Boys track roundup: Oak Park runs away with D1 title

Al Willman
Special to The Detroit News

Like the school’s girls, Oak Park’s boys track team earned the Division 1 state championship Saturday at Hudsonville High School.

With 55 points, the boys beat runner-up Rockford, which had 46. East Kentwood (37), Detroit Cass Tech (24) and Oxford (20) completed the top five.

“I thought most of my guys stepped up,” Oak Park coach Robert Lynch said. “We came in with quite a few qualifiers in all the events we were scheduled to particpate in. We placed in all of them but one.”

Cameron Cooper won the 800-meter run, with a finish of 1 minute, 51.68 seconds, leading the way for Oak Park. Dekaryea Freeman finished third in 1:53.42.

“I thought they were capable of going 1-2,” Lynch said. “Cameron ran real well. It’s hard to come up from the mile and do the half.”

Daniel Miles finished second in the 100 with a 10.83 — one tenth of a second behind East Kentwood’s Khance Myers. Miles also took third in the 200, crossing in 21.78.

“I had picked him to be first or second in the 100 and he was ranked third in the 200,” Lynch said. “He had a real hard day. It’s hard when you run the 100, run in the 4x2, run in the 4x1 and have some left in the finals for the 200. I thought he did a good job of handling that.”

Lynch said his team did well meeting its expectations.

“I talked with the team about what was expected of them and they went out and did it.” he said. “It was a shock for them to lose the 4x4 and for me and them to lose the 4x8. I knew we had a weak leg on the 4x8. I figured that if Dekaryea put them far enough, Cameron would be able to handle it.”

The leg Lynch was referring to was junior Amari Kidd, who missed states to take the ACT. He was replaced by junior Michael Campbell.

“He ran real well,” Lynch said of Campbell.

However, in the discus and shot put, Oxford’s Connor Bandel stole the show.

Bandel launched a 198-foot, 11-inch toss in the discus, but his 67-foot, 5¾-inch throw in the shot put shattered Michael Martin’s (Detroit Catholic Central) previous record of 63-9 set in 2008.

“He’s outstanding,” Lynch said. “I’ve seen him three times. He’s an outstanding athlete.”

Division 2

The Orchard Lake St. Mary’s boys track team has one more award to add to its collection, after successfully defending its Division 2 title Saturday at Zeeland High School.

St. Mary’s, which also won the Catholic League title last week, won with 46 points, two points better than runner up Mason. Zeeland East (34), Macomb Lutheran North (33) and Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills (29.5) rounded out the top five.

Kahlee Hamler led the way for St. Mary’s, winning the 100-meter dash in 10.99 seconds.

Division 3

Sanford-Meridian won the D3 championship with 39 points. Hillsdale (34), Frankenmuth (33), Chesaning (28) and Adrian Madison (22) completed the top five. Almont’s Jacob Battani won the pole vault with a distance of 15 feet, 6 inches.

Division 4

Saugatuck won the D4 title. Evart (32), Cassopolis (30), Battle Creek St. Phillip Catholic Central (29) and Addison (29) rounded out the top five. Detroit Loyola’s Hunter Harris finished second in the 200 with a 22.80, three tenths of a second slower than Sand Creek’s Alec Muck.

Al Willman is a freelance writer

Twitter: @AlWillmanSports