Zielinski dominates at her 1st Ken Bell; warm weather results in 357 PRs, many school records

May 3—TRAVERSE CITY — One meet record fell Friday at Traverse City Central.

And it fell big time. By a lot.

Traverse City Central freshman Lorelai Zielinski obliterated the discus record by almost 9 feet, smashing the mark held by East Kentwood's Tia Brooks in 2007.

Brooks' old record was 134'7.5". Zielinski threw 143'3" in Friday's 48th annual Ken Bell Invitational at Traverse City Central. Brooks went on to be a United States Olympian, placing in the shot put top 20 at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Zielinski won the discus by almost 8 feet, as East Kentwood's Kayla Harris also beat Brooks' meet distance at 135'5".

"She is a lot of fun to have on the team and loves to compete," TC Central head coach Paul Sanderson said. "Throwing is her favorite, of course, but she ran a couple relays at Graves/Swayze and is always willing to try anything."

Losing isn't one of those things.

Zielinski hasn't finished anything other than first in eight high school discus meets, and just once in shot put (earlier this week against Cadillac senior Makenzie Johns).

"I was kind of just happy and upbeat and not thinking about my throws," Zielinski said. "I was just happy to be here."

Her best heave of the day came within two feet of Central's school record of 145'4", set by Leah Dozema in 2021. It also set TCC's freshman record, breaking Zielinski's own previous mark.

Zielinski was a shot put national champion in middle school with a throw of 53'8" (with a lighter shot that middle schoolers use) that set the United States record.

"I do feel pressure," Zielinski said, "because I do have a reputation."

That helps push her, but it also is the reason she focuses on staying upbeat.

She won the shot put Friday as well, with a throw of 42'1.75" to outdistance Harris by about 9 inches.


Buckley came through in the day's final event to win the small-school division championship.

The Bears and Manistee were tied entering the day's final event, the mile relay.

Rockford won the mile relay and Petoskey placed second, but the Bears claimed third with a team of Addisen Harrand, Mikayla Kulawiak, Kinsey Peer and Aiden Harrand to win the team title by four points over the Mariners, who took seventh.

Division 3 No. 10-ranked St. Francis won the boys title over Manistee, while Rockford won both the large-school boys and girls crowns, each over runner-up East Kentwood. Rockford is ranked No. 1 in the state in boys and No. 2 in girls, with East Kentwood first in girls and second for boys.

For Division 4 No. 10-ranked Buckley, this comes just a few days after the Bears girls set school records in three events on the same day, breaking marks in the 3,200 relay, 400 relay and 300 hurdles.

Buckley's girls 800 relay also set a school record by more than 2.5 seconds. The quartet of Addisen Harrand, Kulawiak, Aiden Harrand and Brooklyn Frazee ran a fourth-place 1:50.15 that eclipsed the 1:52.7 set last year.

"We broke it last year, so we broke it again today," Frazee said. "We rewrote the whole record board last year."

Buckley senior and Wake Forest commit Aiden Harrand won the girls 800 by almost 10 seconds, finishing in 2:14.54, with East Kentwood's Lexi Hurst second in 2:23.82. She also won the 1,600 by over 18 seconds, as the only racer under five minutes at 4:57.59, with East Kentwood's Ava Lawrence second in 5:16.38.

Buckley's girls won the Ken Bell last season as well.

Traverse City Central's boys finished third, and No. 8-ranked TC West (without Ben Habers and Wallace Tupper II) took sixth. Petoskey's girls placed third, with Central fourth, followed by Buckley, Manistee and Division 4 No. 9-ranked Frankfort.


St. Francis junior Kate Classens set St. Francis' school record in the shot put with a toss of 36'7", her best of the season by almost a foot and a half.

She hit 35'2.5" in the season's first meet at Hart, then drifted back into the 33s and 32s until Friday's heave.

"It's a really cool experience," said Classens, a junior. "That's been my goal from the start of the season."

Now, her new goal is 40 feet.

"If I take it a little farther each throw, I should get there with a little practice," Classens said.

She also had a personal-best 85'3" discus throw Friday.


Traverse City Central held its first meet at its renovated track facilities.

The new artificial turf infield meant the long jump and pole vault pits needed to be moved, relocating to the adjacent former baseball field behind the bleachers. That also allowed for extra space, and Central put in two long jump pits, two pole vault runways, two shot put throwing lanes and then repurposed the former home baseball dugout for a discus shed. There are four practice circles for throwers in addition to the competition areas.

The high jump is the only field event that remains inside the track.

With an infield fence no longer possible because of the turf field, yellow plastic Bayshore Marathon barriers were used to cordon off the infield.

The Trojans borrowed a pole vault mat from TC West — which had its track facilities upgraded last year — to have both lanes going.


The meet saw Central use borrowed equipment from Manton to speed up the discus event.

Manton coach Alicia Helsel brought the team's measuring equipment, which uses a surveyor's tripod inside the cage to measure the distance to a wooden post a volunteer uses to mark the discus impact spot. The post, built in Manton's shop class, contains a level so it's straight up and down, and then the tripod measures the distance digitally and sends the readings to an iPad and the press box.

"It's fascinating," Classens said. "It goes by faster. Me, personally, I don't like to be throwing when the runners are already done racing."


Petoskey's boys and girls 400 relay teams broke school records at the meet.

The boys' quartet of CJ Hibbler, Seth Marek, Mitch Eberhart and Sam Mitas set the new mark fairly early in the day with a 43.04 that took second behind Rockford.

Their girls team of Nevaeh Leonard, Emma Mitas, Alexandra Petok and Madeline Loe won in 49.88 seconds to win the Ken Bell title and set a new school mark in the process.

