By Steve Vedder
Special for Second Half
HUDSONVILLE – The Kalamazoo Hackett boys track & field team overcame small numbers Saturday to repeat as champion at the Lower Peninsula Division 4 Finals at Baldwin Middle School.
Despite having just nine athletes competing, Hackett finished with 64 points to 46 for runner-up Southfield Christian. A year ago, Hackett had six athletes on its Finals roster and finished with 51 points, 15 more than second-place Sand Lake.
Irish junior Gus Magnell said the team's goal is to simply outwork opponents.
"When nine guys put in all the time we do, you get close," he said. "Our core is very close. We just have it in our minds that we're going to work. It's played out well for us."
Leading the Irish was senior Heath Baldwin, who won the 110 hurdles (14.84), 300 hurdles (40.13) and high jump (6-6) while taking third in the long jump. Baldwin, who said he would never give up competing in four events, finished with 36 points.
"I just want to put the team in the best position," he said. "It keeps me going. It's something I've always done. I like to prove I'm the best athlete out there."
Breckenridge's Brennan Waslusky won the discus (161.08) and shot (54-2.75).
Waslusky said his motivation came from being one of seven Breckenridge football players on the track team. Breckenridge lost in the Division 8 Final in that sport last fall.
"It was in the back of my mind," he said of a track title taking the place of the fall’s runner-up finish. "It was like we just wanted to do (one) better for the school. We came up short in football, and we wanted to show people we were the real deal."
Hillsdale Academy had a pair of champs Saturday in Jacob Krutsch in the pole vault and Ian Calvert in the 800.
Other winners were Carson Voss of Dansville in the long jump, Jakobe Derrick of Flint Beecher in the 100, Zach Wright of Potterville in the 1,600, Dubem Amene of Southfield Christian in the 400, Concord's Vincent Giuliano in the 200 and Coleman Clark of Carson City-Crystal in the 3,200.
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PHOTO: Kalamazoo Hackett’s Heath Baldwin, left, and Gus Magnell, far right, finish first and second, respectively, in the 110 hurdles at the Lower Peninsula Division 4 Finals on Saturday. (Click to see more from RunMichigan.com.)