Traverse City Record-Eagle

Prep Sports

March 8, 2014

Hard work pays off for TCC's Piatek

TRAVERSE CITY — Instead of working last summer, Traverse City Central senior thrower Johnny Piatek opted to devote his energies to training, all in hopes it would lead to a college scholarship.

It turned out to be a wise, cost-saving decision.

Piatek, who earned All-State honors during the recently concluded indoor season, signed a scholarship offer from Northwood Institute late last month, ending a recruitment that had picked up considerable steam.

Piatek was contacted by 36 schools and had five “concrete” offers to mull over at the end. He chose Northwood because it met three important criteria — it’s a small school, it’s close to home and he had developed a good rapport with the throws coach.

Plus, Northwood increased its financial package so that it will cover a good share of his college cost.

“I think I’ll fit in well there,” Piatek said.

Ryan McCullough, a Cadillac graduate, is the throws coach at Northwood. He set the Central Michigan University record in the hammer two years ago.

“He’s a young guy, pretty ambitious,” Piatek said. “That (relationship) was a big factor because I wanted to go somewhere where I can improve as much as possible and reach my full potential.”

Piatek finished third in the shot put at the recent indoor state meet with a throw of 53-11. His best is 54-4, which ranks him among the top 100 throwers nationally.

His father, John, played a key role in the recruiting process. Step one: “Getting his name out there,” John Piatek said.

So, starting last spring, the Piateks filled out online recruiting forms with in-state schools that Johnny had expressed interest. They followed that up by opening an account on, a free site in which they were able to list all the vitals and post videos. That’s when the recruitment took off.

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