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Michigan Running – Week One

Hello all!  If this seems like spur of the moment, it is. The idea to begin a newsletter popped into my head on a hike last week (then I got lost on said hike, maybe not a great omen). 

There are a few purposes in creating this newsletter.  First, I want to expand my knowledge base.  I feel that I am on top of the Michigan distance running scene, but less attuned to other track events, former Michigan-based athletes, and road racing in this State.  There seems to be a void in the latter two (Jeff Hollobaugh’s Twitter and Michtrack cover track events extremely well), one that I can hopefully fill.  Third, by reporting on all aspects of the sport, I hope to create a stronger bridge between all runners and athletes competing in all levels in the state.  Finally, those that know me know that I can be opinionated.  When ranking cross country, opinions are thrown out the window.  When tweeting, opinions are thrown right into your face.  In a longer formed document, my arguments and thoughts can be a bit more complex.

There are a few national newsletters that have fared very well and are welcome additions to my inbox.  Race Results Weekly, The Lap Count, and the Fast Women newsletter have enhanced my knowledge and will be creative inspirations driving this forward. 

Over the next week, I’ll figure out how the whole e-mail newsletter (SubStack) thing works and get that out to the world. And a better name (if you have any suggestions, hit me up). For now, I’m just rolling with it on here.

Charlie Janke (1936 – 2021)

The Michigan running community lost a great man this past week in Charlie Janke.  Name an event that dots our prep landscape that you’ll find that Charlie played a role in its history.  Along with Dave Bork and a few others, Charlie was instrumental in bringing the State Finals to MIS.  Regardless of one’s thoughts on the course and the venue, one has to admire that the significance of the site, there aren’t many states that have cross country meets at such massive stadia.  Indoor meets?  Charlie and his friends at MITCA began the concept of an indoor circuit in Michigan, and his philosophy towards those meets is still in use – low cost opportunities for our athletes to prep for the outdoor season.  The list goes on, the Midwest Meet of Champions, MITCA, Track State Finals, Jackson Invitational, Sharp Park.  Many events and organizations that we may take for granted nowadays have been created by the tireless, behind the scenes work of our forefathers. 

There will be a memorial service for Charlie in the summer.  When I find out more information, I’ll relay it via social media and on here. 

Changing of the Guard

Bauman’s Running Shop in Flint is a Michigan running staple.  Mark Bauman has been the guiding the store since its infancy, 48 years ago, and this past week, sold his business to his employees for $1.  In a time where other stores in the state have sold out to national corporations (and thus lost their community feel), this is truly a special act and one that will benefit his employees’ lives.  Beyond owning a successful store, Mark has been an extremely accomplished runner, completing 50 consecutive Boston Marathons and his famous Baumans bus, a helpful part of the experience of Michigan runners competing in Boston.

Abbott World Marathon Majors

The end of the calendar year results in a culmination of the Abbott World Marathon Majors.  These marathons are the six majors of the world circuit.  Boston, New York, Chicago, Tokyo, Berlin, and London.  Points are accumulated via one’s finish and a world ranking follows from those points.  A few Michiganders finished highly ranked in their age groups.  Lisa Veneziano (Fenton) finished 6th in the 55-59 Female, Erik Wippler (Canton) 16th in 45-49 Male, Rich “Rock City” Power (Rochester Hills) 14th in 55-59 Male, and the crowning achievement, Steve Schmidt (Orion Twp.) finishing 1st in the Male 60-64.  Steve also holds the special accomplishment of running a sub-3:00 marathon in 6 consecutive decades.

How Not to Recruit

Friday, this tweet was shown to me before work, then I spent the whole day at work getting angrier and angrier about said tweet.

I can understand the frustration of being a “lower level” college coach, especially a successful one.  You have a track record of developing individuals, maybe even at a better rate of those in higher divisions.  You’ve had team success in your conference and division at a higher rate than many higher division schools.  Given that success, chances are you’ll probably develop an athlete better than many higher division schools.  To be told an athlete is seeking a higher division must cut into you, when you know that athlete will develop under your guidance.