Hibbler, who missed his junior year with a broken leg sustained in football, plans to play at Snow College in Utah next season.

"It hurt a lot, being out injured and watching my teammates breaking records," said Hibbler, who ran the opening leg of the record-setting relay. "But I'm proud of them. Sam is a ringleader."

Sam Mitas also broke Petoskey's 100-meter dash record, winning the event in 10.95 seconds.

"I've definitely been trying to get into the 10s," the junior said. "I had to find a good meet with good weather like today."

He also broke Hibbler's 200 record earlier this season.

"It's a dream," he said. "My freshman year, I wasn't the fastest; and looking at that (record) board, it's a dream come true."


The weather cooperated wholeheartedly Friday.

Morning rain turned into cloudless skies by the time field events began at 11 a.m. The day featured temperatures in the mid-60s — not too hot or cold — and minimal amounts of wind.

Coaches throughout the meet said it was the best conditions they'd run in this season, which resulted in a bevy of personal bests.

"This is our first meet that hasn't been cold or rainy," Onekama coach Tony Schrum said.

The meet featured 357 personal-best times or distances, not counting relays. That's 193 for the boys and 164 by the girls.


Traverse City West senior Willem DeGood is leading a resurgence in the Titan distance events.

He helped West's 3,200 relay to first place in a packed field, leading off a team that also included Sam King, Liam Wierzba and Joseph Sturtevant. The Titans won by 0.41 seconds over Marquette.

"We're on pace to probably break the school record by the end of the season," DeGood said. "We're on a pretty hard training schedule right now, so we'll get better."

The Titans' distance runners will taper down as the season goes along.

"This is probably the best distance crew we've had in a decade," DeGood said. "I've been here four years, and we've never run a 4x8 like that."

West's 3,200 relay record has stood for nearly 20 years.

DeGood also placed second in the 1,600 with East Kentwood's Isaac Tanis winning in 4:25.8 to DeGood's season-best 4:26.48.

"I talked to him after the race, and we both complimented each other on the last lap," DeGood said. "That's something I love about this sport. It's great to have people like that."


Manistee junior Audrey Huizinga got a head start on her competition, running varsity track as an eighth grader in New Mexico before moving to Michigan.

She used some of that experience Friday, setting personal bests in both the 200 and 400, winning each event with times of 26.12 and 58.91, respectively.

She attended Rehoboth Christian School in New Mexico, a school small enough to allow eighth-graders to play varsity sports.

"It gave me a lot of experience," said Huizinga, whose sister Anna was an all-state hurdler at Manistee. "I was definitely not as fast as I am now, but it made me strive to get what I can get."

Huizinga edged out Frankfort sophomore Sofia Alaimo-Schindler by 0.44 seconds in the 200 and was the only competitor to break a minute in the 400.

Manistee teammate Libby McCarthy won the high jump, clearing 5'0".


Maybe it's the Kingsley football player in him talking, but Chase Bott likes going up against the big guys.

After winning a Division 6 state championship in football last fall, Bott went head-to-head with Division 1 throwers and also came out on top.

Bott won the discus with a 157'1" heave, coming a few inches from winning the event by 10 feet.

"I like it more with them, because it's more competition," Bott said, pointing at throwers from East Kentwood and Hudsonville.

Bott said he's targeting Kingsley's school record of 169 feet.

"If I can get a good one out there," he said. "The ones (today) went straight up. I have to work on that."

Northern Michigan athletes dominated the discus and shot put, however, even with competitors from Division 1 powerhouses on hand.

Petoskey junior Korbin Sulitis placed second at 147'4", Manistee senior Caius Johns was third with a PR 147', and Petoskey senior Brody Shaw took fourth at 145'6".

In the shot put, it was much the same story, with Shaw winning with a PR 50-foot heave, Johns getting another PR with a second-place 49'1.5", Bott third at 48'7.25", Manton junior Carter Helsel fourth with a 48'1", and Benzie Central senior Ryan Kincaid's fifth-place 47'11.5".


Elk Rapids junior Max Ward won the 300-meter hurdles crown in 39.37 seconds, the only entrant to break 41 seconds. He also took fifth in the 110 hurdles.

Traverse City Central won the 1,600 boys relay in 3:30.36, just over three seconds ahead of runner-up TC St. Francis. The Trojan team of Asher Paul, Gaelan Blakeslee, Leland Brown and Quinten Henderson held off the Gladiators' quartet of Tucker Krumm, Lewis Walter, Robby Myler and Eddie Walter. Elk Rapids took third and Petoskey fourth.

Senior Kate Wood tied Charlevoix's pole vault record, clearing 8'6". She placed 10th, with Kingsley senior Kelsey Saxton placing fourth at 10'3", Manton sophomore Mattie LaFreniere sixth at 9'9", Petoskey sophomore Sarah Bailey seventh at 9'9", and Frankfort sophomore Willa Roth eighth at 8'9".

Charlevoix senior Katie Rohrer beat her own PR by 10 seconds to place fourth in the 1,600.

Benzie Central senior Mylie Kelly was runner-up in the 3,200, with teammate Nora Grossnickle third, Charlevoix senior Laina Sladics fifth, and Petoskey sophomore Ava Pawlick sixth.

Kingsley junior Norah Galton won the 300 hurdles in a personal-best 47.33 seconds, edging out Petoskey sophomore Sarah Bailey by 0.23.

The meet also featured three wheelchair races, a bit of a rarity. Kingsley coach Ron Hessem said the Ken Bell has had them before and is the only high school meet where he's seen it. Marquette junior Jim Bennett entered unopposed and dashed to titles in the 100, 200 and 400 events.

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