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Fisher and Belf break state records at Hillsdale
Wetzel and Kettel join the all-time greats

 

Hillsdale, April 24-Four top Michigan high schoolers measured themselves against collegiate competition at the Gina Relays on Friday night at Hillsdale College. With temps in the mid-50s and no noticeable wind, conditions played out perfectly. In accordance with MHSAA rules, all the preps ran unattached.

In the men’s 1500, both Grant Fisher and Logan Wetzel ran in the championship heat. The first 200 was the slowest, as the runners showed confusion over who the rabbit was. “We were all looking at each other seeing who would take it and nobody took it. So everybody was yelling at each other,” said Fisher. The rabbit eventually made it to the front by the 400, but was gone a lap later. Into that void came Grzegorz Kalinowski, a 24-year-old Pole who is being coached by Ron Warhurst. Kalinowski ran 3:41.80 last year, along with a 1:48.44 for 800.

By 300, Fisher ran a half-step ahead of Kalinowski with Wetzel a bit deeper in the pack. The rest of the race didn’t shake up the positioning much. At 400, Fisher was 61.5. The next laps took him 59.9 and 60.3. Kalinowski took the lead around 800. On the final 300, he drove strong and Fisher wasn’t able to dent his lead. The high schooler, just two days after his 18th birthday, didn’t show his big meet snap at the finish—but then this wasn’t a big meet, and he’s in a training phase.

Kalinowski won in 3:44.51. Fisher clocked a state record 3:46.15, breaking his own 3:46.71 set en route at the Dream Mile in New York last year. His last lap was 58.67 and his last 800 took 1:59.34. Kalinowski finished with a 57.31. Fisher and his coach, Mike Scannell, weren’t disappointed, but they weren’t celebrating. “We’ve only done strengthwork,” said Scannell. “This is about what I expected.”

In fifth, Wetzel made it clear that he has a very promising future. His 3:48.67 makes him the No. 4 runner in Michigan history, behind only Fisher and Omar Kaddurah of Grand Blanc, and Pontiac Central’s Steve Elliot from 1975.

The finish, with Kalinowski several steps ahead of Fisher's state record.

The championship 5000 featured Audrey Belf, last year’s national junior champion from Birmingham Seaholm, and Sarah Kettel, the Nike Cross regional champion. From the start Belf ran at the front alongside Michigan State’s Allison Lunau and Skylair Hilton of Southern Indiana. Kettel, meanwhile, moved up gradually through the pack. As the last lap began, Belf ran second on Lunau’s shoulder, while Kettel had moved up to fourth, but still faced a large gap between her and the leaders.

With 200 to go, Belf took off, and produced a stunning sprint that left Lunau nearly three seconds behind at the finish. Her 16:29.48 victory is an outdoor state record, breaking the 16:36.34 that Marissa Treece of Maple City Glen Lake ran at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in 2007. In fourth, Kettel clocked an impressive 16:41.25 moving to No. 3 all-time in state history, just 0.08 ahead of current Michigan star Erin Finn on the list.

Said Belf, “I felt smooth and energized the whole race. With about 200 to go, I thought if I have it in me, I’d better go. I guess I had it in me.”

Belf, telling her mom how it went.