Young Eaglets compete, help Orchard Lake St. Mary’s win first track title
ZEELAND — Few schools can match the athletic tradition of Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, but the Eaglets haven’t been much of a factor in the sport of track and field.
That changed on Saturday when St. Mary’s won its first state championship in the sport, taking the Division 2 title at Zeeland Stadium by outscoring Zeeland East, 51-44.5.
It is the 16th state championship for St. Mary’s, with the other 15 for the all-boys school coming in baseball, basketball, football and hockey.
The Eaglets’ best finish in a state track meet was third in Division 2 in 2006. They built toward Saturday’s championship by taking fourth last year.
"We broke six school records this year," St. Mary’s coach Sean Clouse said. "We’re pretty young still. We have a great group of seniors and a lot of young kids, too, so hopefully we’ll be back again next year."
Six of the 14 athletes who scored for the Eaglets were sophomores, including 300-meter hurdle champion Richard Bowens. Bowens won in 38.42 seconds. He was also on the seventh-place 1,600 relay team.
St. Mary’s won the 400 and 800 relays for the second straight year, but was able to take the team title by having more firepower throughout its lineup. The Eaglets scored in eight events, including all four relays.
Junior Tyler Cochran was on the winning 800 relay team and took third in the 400 in 49.83 seconds. He was also on the seventh-place 1,600 relay unit.
Senior Ross Moore was on both winning relay teams and placed eighth in the long jump. Sophomore Kahlee Hamler was also on both first-place relay teams. Freshman Ky’Ren Cunningham was on the 800 relay team, while sophomore Ryan Johnson rounded out the 400 relay.
Sophomore Trey Bryan was fifth in the long jump, while senior Brian Agomuoh was seventh in the discus.
"Our long jumper surprised us a little bit," Clouse said. "We knew our relay teams were going to do well. We’re just so happy with them. The sprint teams doubled up last year and doubled up again this year. Cochran in the 400 came through really big. The hurdler, Bowen, was amazing."
Auburn Hills Avondale senior Joshuwa Hollomon made his mark in state finals history by becoming only the 10th boy from the Lower Peninsula to win the 100-meter (or 100-yard) dash three times. The MHSAA has been sponsoring the track finals for 91 years.
Hollomon, a University of Cincinnati football recruit, won a tight finish against Flint Southwestern Academy senior Jonathan Fife with a time of 10.71 seconds. Fife’s time was 10.81.
Hollomon won the Division 1 title as a sophomore in 2013 before taking Division 2 his final two years.
"To win it three years, going unbeaten, I can look back and tell that to my kids one day and say, ‘I did this’ and have that be an influence on them," Hollomon said. "This is a great accomplishment."
Hollomon is only the third Lower Peninsula boy in the last 24 years to win the 100 three times, joining Baldwin’s Jason Johnson (1995-97 Class D) and Sparta’s Brandon Vandriel (2007-09 Division 2).
Hollomon was trying to become only the fourth Lower Peninsula boy in the last 26 years to sweep the 100 and 200 in the finals, but Fife turned the tables in the 200 to win in 21.55 seconds. Hollomon settled fro second in 21.98.
Going into the meet, Hollomon had no idea of what to expect from Fife.
"I don’t know anybody I race," said Hollomon, who will play football at the University of Cincinnati. "I don’t watch them. I study myself. I know the person next to me on both sides wants to win just as bad as I do. When you get fast people, it makes you faster."
Zeeland East provided an early thrill for the home crowd early by setting the Division 2 record in the 3,200 relay. The quartet of Scott Binder, Dan Cramer, Matt Cramer and Groendyke won in 7:50.70, breaking Fenton’s mark from 2007.