Perhaps the Brighton girls track team’s dominance of Howell on Tuesday was expected with the Bulldogs coming off a 4-1 head-to-head record last season and a second-place finish in the KLAA West. For the Brighton boys, however, it was not.
The Brighton boys were winless last year, last in the division with an 0-5 record. Not much more was expected from outsiders of head coach Otha Hill’s squad entering this season, especially with the track team’s participation numbers being down from a season ago. But after dominating the Howell boys Tuesday at home, 91-47, Brighton appears to be in the process of staging quite the turnaround.
Although it’s still early, the Brighton boys have gone from winless to undefeated, now 2-0 with the other win coming against Milford. The girls are, too, after their crushing, 123.5-12.5, defeat of the Highlanders on Tuesday as well.
“We don’t have as many kids this year,” Hill said. “But the ones we do have are working hard and pushing each other.”
That was certainly evident Tuesday.
Hill said he knew the boys would be strong in the field events this season, and they have proven that to be true. The Brighton boys won four of the five field competitions Tuesday, outscoring Howell, 34-11, which was highlighted by sweeps in the shot put and discus.
“If you can come out with 30 points in the field events, we’re doing pretty good,” Hill said.
The long jump went to Zeke Sherry (19-9), shot put to Will Taylor (41-1 1/2), discus to Sean Frank (131- 8 1/2) and high jump to Chris Triffo (6-0). Howell’s Alex Babits was the Highlanders’ lone field event winner, his 13-feet 6-inch pole vault easily the day’s best.
But it was the group of runners Hill was most impressed with, and perhaps no runner more than senior Garrett McPeek, who the Brighton boys coach praised after it was over.
McPeek was part of the 3200 relay team that posted Tuesday’s best time (8:37.80). He also won both the individual 800 and mile events, his time of 4:33.30 in the latter being the best he’s recorded in a spring race, though still not where he wants it to be.
“It’s not my personal record,” he said, “but it’s my best time I’ve ran outdoors. … I haven’t been running quite as fast times as I want so far, but I know I’ll get there.”
McPeek is aiming for at least a 4:26.00, which he said doubles as his personal record indoors and the spring track season’s qualifying time for states. He believes shaving those seven seconds off his time will happen as the season progresses. According to him, it has to.
“This means everything to me,” McPeek said. “This is the only sport I do, running, at this point. So I put all my extracurricular in it.”
Brighton junior sprinter Garrett Bowles also opened eyes by winning both the 100- and 200-meter dashes. In the former, Bowles ran an 11.37 and, in the latter, he came in at 23.5, edging Howell racers both times.
“Great performance,” said Hill, summing up the day. “Everybody’s fired up about this season and they wanted to just continue on with another victory and they decided to do it today.”
For the Highlanders boys, Ryan Moore won the two-mile run with a time of 9:58.68.
“He’s a really big runner for us,” said Howell coach Eric Schrock, who said his team isn’t where it needs to be yet, but is making progress. “Our sprinters are starting to pick things up. … We have a lot of good things going for us. We’re trying to make every meet our base of where we’re at and we want to get better. And our times have improved.”
On the girls side, it was all Brighton. The Bulldogs earned a sweep, winning all 17 events.
Alyssa Picano won both the shot put and the discus with throws of 27-8 and 72-5, respectively. Abbey Chamberlin triumphed in the long jump (15-3 1/2), Katie Raby in the pole vault (9-0), and Nadia Bowwhuis won the high jump (4-9).
Brighton swept the top-three spots in 10 of the 17 events.
“Ths second meet is where we evaluate and coaches do their thing,” Schrock said. “We put kids in different spots and we’re able to see who’s going to be where and see that, yeah, we’re getting there. It’d be nice to put Brighton last, though.”
Contact Anthony Odoardi at (517) 204-9456 or at email@example.com.