112 athletes between St. Joseph and Kalamazoo counties qualified for the MHSAA lower peninsula state track and field meets held Saturday. 30 of those achieved elite status with a top eight finish in an event and two reached the ultimate pinnacle of a state championship.
Kalamazoo Christian junior Tess VanDyk and Vicksburg senior Levi Thomas came away with the gold. VanDyk became a double champion at the Division 4 girls meet, taking first in the discus with a mark of 110-10 and first in the shot put at 39.03.00. Thomas meanwhile earned Division 2 boys state champ with a 40.10 time in the 300m hurdles.
Three local athletes finished second in an event. Colon’s Alexander Stoll finished with a 14.95 in the Division 4 110m hurdles, only behind Saugatuck’s Benny Diaz at 14.77. Gull Lake’s Caleb Taylor was second in the D1 high jump at 6-05.00, just behind the 6-06.00 of Dakota’s Zachary Webb. Korin Whitcomb of Sturgis earned silver in the D2 high jump at 5-06.00, only bested by a record-breaking 5-10.00 by Belding’s Brook Simpson.
Finishing third place were Gull Lake’s Koby Fraaza in the D1 1600m and White Pigeon’s Nick Bucher in the D4 shot put.
Other all-state performers locally include two boys relay teams from Centreville. The 4×200 team of Jacob Falkenstein, Joshua Falkenstein, Dylan Coney, and Matt Truckenmiller placed fourth. The pairing of the Falkensteins, Gunner Bunning, and Tyler Swanwick placed fifth in the 4×400.
Comstock’s Ti’Anna Murphy-Ryan earned D3 all-state in two events, placing sixth individually in the 100m. She joined Deshanae Reed, Kyla Owens, and Gianna Nathaniel for a fourth place in the 4×100 relay. Additionally, Comstock’s Kareem Owens grabbed eighth in the 300m hurdles.
In the SAC, Constantine’s Hannah Outlaw placed fourth in the D3 100m dash. From Hackett Catholic Prep, Sage Brown took fourth in the Division 4 200m and grabbed seventh in the 400m. Kalamazoo Christian’s Olivia Penzotti was eighth in the D4 high jump. Garrett Winter of Parchment placed fourth in the D3 3200m and James Downs of Schoolcraft snagged seventh in the shot put.
Out of the SMAC, Kalamazoo Central’s Kayenn Vancayseele-Mabin secured seventh in the Division 1 300m hurdles. Abraham Konjoh of Loy Norrix took seventh in the D1 pole vault.
From the Wolverine Conference, Three Rivers had a fourth place 4×200 relay team of Gisell Macedo, Kennady Cottingham, Ellana Haifley, and Kylin Griffin. Vicksburg saw a fifth place 4×100 team of Megan Zahnow, Megan Kendall, Sam Richardson, and Emma Steele.