Detroit — Thomas Wilcher is known as the coach of a powerful football program at Detroit Cass Tech, but with his boys track team winning its sixth consecutive Detroit Public School League Championship on Saturday afternoon, Wilcher is showing that his touch extends beyond the gridiron.
The result was never in doubt for Wilcher’s crew as his team came out of the blocks hot, dominating the first two marquee events of the finals.
Savalas Morgan and Donovan Parker finished first and second in the 110-meter hurdles for Cass Tech with times of 15.31 and 16.65.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, a prized football recruit for Wilcher’s football team, snagged a championship in the 100-meter dash by turning in a time of 10.93, coming in just ahead of teammate Donovan Johnson (11.07).
Cass Tech would finish with 144 points, besting second-place Detroit East English (110) while third-place Detroit Renaissance was well behind with 58 points.
Morgan was the highlight of the day, delivering a gold medal in the 110 and 300 hurdles while also running on the winning 4x100 and 4x200 teams.
He did it all as he limped around between races with nagging shin splints.
“I just wanted to win,” Morgan said after Wilcher asked him if he wanted to take part in the 300 hurdles as his limp became more noticeable. “I asked my mom if she thought I should do it and she said that if I wanted to, I should go ahead. I didn’t see a reason not to, so I did it and it feels good seeing my hard work pay off.”
Morgan, who also won the 110 and 300 hurdles in 2015 as a junior, was quick to point out that keeping up the success of Cass Tech in the PSL championships is important to him and his teammates.
“Winning cities again is a nice end to my senior year,” he said. “It makes a lot of us happy to keep the legacy going.”
That loyalty to the program has Wilcher’s fingerprints all over it.
“I try to make sure they put a little bit of me in them,” Wilcher said. “Whatever I’ve got to give, I give to them. And they just try to give the coach what he wants, what he needs.”
When told that his team would secure the league championship for the sixth straight year, Wilcher replied, “Is that it? Shoot, I thought it was more than that.”
Six straight and still not satisfied. That’s Cass Tech.
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer.