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Boys track and field improves to 5-1; Balczak sets record

The Red Hawk boys came back after spring break ready to begin their quest for a league title. Last Thursday, the Hawks defeated Grand Rapids West Catholic 90-47 and Belding 120-17 to open the conference double dual season.

“It is evident by our performances that we didn’t sit around during break and do nothing.  Our times, distances, and heights either were consistent or vastly improved from where we were at before break,” said Coach Jeff Myers. “Also, spring break allowed a few boys to get healthy again. We are in for a battle for the conference title. This is no indication that we will have it easy. West Catholic will be much improved by the time the conference meet comes and Belding will be a healthier team. I expect both teams to give us different match ups later in May,” he added.

Junior Justin Balczak set a new school record in the 110m hurdles.

Junior Justin Balczak set a new school record in the 110m hurdles.

Leading the way for the home team were Sam Bekins, Rylan Ash and Andrew Klompstra in the shot put; Klompstra, Bekins, and Trevor Hemry in the discus; pole vaulters AJ Olszewski and Jake Rickner; long jumpers Hank Porter and Kyle Szirovecz; Nate Jones and Porter in the high jump; the 3200m relay team of Austin Mora, Alex Bray, Conner Mora and Achrim Tillbrooke; Justin Balczak and Aaron Dault in the hurdle events; James Putnam, Ron Fisk, Balczak, Ryan Austin and Alex Hemry in the sprints and sprint relays;  Fisk, Tillbrooke, Szirovecz, and Austin Mora in the middle distance and relays; and Conner Mora, Alex Bray, Ethan Menefee, and Tillbrooke in the distance and relay.

Red Hawks win Bronco Classic for the second straight season

Last Saturday, April 17, the boys traveled to Coopersville for the annual Bronco Classic Invitational. Two individuals in each event earned their way onto the roster. This meet combines the middle school team with a junior varsity squad, and a varsity squad.

The conditions were not favorable as temperatures hovered in the high 40s with a stiff breeze. Yet, the Hawks prevailed as champions, by accumulating the most points of all eight schools that competed. Not only did they win the middle school meet, finish second in the junior varsity meet, and win the varsity meet, but junior hurdler Justin Balczak walked out of Coopersville with a new school record in the 110m hurdles. The previous mark, shared by Balczak at 14.8 seconds, has been lowered to 14.7 seconds. This is the second school record that has been broken in the early season.

“What I was most impressed with was the boys’ attitudes throughout the meet,” remarked Myers. “They didn’t complain about the conditions, they didn’t ask to sit out any events. It was very windy. It made pole vaulting, discus throwing and high jumping very difficult. The wind in the backstretch and the curve just about made them stop in their tracks. Yet, we still improved on a lot of distance times. All three levels were focused on their teammate’s places, standings and points. These boys wanted to go home with medals and trophies.  Our middle school coaches and our assistants did a great job of building a lineup that was best for our entire program. The high school group didn’t place in three events all day. Besides winning the meet for the second consecutive season, this is the seventh time in eleven years that we have won the meet,” commented Myers.

The Hawks traveled back to Coopersville on Tuesday for a double dual meet with the Broncos and Grand Rapids Central.  The boys won’t return home until May 1, their last home contest of the season, with the eight-team Red Hawk Invitational.

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