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Michigan Running – Week Three (January 19th, 2022)

I’ll always tell customers that it takes three weeks of consistent training, day in day out, to form a habit.  Here we are three weeks in and I won’t say I’m at habit status yet, but I’m starting to settle into a routine.

For the time being, the newsletter will be posted both on my website and sent via email, eventually I’ll switch to email only. You can sign up for the weekly emails here: https://michiganrunning.substack.com/

Michiganders in Houston

Our state was well-represented on Sunday’s record-setting morning.  Unless you’ve been wallowing for a week over the woes of Michigan State basketball, Jim Harbaugh, Matthew Stafford, or Michigan basketball, you’re surely aware of what went down in Texas.  Keira D’Amato and Sara Hall were ageless wonders, each racing to an American Record in their respective full and half marathons.  Our Michigan contingent shared some similarities as well.  Time spent away from the sport and full-time work life can certainly hamper one’s running goals and dreams – but only if you let it.  Here’s a few of the results that stood out to me:

Andrea Pomaranski, Wolverine Lake: 2:33:35, 10th Overall Female, 1st 35-39F

Nearly 10 years ago, Andrea was told by doctors that she should completely quit running.  At the time, she had whittled her time down to 2:37 and had qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials.  After an osteoporosis diagnosis, her Trials dreams that year were shattered, but she was able to build back up and compete in the 2020 Trials.  Her time here more than qualifies for a repeat appearance in the 2024 edition.

Kelli Smith, Grand Rapids: 2:34:09, 12th Overall Female, 2nd 20-24F

The former Cornerstone star has made a major leap post-collegiately.  And that’s saying something given her accolades, 10x All-American and 9x WHAC Champion, both across a range of distances.  The NAIA is unique in that the marathon is contested as part of the national championship, this is where Smith gained her initial experience, in 2019, finishing 4th in the country with a 3:14.  But you can see the tremendous drop in time here, 40 minutes.  Have I mentioned she works full-time as a teacher? 

Erica Shell, Franklin: 2:48:30, 36th Overall Female, 7th 30-34F

Ben Anderson, Ann Arbor: 2:37:08, 109th Overall Male, 5th 20-24M

Ben competed for MRUN while attending the University of Michigan.

John VerHagen, Royal Oak: 2:40:16, 131st Overall Male, 7th 20-24M

Friday night at the store, I was paid a visit by John, and he relayed that his goal was to break 2:40.  It appears he fell slightly short, but I believe he still grabbed a PR.

Rich Power, Rochester Hills: 3:02:58, 6th 55-59M

Another ageless wonder.

Shipping Up to Cambridge

As we return back from winter break, the college signings are gaining momentum.  Among the notable ones (and if I missed you – reach out):

Jeremy Williams (Lapeer > Harvard).  Huge fan of this one.  First, the Ivy League is a highly competitive conference and there is an aura with winning a Hep title.  Second, for many athletes, running isn’t the final destination, a career is necessary.  Can’t get much better than Harvard in terms of jumpstarting a career.  Jeremy is obviously talented and motivated enough to compete there.  State Meets in cross country either were taken away from him, destroyed by COVID, or didn’t go his way.  But he has a real shot of breaking 4:15/9:00 this spring.  The question now is: will his brother follow?

Parker LaGro (Battle Creek Lakeview > GVSU)

Blake Chipman (Flushing > CMU)

Jason Fredricks (Byron Center > CMU)

Elise Book (Gaylord > Wheaton)

Taylor Imus (Portage Central > Lourdes)

Andrew Stern (Saline > Siena Heights)

Maddie Stern (Saline > Hope)

I think every level save NJCAA is represented here.  Well done!

The Miles Brown Show

In just two meets, Miles Brown has shown himself to be the revelation of the indoor season.  This should come as no surprise given his HS career.  He was thrust upon us as sophomore, winning a state title in the 800m.  At this past state meet, he dueled with Hobbs Kessler in both the 4×8 and 800m.  The talent has always been there, the question is when would it show out?  Viewing the entry list prior to the Simmons-Harvey Invitational, I saw the matchup with Brown and Parker Raymond (Rochester Adams) and knew it would be a hot heat.  In search of an opportunity to run, Raymond transferred to Indiana last winter, a move that turned out in his favor.  At the 2021 Big Ten Indoor Championships, he finished 7th in the 600m and in May, qualified for NCAA indoor with a blazing 1:48.07. 

Anyhow, the race.  You can see the final bit of the race here, before the final stretch, Raymond took it out hard with Brown on his tail (24.4 to 24.6, 50.1 to 50.6) before Miles took over in the final lap.  1:16.98, 6th fastest freshman ever, stadium record, meet record, Michigan record.  And just glancing at this list, he’s very close to some prominent names, ahhh I won’t get ahead of myself.

Also good to see Cole Johnson come through on the final lap as well.  His 1:17.98 is a great start to the season and a building block in the path to getting under 1:50. 

Other Indoor Results:

College: Simmons-Harvey, SVSU Classic, Bob Eubanks, Trine, Defiance

High School: LAB, SVSU, Hillsdale, Morolake Akinosun

Other Happenings

  • Klaudia O’Malley (McBain, GVSU) was featured in this month’s edition of The Oval Magazine.  The interview dives into her race at Nationals (2nd place) and her decision to attend Grand Valley.  Flip to page 13 to read her words.  And while you’re there, check out the rest of the publication!

  • The Boston Marathon field was released over the course of last week.  With no London Marathon, Boston is the main race to point to between now and the World Championships.  The field is a who’s who of American distance running right now (Seidel, Taylor, Hall, Fauble, Ward, Riley).  There are some Michiganders in the bunch as well.  Des Linden is back for another run, it’s hard to imagine there will be a Boston where she’s not a presence.  Sydney Devore is also listed.  Devore definitely fits the theme of a comeback story.  She had run for the University of Florida for a bit, decided the fit wasn’t right for her, and was out of the sport for a while.  She returned with a vengeance, winning the 2018 Pittsburgh Marathon in 2:32.  She most recently competed in October’s Boston Marathon, coming in as the 32nd American woman with a time of 2:40.

  • Speaking of marathons, Marlette’s Riley Ford competed in the Museum of Aviation Marathon in Warner Robins, Georgia.  After a disappointing finish in last year’s NAIA Championships, Riley wanted to have a successful experience in the final miles of the marathon distance.  She started conservatively, going through the half in 1:38, but closed with a few sub-7’s, knocking out a 3:12:36.  Hopefully there are some lessons learned that will serve her well in May.

  • The LAB has announced that they will be hosting the Midwest Invite on February 11th/12th.  The meet is a bit different than our typical MITS meets.  The entry fee will be a bit higher but the payoffs are more than worth it.  Coverage by FloSports and auto qualifiers to New Balance Nationals.

  • White Lake Lakeland’s Grace Stark was named National Athlete of the Week by the USTFCCCA.  Her 7.86 in the 60m hurdles ranks third all-time amongst collegiate athletes.

If I missed anyone or any accomplishments, please know it wasn’t intentional.  I’m making it a point to write down anything I see, however there is always the chance that I forget or skip over athletes.  Please feel free to send me a message or email.

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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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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).