TRAVERSE CITY — Ever since he had a false start in the 100-meter dash at the regional, T.J. Schwannecke has been unbeatable.
TC Central’s top sprinter made amends for the error in the 100 at regionals by winning the Big North 100-meter championship the next week. He followed that up with a first-place finish in the event at Tuesday’s Record-Eagle Honor Roll meet with a time of 11.25. It was one of two individual firsts and three firsts overall for Schwannecke, who also took first in the 200 (22.59) and was part of the winning 1,600 relay team that included Johnny Ackley, Rhys Adle and Josh Belcher.
“It feels good. I came into this knowing it’s the last time I’m going to run on this track. I figured I might as well give it my all, have no regrets. That’s what I did today so I was happy with it,” he said.
Central had two other multiple-event winners in a big day on the track.
Ackley set a personal record in taking the 400, running a 51.84. Aside from running a leg of the 1,600, Ackley was on the winning 3,200 relay that also featured Marco Marcote, Cam Marshall and Cam McAuliffe. Aaron Taylor won two events as well in taking the long jump with a leap of 20-9.75 and the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.35.
Traverse City Central freshman Anthony Berry continued to impress in his first year with the Trojans, breaking a 15-year old freshman record in the 3,200 by more than 15 seconds when he ran a 9:45.61. He already holds the school’s freshman record in the 1,600. Surprisingly, Berry was running the 3,200 for the first time this year.
“I wrote down my splits in math class because I was done early, then I revised them with coach right before the meet,” said Berry. “I was talking to the guys and Nicholas (Tarsa) said he usually goes out in 75 (seconds) and that’s what I wanted my first two laps. I wanted 1:15 in my first 800, then I wanted to cut down 2 or 3 seconds every lap after that. I went a little too fast and that kind of killed me, but I got what I wanted, which was under 10 (minutes). Just trying to keep my body nice for states.”
That was the game plan for Traverse City West’s 400 and 800 relays, which warmed up for the state meet by taking firsts in both events despite having a variation of the lineups it will use for the finals.
“The 4X2 was a little different but they ran well,” said West head coach Tom Brown. “(The guys in the relays) didn’t run as many events as they normally do so they’ll be a little fresher for Saturday. They ran well today, I thought.”
West’s team of Tyler Johnson, Octavian Waugh, Brandon Montgomery and Dan Montgomery had the top 400 relay time of 44.5. The Titans’ 800 relay of Dan Phifer, Jack Bishop, Jason Crandell and Dominic Peeples ran a winning time of 1:32.68.
Kingsley’s Jake Keena is qualified for the state finals in the 3,200 and 1,600, his second straight state finals in the 1,600. He warmed up for that event by capturing the Ryan Shay Memorial Cup trophy as the winner of the 1,600. Keena outlasted Central’s Kyle Dotterrer, who was ranked first in the event coming into the meet, with a strong finish that gave him a personal record of 4:26.87. Dotterrer led much of the race until Keena pulled ahead with a surge of energy in the last 100 meters.
“I was kind of lucky,” said Keena. “It was a real push. It was a great race. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Kyle. I was aiming for time. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to do it. I really pushed that last lap and really came through. I felt really good around the 200 (meter mark) and started to catch him. We were neck and neck at the 100. I think it’s a big confidence boost. I’m really looking forward to it (the state finals).”
Benzie Central teammates Gerrit Buist and Jake Williams gave each other a good push in the 800, finishing 1-2 with Buist overcoming Williams late in the race for a first-place time of 2:04.8. Williams ran a 2:05.52.
The Huskies also had a first-place finisher in the 300 hurdles as Corey Bock (41.4) edged Taylor (42.2). Taylor also finished second in the high jump as Connor Archer from St. Francis won with a jump of 6-1.
The discus was one of the most closely-contested events of the meet with the top four only separated by 13 inches. Suttons Bay’s Chase Pattison won the event with a 138-5, followed by TC West’s Nick Whiting (137-6), Kalkaska’s Zach Cameron (137-5) and Jeremy Richards of Forest Area (137-4).
West’s Dustin Tucker decisively won the pole vault with a 13-8, which was nearly a foot-and-a-half better than TC Central’s Justin Cutler (12-3).
TC Central’s John Piatek was first in the shot put with a throw of 49-2.