But this isn’t the way to go about it.  Specifically listing one’s PRs essentially calls out the athlete (and though some claim it was anonymous, with the listing of specific times, it ain’t anonymous), and when that athlete logs onto Twitter, she’ll see an adult coach calling her out.  Too often, I see adult college coaches complaining about their communications with kids.  College coaches, you’re dealing with kids.  They will make mistakes in communication.  They will say the wrong things, lack subtlety, ghost you, etc.  Please give them some grace and understanding.  You’re an adult.  They’re a child.  Sharing a private conversation with the world is the complete opposite of grace and understanding. 

What might be a viable social media tactic for a college program would be to share the success stories of your former and current athletes.  Show their progression throughout time, the adversity they’ve gone through to reach the success they’ve seen.  Highlight the positives and make people WANT to join the great thing you have going.

The Indiana Tech coach deleted the tweet but I have yet to see an apology.

NOTABLE INDOOR TRACK RESULTS

As always, Jeff Hollobaugh is your go to in terms of national standings and state history.  I won’t steal his work, here is his Twitter thread from the meet

Other times that stood out to me (not necessarily winners):

60mH: Cavanaugh Barker (Carson City-Crystal) – 8.40
800m: Lisa Luecke (Allen Park) – 62.8, 2:19.9. 
Lisa has always been, in my mind, more on the strength side of her events.  Her 5k best has by far been her most impressive, multiple sub-18’s, but her track events haven’t been as comparatively quick.  This is a great opener that paves the way for a standout season.
800m: Owen Johnson (Ann Arbor Pioneer) – 1:59.79
1600m: Briana Vojinov
and Peyton Scheffler – 5:14 and 5:17.  Woodhaven could sneakily find their way onto an MHSAA podium come spring.  The Warriors missed Vojinov during last year’s track campaign, it appears she’s found that speed that will help them in the 3200m relay.
1600m: Quinn Cullen (Brighton) – 4:23

Aaand this is why I’ve started writing this newsletter.  At a quick glance, all that I recognize are distance athletes.  To be a more complete fan, you’ve gotta include all events, right?

NOTABLE ROAD RACE RESULTS

Out With the Old 5k, Dec 31st, Shelby Twp.

1st Place Female: Rachel Felstow (Romeo, Wayne State) – 21:47
Ric Giles (Utica Assistant) – 22:34

BCBS Resolution Run 4 Mile, Dec 31st, Grand Rapids

1st Place Female – Alyssa McElheny (Forest Hills Eastern Coach) – 22:56
1st Place Male: Todd Buckingham (Wyoming, MI) – 20:29
2nd Place Female: Clara James-Heer (Forest Hills Central) – 24:24
4th Place Male: Lezawe Osterink (The Potter’s House) – 20:58
5th Place Male: Kris Koster (The Potter’s House Coach) – 21:11
11th Place Male: Espen Wood (Cedar Springs) – 22:32
13th Place Male: Colin Hunter (Byron Center Coach) – 22:49

52nd Annual Belle Isle New Year’s Eve 5k, Dec 31st, Detroit

At 52 years young, I believe this is the longest-standing metro Detroit road race. 

1st Place Female: Amber Dermyre (Ferndale) – 19:02
1st Place Male: Brett Carlisle (Brownstown) – 16:24
2nd Place Male – Garrett Winfrey (West Bloomfield HS, 2017) – 16:54
4th Place Male – Eddie Roginski (Macomb Dakota Coach) – 18:26

Lake Orion New Year’s Resolution 5k, Jan 1st, Lake Orion

1st Place Female: Dot McMahan (Hansons-Brooks ODP, Oakland University Coach) – 17:20

UPCOMING RACES

MITS Indoor Track

January 8th – LAB, SVSU, GVSU, Hillsdale

USATF Cross Country Championships

Former Michiganders or Michigan-based athletes include Audrey Belf (Birmingham Seaholm, Michigan), Tony Floyd (Livonia Franklin, Madonna), Ryan Robinson (Waterford Mott, Michigan State, Michigan) and Hansons-Brooks ODP athletes Olivia Pratt, Megan O’Neil (Chippewa Hills, Central Michigan), Natosha Rogers, Amy Davis, Kathryn Munks, Zach Panning (GVSU), Daniel Soto, and Alec Sandusky. 

Expect Natosha and Zach to be in the front packs here.  They’re both gamers and coming off successful falls (1:09 half/Club Cross title for Natosha and 2:15 full/2nd at Club Cross for Zach).

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