Charlotte’s Brandt and St. Johns’ Schafer shine on the Division 2 state circuit

HAMILTON – Charlotte senior Cutler Brandt only started running the 300-meter hurdles this track season on a whim. It turns out he’s pretty good at it.

As in, the best in the state of Michigan in its division.

Brandt’s epic victory on a rain-soaked track at the MHSAA’s Division 2 State Track and Field meet Saturday at Hamilton High School was one of the most exciting races of the day and a top performance from Lansing athletes.

He slipped out of the blocks – on a surface that had already been under fire from Mother Nature for a few hours by then – but adjusted his feet to the obstacles and put himself in position to have a chance. Brandt’s hard finish propelled him past top regional qualifier Austin Graham of Wayland Union as they jumped the final hurdle, with Brandt crossing the finish line in a school record 38.48 seconds, 0.32 seconds ahead of Graham.

“At first, when it started raining, I thought, ‘Oh no, I wasn’t ready for this,’” Brandt said of a state meet that turned downright miserable for a while on Saturday. “But it got lighter and I knew I just had to get him. I stuck with it and fought for it.”

Brandt was one of two area athletes to win an individual state championship at Saturday’s Division 2 meet. The other was St. Johns freshman Ava Schafer, who won the 3,200-meter race less dramatically, as it turned out.

Corunna nearly won the state championship as a team, finishing the boys meet with 38 points, two behind champion Berrien Springs, spoiling some events for area stars. DeWitt finished third with 34 points, followed by Brandt-led Charlotte with 28. Mason, who finished 11th with 21.5 points, and Sexton, who finished 13th with 19 points, were the only other two area schools among the 60 competing teams that ended. in the top 15.

Among the girls, Dearborn Divine Child won with 46 points. The best finish by an area school was St. Johns, which finished in 10th place with 17 points. No other girls’ team from the region finished in the top half of the 67 schools at the meet.

Corunna brothers Tarick and Wyatt Bower nearly carried the Cavaliers to a state championship. Tarick placed second in the long jump (22-00.5), while Wyatt placed fourth. Tarick also placed third in the 100 meters (11.09), while Wyatt was fourth in the 200. The senior duo was also part of Corunna’s second-place 400 relay team (which also included Ota Wilkerson and Isaac Jacobs) and third-place team from school. 800 relay team (including Jacobs and Logan Herrick).

DeWitt’s strong performance was spurred by senior Drew Nowak and others. Nowak finished second in the 100 meters at 10.91, just behind Jake Machiniak of Berrien Springs (10.74). Nowak also PR in the 200, finishing third in 22 seconds flat, again behind winner Machiniak. Nowak was also part of DeWitt’s third-place 400 relay team with Gavin Lord, Jensen Ridley and Julien Johnson.

DeWitt also had top performances from his 3,200 relay team (Jackson Walthron, Aiden Aldrich, Ian Fowler and Brennan McKone), which finished second with a time of 7:50.75, just behind Marshall’s foursome (7:48.49). Fowler also placed fourth individually in the 800.

Mason had a strong day with seniors Tyler Baker and Cole Ries placing third and fourth, respectively, in the 110 hurdles, and the Bulldogs’ 1,600 relay team of AJ Martel, Blendi Jahari, Ries and Dalton Dunn finishing third.

Haslett senior Nate Carmody finished third in the 3,200, holding off a pair of challengers late in a time of 9:15.05.

Sexton junior Tayvian Smith placed fourth in the 100 (11.12), fifth in the 200 (22.30) and anchored Sexton’s fourth-place 400 relay team, which also included Seth Bouyer, Hurley Young and Andrew Whitehorn.

Charlotte’s day was certainly not Brandt’s alone, although he was part of two relay teams that finished in second place. Charlotte’s 1,600 relay, which also included Phoenix Lawton, Evan Colosky and Bryce McConnell, set a PR and finished just behind Hamilton’s foursome (3:23.40) in the final boys’ race of the day.

The Orioles’ 800 relay, also featuring Jason Green, McConnell and Maliki Garza, finished in 1:28.99, just behind Berrien Springs (1:28.24). That foursome plans to compete in that event at the Adidas Track Nationals in two weeks.

After his victory in the 300 hurdles, Brandt took it easy and became increasingly excited as he realized how happy his teammates were for him.

“It’s my last year. It’s just amazing,” he said. “Just live. Living the dream.”

St. Johns’ Ava Schafer wins calculated 3,200 meters

Ava Schafer of St. Johns is just beginning her high school career. Her victory in the 3,200 — she passed Gaylord sophomore Katie Berkshire with about 600 meters to go — was more calculated than Brandt’s.

For much of the race, it looked like Berkshire had a slim lead. Schafer knew better.

“She runs really fast the first half, so I decided to keep my distance behind her,” Schafer said of Berkshire, “and then the last half I would catch up to her and pass her by about 600 yards (left).

“I’ve played with her before and I know she’s very strong, but that last half always gets her.”

Schafer, who finished with a PR of 10:39.77 – more than seven seconds ahead of Berkshire and another seven seconds ahead of the rest of the field – was then assigned half of her world, including her coaches and teammates, her cousin who is ‘good’. lucky charm” and grandmother who never misses a single meeting.

She wasn’t the only area competitor on the girls’ side with a strong day. St. Johns senior Ella Schafer finished fourth in the discus. DeWitt’s 3,200 relay team placed third, with Autumn Thompson, Ayla Holben, Mia Williams and Kayla Williams.

In the 400, Alma junior Joy Evans finished third (58.16) and Haslett’s Christina Dixon was fourth (58.21).

Contact Graham Couch at [email protected]. Follow him on X @Graham_Couch.