Saugatuck boys ‘steal’ points en route to secring regional championship
By Jason Wesseldyk
KENT CITY—Generally speaking, Saugatuck boys’ track coach Rick Bauer does not condone thievery.
When it comes to points at meets, however, Bauer wants to see his athletes stealing as much as possible.
That’s just what the Indians did at a Division 3 regional on Friday, May 18, as Saugatuck finished with 103.5 points to claim the championship by 26.5 points over runner-up Kent City.
“Going in, I honestly thought we would be second or third,” Bauer said. “But the kids did an amazing job and we stole points all over the place.
“We expected to get points out of our elite kids: Corey Gorgas, Dylan Avalos and Brad Dunn. But to win, we needed to get those points that were unexpected. That happened a lot today. The way I figured it we stole 24 points. Without our studs we would not have a chance to win a regional, but it was our role players who stepped up and won this regional title.”
Among those “stolen” points were:
—Jeff Kohlmeyer wasn’t expected to score in the 100-meter dash and placed eighth (15.96) for one point.
—Despite not putting together a 800 relay team all season, Bauer decided to have Jacob Stewart, Kalib Ducharme, Kohlmeyer and Collin Yarde compete in the event, hoping for a point or two. Instead, that group finished fourth (1:37.54) for five points.
—Ray Bartlett placed sixth in the 1,600 (4:50.80) for three points when he wasn’t expected to score.
—Bauer counted on a sixth or seventh-place showing from Dunn—a hurdle specialist—in the long jump. Instead, Dunn placed third (19-9.5) for six points.
—Jared Squire was expected to place seventh or eighth in the pole vault and instead placed third (12-3) for an additional four points.
—Yarde placed third in the high jump (5-8) when he was expected to place seventh or eighth.
—The 400 relay team of Stewart, Kohlmeyer, Dunn and Yarde was supposed to place second, but won the event with a time of 45.10 for two more points.
—Keiran Boerema was seeded seventh in the 300 hurdles (45.36) and came in fifth for two extra points.
“I know by the casual observer it looks like we ran away with the meet, but in all honesty it was much closer that it looked,” Bauer said. “It really was a total team effort.”
In terms of the events Bauer expected to do well in, Gorgas and Dunn led the way.
Gorgas won 1,600 at 4:21.69 before claiming the 3,200 at 9:34.02.
“Corey was amazing as usual,” Bauer said. “In the 1,600 he led wire to wire. He looked to be struggling in the 3,200 until 1,000 to go when turned it on came back from five seconds down to take an easy win by 11 seconds.”
Dunn won the 110 hurdles at 14.87—a second-and-a-half ahead of runner-up Benny Gonzales of Grant—before taking the top spot in the 300 hurdles with a time of 42.05.
“Brad was a man among boys,” Bauer said. “He has really improved in his focus and in his technique. I am looking forward to his state finals races
“He has not lost a 300 race all year and some of the guys that he has beat head to head have posted better times. I believe in Brad and his abilities.”
Avalos placed second in the shot put with a distance of 47-11.5 and third in the discus at 125-11. His best distance in the shot came on his final throw and qualified him for the state finals.
Dylan Qualified in the shot put on his last throw. He was in second and was .5 inch from auto qualifying when a kid from Grant out threw him moving into second. Dylan came threw and threw 47’ 11.5” and earned his spot into state finals.
Bauer also praised Squires’ third-place effort in the pole vault.
“This is a kid that just stated vaulting a year ago and now he is going to state finals,” Bauer said. “That’s incredible. He’s really as student of the event and will do whatever it takes to get better. I only wish we had him another year.”