the pole vault.

“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.

This is the last week for the Hawks, as eleven individuals will travel to Zeeland on Saturday to compete at the MHSAA state finals.

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Boys track advances to state finals


The Red Hawk boys track team came up 13 points short last weekend to Zeeland West in their quest for their first regional title since 2004.  Yet, they qualified for the state coaches association’s team state finals Memorial Day weekend, and also advanced 11 individuals onto the MHSAA state finals on June 5.

“We competed hard tonight,” said Coach Jeff Myers. “As in all big meets, some things went as expected, some events were surprising, and in a few, things just didn’t go our way.”

But that doesn’t dampen the team’s enthusiasm. “We still have goals to achieve. We will be the underdogs at the team state meet, and the boys that advanced onto the individual state finals would all like to come home with a medal. Zeeland West is a very good team.  We knew that we had our work cut out for us tonight,” added Myers.

Next weekend, the Hawks will take on other regional winners and runners-up at Jenison High School. They will be allowed to enter three individuals per event, including one relay team. “The best part about this meet is that we get to match our team depth along with the other regional champions and runners-up.  It really gives us a more accurate measure of our team,” quoted Coach.

The eleven athletes who advanced onto the MHSAA state finals include pole vaulter AJ Olszewski, who will be making his second appearance; the 3200m relay team of senior captains Achrim Tillbrooke and Austin Mora, along with freshmen Conner Mora and Alex Bray; junior hurdler and captain Justin Balczak will be making his second straight appearance in the 110m and 300m hurdles; junior sprinter and captain James Putnam, who qualified in the 100m and 200m dash, along with the 400m relay; the remaining relay team includes junior Ryan Austin, sophomore Casey VanEss, and junior Alex Hemry; Conner Mora will also represent the team in the 1600m and 3200m runs; and the 1600m relay team of junior Ron Fisk, Austin Mora, Tillbrooke, and Balczak.

“This is the largest group that we have sent to the state finals since 2004,” noted Coach Myers. “There were a lot of happy faces and smiles when they found out that they qualified.”

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Boys track and field OK Blue champions


The boys track and field team are the 2010 OK Blue champions!  Last Thursday and Friday, at Sparta High School, the boys redeemed themselves from last year’s conference loss to beat second place West Catholic by 39 points. This is their first league title since 2004.  In the process of winning the championship, the Hawks had nine first places, while eight athletes earned their way onto the all-conference team.

Junior Justin Balczak placed 1st in the110 and 300 hurdles, and was named All Conference.

Junior Justin Balczak placed 1st in the110 and 300 hurdles, and was named All Conference.

Junior James Putnam took 1st place in the 100m and 200m runs, and was selected=

Junior James Putnam took 1st place in the 100m and 200m runs, and was selected to All Conference.

The meet began as expected for the Red Hawks on Thursday evening as sophomore Hank Porter won the long jump at 20’ 7.5”, while freshman Kyle Szirovecz finished sixth.  Discus throwers Andrew Klompstra and Derek Ash gave the team a boost with fifth and sixth place finishes. The evening concluded with the 3200m relay team of Austin Mora, Alex Bray, Conner Mora, and Achrim Tillbrooke winning the race in a season best 8:13.79. The Hawks left the first evening’s event in fourth place, but only twelve points behind surprise leader, Comstock Park. “We knew where we should have been after the first evening,” commented heach coach Myers. “Comstock Park surprised us a bit.  But, we earned the points where we expected to. Also, we got a little more from the discus and long jump events,” he added.

Freshman Alex Bray all conference

Freshman Alex Bray all conference

Friday evening began as planed as the Hawks started off with a school record setting win in the 110m hurdles by junior Justin Balczak. His new school record time is 14.71.  Freshman Aaron Dault also helped the team by placing fourth. In the 100m dash, the Hawks gained their ground on Comstock Park and climbed on top with a first place finish by James Putnam, and fourth and fifth place finishes by juniors Alex Hemry and Ryan Austin. Then the 800m relay team of Ron Fisk, Hemry, Balczak, and Putnam finished second. Following the relay, freshman Conner Mora continued to wow the league in the 1600m run by winning the event in 4:28.1. Next up was another second place finish in the 400m relay by Ryan Austin, Casey VanEss, Hemry and Putnam.  The Hawks were now up by 23 points over West Catholic.  After the 400m dash though, they were only up by nine. Balczak gave the team a bigger lead by winning the 300m hurdles in 39.93.  Following the hurdles, a very exciting race in the 800m run occurred. Senior Achrim Tillbrooke was second, while classmate Austin Mora finished sixth. James Putnam widened the gap between the Hawks and the Falcons as he won his second event of the evening in the 200m dash. Conner Mora went onto win his third event of the meet in the 3200m run. The last running event of the evening, the 1600m relay, came down to the boys placing second in a season best of 3:30.21. Finally, the last event, the pole vault, junior and school record holder AJ Olszewski earned his way onto the all-conference team by winning it with a vault of 13’ 4”.

The eight boys who earned all-conference honors were seniors Austin Mora and Achrim Tillbrooke; juniors Justin Balczak, AJ Olszewski, and James Putnam; sophomore Hank Porter; and freshmen Alex Bray and Conner Mora.

Track Achtrim Tillbrooke, Connor Mora, Austin Mora all conference.

Track Achtrim Tillbrooke, Connor Mora, Austin Mora all conference.

