Michigan Running – Week Two (January 12th, 2022)

The biggest step is continuing the next day, next week, or next season. Here I am, back at it again. Wednesday should be the day for me. I typically have a day off Tuesday, giving myself time to absorb and write about the weekend’s happenings.

Beyond posting on here, I’ve set these up to go straight to your e-mail. To sign up, go here: https://michiganrunning.substack.com/

Coaching Change at Lake Superior State

Up in the Soo at the end of the fall, the Lakers job became open, and it appears that it has been filled. Tony Filipek is a man who has had a stamp on many Michigan programs. Starting at SVSU, to LCC, Cleary, LSSU, Western Michigan, and now back north of the bridge. His wife, Dani, was an assistant coach here during the 2018-2019 season, Tony serving as a volunteer assistant during that time period. Filipek still holds the title of best runner to come out of Kingston, with two All-State performances (2006 – 2nd, 2005 – 3rd) along with two GLIAC titles (2010 and 2011), all in the 800. On a personal note, I’m excited for their family, especially their children to grow up in the town that bears their middle names.

USATF Cross Country Championships

Michigan was well-represented at USATF’s Cross Country Championship. The 10k race, held at Mission Bay Park in San Diego, lost a bit of its luster without a chance at advancing to World Cross Country (which has been postponed until 2023), but a national championship is still a national championship. The main contingent of our participants were those on the Hansons-Brooks team, kicking off their training cycle with a fun trip into the sun. But there were a few more, Audrey Belf and Ryan Robinson, still competing post-collegiately.

Here’s how they placed:

6. Natosha Rogers (Hansons-Brooks) 35:24
13. Olivia Pratt (Hansons-Brooks) 36:58
15. Amy Davis (Hansons-Brooks) 38:02
16. Kathryn Munks (Hansons-Brooks) 38:09
17. Megan O’Neil (Chippewa Hills, CMU, Hansons-Brooks) 38:27
21. Audrey Belf (Birmingham Seaholm, Michigan) 41:36

11. Ryan Robinson (Waterford Mott, MSU, Michigan) 32:14
12. Alec Sandusky (Hansons-Brooks) 32:18
13. Daniel Soto (Hansons-Brooks) 32:31
25. Tony Floyd (Livonia Franklin, Madonna) 33:41

For those wondering about the times, the course was told to be 110m long by those from the USATF and 350m long by the competitors. Source: letsrun, so take with a grain of salt.

College Signings

The first national signing day has passed and we’re in a period of college decisions that have taken a bit more time. And with a huge decision in running, education, and a financial sense, I can completely understand. Madison Rempalski (Grand Rapids Northview > Seton Hall) is a girl who came into running only recently, as a way to condition for the four other sports she played. Her junior year of cross was her first foray into the sport and it ended in All-State performance. As a senior, she battled some injuries over the summer but was still able to turn in multiple low-20 efforts. Sam Peterson (Charlevoix > Eastern Michigan), on the other hand is a lifer. His father ran for Central Michigan and was the long-time coach over at East Jordan. Sam had flashed potential as a freshman and sophomore, but truly made his mark in his junior track campaign, running 4:20 for the 1600m and placing 6th at D3 State. Not just a miler, he went on to finish 6th in November.

Other signings that caught my eye were:

Amanda Fogo (Fowlerville > Concordia)
Elise Elliot (Milford > Kalamazoo College)
Lily Strelecki (Jenison > Maryland-Baltimore County)

Indoor Track Heats Up

At the college level, the lone meet held in the state was Michigan’s Wolverine Invitational. The meet served as a rustbuster and debut for many UofM athletes. A few results stood out to me:

BreeAna Bates (Dearborn Edsel Ford): 7.51 (60m, #24 nationally), 24.53 (200m, #13 nationally)
Aurora Rynda: 1:29.3 (600m, #1 nationally)
Samantha Tran (Forest Hills Northern): 2:09.2 (800m, #3 nationally)
Miles Brown (Novi): 1:18.8 (600m, #10 nationally)
Newlyn Stephenson: 22.05m (Weight Throw, #3 nationally)

Of course there are more results, which you can find here.

For high schoolers, there were plenty of meets to go around. The LAB, Saginaw Valley, and Hillsdale all hosted events over the weekend.

Pictured above, the newly formed Up North Elite Track Club laid down some statements at Saginaw Valley. The club is composed of Northern Michigan’s superstars, Mylie Kelly and Hunter Jones (Benzie Central), Molly Harding and Noah Morrow (Manton), Kendall Schopieray and Nolan Nixon (Cadillac), Allie Chmielewski (Roscommon), Aiden Harrand (Buckley), Conor Somers (Fremont), and I’m sure I’m missing a few others. Train together, reign together is the philosophy at hand, and when you combine the talents of many and get them to push each other, great achievements can be had. Of course, this doesn’t happen without an overseer, Asa Kelly and Trevor Thiebaut have been instrumental in making this work.

Combining forces, I’m excited to see how their teams compare with the elite schools down south. Over at Hillsdale, the Purple Track Club (Ann Arbor Pioneer’s girls) ran both 9:20 for the 4×800 and 12:35 for the DMR.

And I’d be remiss not to mention Kaila Jackson. The Track Life/Detroit Renaissance added a state record to her litany of state titles. Her 7.26 in the 60m equals Shayla Mahan’s mark from 2007 and puts her #1 in the nation as of now.

Race Results

There weren’t any races of note in Michigan over the weekend, but many of our runners went down to compete in the Disney Marathon Weekend.

In the marathon, Leah Foley (wife of Flint Powers coach, Leo Foley), won her age group and finished 4th amongst women in a time of 2:56:04. For the half, Samantha Hanson (Sterling Heights Stevenson, MSU, Oakland) debuted with a 1:27:29, winning her age group and placing 6th amongst all women. Sara Gerhardt (Macomb Lutheran North, Oakland) also won her age group and placed in the top-10 for all women.

Other Happenings

Hobbs Kessler and Nick Willis are entered in the Wannamaker Mile. The Mile is the showcase event of the Millrose Games, held January 29th at the Armory in NYC. The race is typically shown on NBC, closer to race day, I’ll find out viewing info. Early on New Years Day, Willis attempted to run sub-4 for the 20th consecutive year, but fell just short (4:00.22) in a valiant effort. Kessler was part of the pacing team in the time trial, looking his usual effortless self before stepping back. The race will be both of their professional debuts for the upcoming season.

The Michigan Runner Race Series has been set. I’m a fan of the mix of races, marathons to 5k’s, trails and the roads. And I’m always a proponent of bringing together all types from all areas of the state to compete for a crown. More info found here.

HAWI Management announced that Samantha Hanson has joined their team as a USATF-certified agent. A look at the list of agents currently representing athletes shows only 10(!) women. Not that men can’t represent women or women can’t represent men, but it’ll help women in the sport to have an advocate in their corner that has fought similar battles and can empathize with their needs, wants, and desires. HAWI Management is headed by Hawi Keflezghi (Meb’s brother) and represents athletes such as Aliphine Tulimuk, Joe Kovacs, Nikki Hiltz, and Joe Gray.

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