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De La Salle's Stritzinger clears final hurdle for victory

Al Willman
The Detroit News

Novi — For Warren De La Salle senior Allen Stritzinger, there was just one more hurdle on Tuesday at the Catholic League A-B track finals at Detroit Catholic Central.

Literally.

Nearly a year ago to the day, he tripped after jumping the last hurdle in the 110 meter race, falling from first place to last place.

On Tuesday, he got his redemption, with a blistering 15.01 second finish — just 3/4 of a second off the record set by Keith Nichols (Detroit Benedictine) in 1984.

“That’s exactly the first thing I wanted to get at,” Stritzinger said. “This meet, for me, was a redemption meet and it worked.”

With 113 points, De La Salle won the A-B title for the first time in 21 years. Detroit Catholic Central was second with 97, while Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (89), Birmingham Brother Rice (76) and Dearborn Divine Child (60) rounded out the top five.

De La Salle coach Dominic Reid said he was hard pressed to find a harder worker than Stritzinger, who is committed to play football at Syracuse in the fall and qualified for four events in next weekend’s Division 1 state finals.

“He’s undefeated in the 110s and 300s,” Reid said of Stritzinger, who also won the 300 hurdles in 39.48. “He’s definitely got a chance to be a state champion.”

Strizinger said De La Salle is in good shape, with junior Roy Jefferson — who finished sixth with a 16.70 — returning next season.

“He helped me get better,” Jefferson said. “I’m trying to fill his shoes. It’s going to be real hard. Just looking at him makes us want to get better.”

Graduation day

Brother Rice senior Octaveious Miles, you could say, was in a bit of a hurry.

A logistical issue in September forced the school to move its graduation to Tuesday from Sunday, which was typically the day of the ceremony.

So Miles, after getting the go-ahead to participate early in the finals for the discus — which he won with a 145-foot, 9-inch throw —and shot put, made a beeline from Novi to St. Hugo of the Hills parish in Bloomfield Hills for the commencement ceremony.

“It was definitely weird,” Miles said. “I just had to make sure I came in focused and didn’t think about the graduation or being rushed. I took my time. I felt pretty good. I went through what I did at practice. It’s just muscle memory after four years of throwing.”

Next for Miles, after tonight, is a pair of state finals bids. He qualified at last week’s regional meet at North Farmington with a discus throw of 166-feet, 2-inches and a shot put throw of 47-feet, 1-inch.

“It doesn’t get any bigger than that,” Miles said.

Miles will also be doing some juggling at Smith University, a Division II school in Charlotte, N.C. He is already committed to the school’s football team, and plans to participate in track — all while pursuing a pre-law undergraduate degree.

Sophomore Peter Schultz said he’s looked up to Miles in his two years with the team.

“He’s taught me a lot, in terms of throwing and he’s definitely (like) a big brother,” Schultz said. “He definitely leads by example. He’s not a big talker. But he doesn’t need to talk. He’s just a good guy.

“A fun guy to joke around with and he’s definitely going to do great things.”

Al Willman is a freelance writer.