A Season in Review – Track & Field in Michigan

Michigan is known for producing some phenomenal runners, a fact that is easy to see when local names appear in national level results. This track season was no different. A number of talented Michigan runners took their racing past the MHSAA State Finals and into the first few weeks of summer. Among these places were New Balance Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina, Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle, Washington and the Adidas Dream Mile in New York City.

The distance and middle distance events saw an abundance of national participation from Michigan runners.

Grant Fisher
Fisher led the way, making a name for himself as one of, if not the best, male distance runner in the nation. After two state championships at the MHSAA D1 State Finals, he competed in the Nike Festival of Miles just five days later. It was there that he became the seventh high school male to break the 4-minute barrier. He achieved the repeat from 2014 at the Adidas Dream Mile in New York City and placed 2nd in the 2 mile at Brooks PR Invitational, breaking the Michigan State record in the process with a time of 8:43.57. Fisher will continue his running career at Stanford University and leaves behind a legacy, as well as a lofty goal, for Michigan runners to come.

Donovan Brazier
In addition to his repeat state championship, Brazier took his 800m run talents to the next level post-season. He won the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle in a time of 1:47.55, the fourth fastest time ever run by a high school male. He won this race in an elite field by over three seconds. A disqualification at the USATF Junior World Championships ended Brazier’s season early, but he will continue to run track and field for Texas A&M next spring.

Logan Wetzel
Finishing many races this year with nationally ranked times, Wetzel made a name for himself as a premier distance runner. He placed 2nd in both the 800m and 1600m to Braizer and Fisher at the MHSAA D1 State Finals. He ran a personal best in the mile at the Adidas Dream Mile, placing 5th. At New Balance Nationals, Wetzel was the closing leg of the winning 4×1 mile team and runner-up DMR team with his Saline teammates. Wetzel finished a strong season at the USATF Junior World Championships placing 4th in the 1500, a few steps behind Fisher. He will continue his career at Villanova in the fall.

Audrey Belf
Belf, one of Michigan’s top distance female athletes, repeated her 2 mile state championship at the MHSAA D1 State Finals and continued the longer distance events post-season. She ran the 2 mile at Brooks PR and placed 5th with a time of 10:14.78. At the USATF Junior World Championships, she placed 4th in the 5000m on a hot day in Eugene with a time of 16:43.36. She will continue her cross country and track career at Georgetown University in the fall.

Annie Fuller
Fuller added to her state championship collection with a win in both the 1600m run and 800m run at the MHSAA D3 State Finals. She was invited to the Brooks PR Invitational and placed 5th in the mile with a time of 4:48.29. She will continue her career at Michigan State University in the fall.

Rachel DaDamio
Usually found in the front during races with her teammate Audrey Belf, DaDamio has accumulated great success on the state and national stage during the past year. At the MHSAA D1 State Finals she won the 1600m run with a time of 4:46.05. At New Balance Nationals, she placed 3rd in the 2 mile with a time of 10:24.72. She will continue her running career at Notre Dame in the fall.

Ersula Farrow
Farrow dominated middle distance throughout her career along with her position on talented relay teams. She added to her state totals with an 800m run win at the MHSAA D1 State Finals and was the closing leg of the Oak Park 3200m relay state championship team. She won the 800m at the Midwest Meet of Champions with a time of 2:07.09. She placed 17th in this event at New Balance Nationals. At nationals she was part of numerous Motor City TC relay times that achieved All-American status. Farrow will continue her running career at Clemson University.

Sarah Kettel
Some post-season injuries kept Kettel from her potential in racing on the national scale, but her career continued to blossom this spring. She ran an impressive 4:52 1600m and 10:26 3200m during the season. Kettel was awarded All-American honors in both the 5000m and 2 mile at indoor nationals in March. Going into her senior year, Kettel is one of the top names to watch for in national success.

Along with distance success, Michigan sprinters and field event participants held their own on the national level.

Sekayi Bracey
After three state championships in the 100m dash, 200m dash and long jump at the MSHAA D1 State Finals, Bracey took her talents to New Balance Nationals. There, she made it to the finals in both sprinting events, placing 7th in the 100m with time of 11.68 and 8th in the 200m with a time of 24.54.

Mackenzie Shell
Shell specializes in pole vault, and it showed when she won the MHSAA D1 State Finals. She competed at the Midwest Meet of Champions and won the event there. At New Balance Nationals she placed 3rd and at the USATF Junior World Championships she placed 6th with a height of 13-5, her best this outdoor season.

Motor City Track Club
The Motor City Track Club had multiple sprint/middle distance relay teams out of Oak Park Michigan that achieved high places at New Balance Nationals. On the boys’ side, they placed 8th in the 4x100m relay, and 11th in the 4x200m relay. On the girls’ side, they placed 2nd in the 4x200m relay, 2nd in the 4x400m relay and 4th in the 4x800m relay, achieving All-American honors in each.

Author: Kenzie Weiler -Cedar Springs. 2015 MHSAA D2 3200 meter State Champ and will run for Michigan State University in the fall.