“What a group! These kids have put the success of the team ahead of their own personal goals,” explained coach Myers. “Their commitment to off season workouts, the weight room, playing other sports, and training is paying off. And they are coachable too. We don’t have athletes second guessing our strategies, personnel moves, or workouts. As coaches, that motivates us to work harder. This is an exciting time to be a part of our program,” he noted.  “Incredibly, we won nine events. That was 90 points right there.  Then, we also placed second in four events, for another 32 points. But, as we have continuously done this year, we have earned points deeper in the events with fourth, fifth and sixth place finishes. Those places are just as important as they take valuable points away from the opponents.”

Next up for the Hawks is the regional meet at Coopersville on Friday.  There, they will take on twelve teams in their quest for a regional title that they haven’t won since 2004.  The Red Hawks will be up against two tough teams in Zeeland West and Whitehall that also look to claim a title.

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Boys track goes undefeated in conference duals


For the second consecutive season, the Red Hawk boys track team completed the league dual season, undefeated, at 7-0. By beating Sparta 83-54 and Comstock Park 87-50, the Hawks will enter the conference meet seeded number one. The conference meet will make up the second half of the league season. The boys also finished with an overall record of 10-1.

AJ Olszewski

During the meet, a fourth school record was established this season as junior pole vaulter AJ Olszewski broke his own school record, set earlier in the season. His new mark of 14’ puts him in an elite group of area vaulters. “This kid has put in so much extra time to make him and his coaches better. Coach Fournier and I have had to work harder at the technical aspects of the vault and poles. We have learned so much more by doing extra things with AJ and our three other vaulters this past off season,” commented Coach Myers.

The Hawks began their quest for a perfect league record by winning three of the four relays. Besides winning the pole vault, they won both of the hurdle events, the high jump, and the 100 and 200m dashes, along with the three distance races. The boys placed seconds in the long jump and 400m dash.

James Putnum

“We would like to have seen better performances in the long jump, 800m relay, and the throws, but we realize that four events don’t make up an entire meet. We were not disappointed with the outcome at all, but we cannot relax,” noted Myers. “We have to realize that improving at this time of the season is the only way to advance on. This was the last meet that the entire team competed at. From here until June 5th, you can only continue competing if you meet qualifying standards. We have to be totally focused on doing every little thing we can to improve ourselves to help the team win a conference and regional title. There are a lot of boys who still have the bitter taste in their mouths from last year’s conference meet loss, and are beginning to understand the work ethic and attitude needed to move on,” he said.

A group of ninth and tenth graders will head to Lakeview for the Wildcat JV Invite on Monday, while the varsity group prepares for the conference finals on Thursday and Friday at Sparta High School.

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Boys track has busy week


The Red Hawk track and field team continued to stay on top of the OK Blue last week with a 96-41 win over the Forest Hills Northern Huskies. Their league record is now 5-0, while their overall is 8-1. The Hawks began the day by winning four of the five field events and finished the day by winning ten of the remaining twelve events.

 Hank Porter in the long jump

Hank Porter in the long jump

“Not a bad night. Statistically, many boys turned in their best performances of the season. This is exactly what we are looking for,” commented Coach Jeff Myers. “As a team, we need to continue to improve as we get closer to the conference and regional meet.”

Leading the Hawks with improved season performances were freshman hurdler Aaron Dault; junior pole vaulter Jake Rickner; sophomore thrower Derek Ash; junior throwers Joe Simon and Trevor Hemry; the 3200m relay team of brothers Conner and Austin Mora, Achrim Tillbrooke, and Alex Bray; freshman distance runner Ethan Menefee; and sophomore distance runner Aaron Brooks.

Ron Fisk handing off to Alex Hemry—part of the record breaking relay team.

Ron Fisk handing off to Alex Hemry—part of the record breaking relay team.

“We have to continue to focus on working hard to make ourselves better. We cannot look past our next two opponents, Comstock Park and Sparta. They both provide difficult match ups against us,” noted Myers. “The Panthers have some great throwers, a good sprinter, hurdler, and jumpers. Sparta always has a good distance crew; they have two good throwers, the best vaulter in the league, and a league leading high jumper. Plus, Sparta is our biggest rival. We’ll need to be mentally as much as physically prepared,” he added.

On Saturday, the Hawks hosted the eight team Red Hawk Invite. The team format track meet provided three competitors per event. The Hawks battled with Kenowa Hills, who they lost to in the first meet of the season 69-68, throughout the day. After the running events had concluded the last event to finish was the pole vault. After tallying the scores, it was determined that the Hawks had pulled out a four point win.

“I was surprised,” remarked Myers. “At one point, I knew that we were up by seven. But, I knew that Kenowa won the 300m hurdles, the 800m run, and the 1600m relay. I didn’t think we had enough to stay ahead. What a great effort by the team today. We had a school record set in the 800m relay.  The team of Ron Fisk, Alex Hemry, Justin Balczak, and James Putnam will now see their names on the record board (1:31.5).  This meet isn’t about how many first places you earn, it’s about making sure that you finish a race, beat the guy next to you, and have one clean jump, throw, or vault. Everyone had the opportunity to score today and did,” said Coach.

Top performances included a second by Hank Porter in the long jump; a second place by AJ Olszewski in the pole vault; a first by James Putnam in the 100m dash; a third by the 3200m relay team (Mora, Mora, Bray, and Tillbrooke); a first by Justin Balczak in the 110m hurdles; a second place by the school record setting 800m relay team; a second by Conner Mora in the 1600m run; a second by Blaczak in the 300m hurdles; a second from Putnam in the 200m dash; a second by Mora in the 3200m run; and a second by the 1600m relay team of Austin Mora, Fisk, Balczak, and Tillbrooke.

The Hawks have their last league meet of the season on Tuesday, as they travel to Comstock Park to face the Panthers and Sparta.

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