Hunter Zartman won the 800-meter run to help Otsego claim the regional championship. (Photo by Jason Wesseldyk)

Otsego boys get past Plainwell for regional championship

Jason Wesseldyk

The distance events have been the backbone of the Otsego boys’ track program throughout the season.
That was the case once again at the Division 2 regional at Sturgis on Friday, May 17.
The Bulldogs took top honors in all four distance events—the 800-meter run, the 1,600, the 3,200 and the 4x800 relay—to help propel themselves to the regional championship with 99 points.
Plainwell was second with 81 points. Allegan was sixth with 47 points and Hopkins was seventh with 42 points.
Making the win even more special for Otsego was the fact that the Otsego girls’ team also came away with a regional title.
“This season has been quite a ride,” Otsego coach Matt Grile said. “All the accolades should go to our athletes and coaching staff. The only delineation between the boys’ and the girls’ teams are in name, as we all practice and compete together. 
“It’s a pretty special thing to see when two groups work together day in and day out as one, to reach a common goal. I’m just happy to be part of it. It means a great deal that we were able to win a regional as a team. I feel that it helps show our team how hard work pays off.”
Alex Comerford, who will take his running talents to the University of Syracuse next fall, led the way for Otsego with three winning performances.
In addition to claiming the top spot in the 1,600 (4:18.41) and the 3,200 (9:25.7), Comerford also anchored the winning 4x800 relay team. Logan Kolhoff, Andnet Doboer and Colin Mulder ran the first three legs of that race, posting a time to 8:20.82.
Hunter Zartman rounded out the distance dominance for Otsego, winning the 800 by crossing the finish line at 1:57.54.
“We came to compete as individuals and let the cards fall where they may as a team,” Grile said. “I thought that once again we were very consistent as individuals, which lead to a team win.”
Alex Rafael was solid for the Bulldogs in the throws, placing second in the shot put at 50-5 and taking third in the discus at 138-4.
Jordan Ross (6-0 in the high jump), Mulder (9:47.2 in the 3,200) and Tyler DeHaan (43.0 in the 300 hurdles) also secured third-place finishes.
Grile was particularly impressed with the effort turned in by DeHaan.
“He turned in his best race of the season and almost qualified for the state meet,” Grile said of DeHaan. “It was quit thrilling to watch and very unexpected. Tyler has the ability and he found it at a big time.”
Like Comerford, Noah Evers was a double winner for Plainwell. He won the shot put at 50-1 and took the discus at 159-1 to sweep the throws.
Caleb Rogers was second for the Trojans in the discus (145-6) and third in the shot put (48-3). The 4x100 relay team of Devon Agusteli, Tristan James, Mac Hemmingway and Austin Williams also took second at 45.12. Other third-place finishes for Plainwell went to Williams in the 100 (11.68) and Devin Nelson in the 400 (52.82).
Trey Collins took first in the pole vault for Hopkins (12-10) to go with a runner-up showing in the high jump at 6-0.
Allegan didn’t secure any event wins, but the Tigers did get runner-up showings from Blane Johnson in the 800 at 1:59.32 and Justin Smith in the 300 hurdles at 42.32. Kaleb Smith was third in the 800 at 2:01.85 and the 4x800 relay team of Kaleb Smith, Matt Maka, Connor Harlan and Johnson was third at 8:31.81.
“We had some strong showings,” Allegan coach Evan Williams said.


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