Saugatuck boys’ track coach Rick Bauer (front row, far left) and his team won the Division 4 state championship for the second straight season and for the third time in four years. (Photo by Scott Sullivan)Blake Dunn won both the 110-meter hurdles and the 300 hurdles, claiming both in record time. (Photo by Scott Sullivan)

Saugatuck wins third boys’ track state title in four-year span

By: 
Jason Wesseldyk

According to the 1977 song by Meatloaf, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.”
Three out of four is even better, however.
Just ask Saugatuck boys’ track coach Rick Bauer and the members of his team.
The Indians racked up 66 points to win the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 4 state championship for the second straight year and for the third time in four years. Evart was second with 32 points, followed by Cassopolis at third with 30 at the Saturday, June 4, event.
Saugatuck, which shared the championship with Concord last season, was runner-up in 2014 after winning the program’s first title in 2013.
For Bauer, it’s all pretty heady stuff.
“I never thought in my wildest dreams that we would win one state title in track, let alone three,” he said. “I thought we would someday win a state title, but it would be in cross country. 
“For a long time our track program was distance runners. When George Sipes joined our staff we started to develop field events and our program improved. The next step was developing sprinters and hurdles and as we did that we became a well-rounded track team. I look back now at some of our earlier teams and think we could have had more success had I known where to put the talent we had.”
Bauer has no trouble figuring out where to put junior Blake Dunn, who won both the 110-meter hurdles and the 300 hurdles, doing so in record-setting fashion.
Dunn finished the 110 hurdles in 14:33, while winning the 300 hurdles in 38.31.
“I knew I ran well, but I didn’t know if I ran well enough to get those two records,” Dunn said. “When I found out I got them, it was just a joyous feeling. It was awesome.”
Bauer has begun running out of adjectives to describe Dunn, a four-sport standout who has garnered All-State recognition in football, basketball and baseball in addition to track.
“Blake is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete for a school,” Bauer said. “I say that because he has talent, drive and desire to win and he is really humble. One may get a kid with his talent or drive or desire to win, but to have all of those and be as humble as he is, it’s refreshing and makes life a lot easier on all of us.”
Not that the Indians are a one-man show.
“The distance guys were quick to point out that we scored enough that we could have won without Blake’s points,” Bauer said. “But Blake gives everyone confidence. He takes a lot of pressure off everyone else and he does things so well and competes at such a high level others see that and think, ‘Heck, if he’s doing that, I can too.’
“Blake is the glue that holds this all together. He has helped change the culture in the school. A lot more kids are dual sporting because of the example he has shown.”
While Saugatuck didn’t win any other events, it did put together top-tier finishes in several.
 

For full story, pick up a copy of the June 9 issue of The Allegan County News or The Commercial Record or subscribe to the e-edition.

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