Dunn wins pair of state championships…Saugatuck boys place second in team standings
By Jason Wesseldyk
JENISON—Coaches and athletes often talk about the importance of mental preparation when it comes to success in athletics.
You’re not likely to get an argument from Saugatuck senior Brad Dunn in that regard following his performance at the Division 3 boys’ track state finals on Saturday, June 1.
“I feel like I had a great mentality going in,” Dunn said. “I had the mindset that I was going to be state champion.”
And a state champion he was, as Dunn took top honors in both the 110-meter hurdles and the 300 hurdles as he posted times of 14.63 seconds and 40.06 seconds, respectively.
The 20 points earned by Dunn for those two wins accounted for nearly half of Saugatuck’s team total of 44 points. That was good enough for a second-place tie with Pewamo-Westphalia with 44 points, a single point behind state champion Ithaca’s 45-point total.
Dunn joins his mother Bev and his older brother Blake as state champs in track.
“It means a lot to me,” said Dunn, who will continue his athletic career by joining the baseball team at Grand Rapids Community College. “Winning those two titles is one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. I’ve been working on winning those two titles for many years now and my work has finally paid off.
“Also I was able to go out on top as a champion in my last high school race.”
The 110 hurdles couldn’t have been any closer without being a tie, as Dunn finished one one-hundredth of a second in front of Caro’s Nathan Furst. Dunn secured the win despite knocking over the final hurdle and struggling to stay upright.
The 300 hurdles was a cakewalk by comparison, as Dunn finished more than half a second in front of Roscommon’s Brenden Coulter.
Saugatuck teammate Benny Diaz was third at 40.77.
“Before both races I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and I had to be close to perfect,” Dunn said. “I had to get a good start for both hurdles events.
“In the 110s after the last hurdle, I had to give it my all and lean as much as I could. In the 300s, going around the corner I had to turn on the jets to get past everybody.”
Dunn was also part of the 4×200 relay team that finished fifth at 1:31.18. Diaz, Conner Seifert and Collin Yarde were also on the team.
Corey Gorgas, meanwhile, ended his high school career with a second-place finish in the 3,200 (9:24.38) and a third-place finish in the 1,600 (4:21.44).
Gorgas had been seeded first in both events, but a stress fracture in his ankle prevented him from putting up his best times.
The best showing for the Saugatuck girls came from Jillian Johnson, who was fourth in the long jump at 16 feet, eight inches in just her fifth meet competing in the event.
The top-seeded 4×800 relay team of Taylor Conner, Thea Johnson, Natalie Martinson and Kierstyn Stoin placed fifth at 9:49.21.
Other All-State finishes included Thea Johnson in the 800 (fifth at 2:19.63), Natalie Beckman and Morgan Beckman in the discus (sixth at 107-11 and seventh at 105-10, respectively), Catherine Pond in the pole vault (eighth at 9-6), the 4×200 relay team of Stoin, Kyrah-Lynn Rodriguez, Thea Johnson and Jillian Johnson (1:48.75) and the 4×400 relay team of Stoin, Rodriguez, Jillian Johnson and Thea Johnson (4:09.79).