GLADSTONE - The Marquette Redmen have long held dominance in distance track events, but the balance of power has shifted. That was evident during Thursday's Division I track regional as the Gladstone Braves easily captured their first title in three years.
Kyle Arvan was a big reason for the Braves' resurgence. He won the 3200 for the first time, by a full second ahead of Andrew Stenberg of Escanaba, and captured the 1600 two seconds ahead of Jared Ogren. Both were personal bests.
"Kyle was actually seeded fourth in the two mile. It's just excellent, looking at the way things were seeded, you knew it was going to be a dogfight," said Gladstone coach Gary Whitmer.
Jared Vuksan of Gladstone heaves the shot put for a school record 54-07.5 during the Division I regional Thursday at Gladstone. (Daily Press photo by Keith Shelton)
"That happening, plus the field events where we took three places in discus and shot put and two places in long jump, pole vault and high jump is just excellent."
In the 3200, Arvan was steadily in fourth place until the final lap, when he rocketed in front.
"I kind of stuck with fourth place, I wasn't sure how my legs would respond," he said. "I'm really happy though, beyond joyful really."
In field events, Jared Vuksan stole the spotlight with a 54-foot-7.5 throw in shot put that broke Kent King's school record. Vuksan claimed the record wasn't on his mind with the unfavorable windy conditions.
"I didn't expect to break the record today with the cold," he said. "It's a little tougher in the cold. Hopefully I can beat this record again at the U.P. finals."
It was the second record of King's that Vuksan broke in the last month. He previously broke King's record in discus.
"I'm excited for him. I'm happy to see it and not have to hear about it," said King, who coaches the weights unit. "It was a bomb that he threw and he's going to build on that. I like to see kids break records, but I want him to win at the U.P. finals, he's never won one before."
Senior Justin Pederson also broke a school record, winning the 100-meter dash in 10.97. Matt Petr held the mark of 10.98.
Kenner Broullire of Manistique missed the cut in the ultra-competitive 100 dash, but he did blow away the competition in the 300 hurdles. Displaying a tremendous burst of speed between hurdles, he finished a second ahead of Marquette's Zach Taggart.
"I was only .14 seconds off the school record," said an exasperated Broullire. "It was pretty exciting to even finish where I did."
Escanaba settled for a fifth place finish, but qualified two relay teams and had three second place finishes in 800,1600 and 3200.
"Today went well, we're very very young - freshmen and sophomore loaded - and even in races where we didn't qualify, kids ran personal bests today. I'm happy, and I'm a tough critic," said Eskymo coach Ryan Wender.
Ogren ran a personal best 4:45.70 in the 1600 to capture second place, shaving 13 seconds off his previous best and Stenberg held his own against Arvan in the 3200 and finished fourth in the 1600. Jake Walker captured second in the 800.
"We talked to Andy and he can run a great pace, Arvan just has a very nice kick at the end," said Wender. "Andy and I talked and he has to get out a little bit earlier and try to extend himself. He can do it, he has two more meets against Arvan and we'll see what happens.
"I've been riding Ogren like a rented mule. He has so much ability and he can do great things. "Jake ran well in all three races today."
Esky also qualified in the 3200 and 1600 relays, falling just short of first in the 3200.
"The relays ran well and it was close in the 3200. Eddy Terres ran the best 800 he's ever run on the second leg. He's a great kid and I'm happy for him. Both Escanaba and Gladstone have nice relay teams there."