After three days of practice our season, like everyone else’s, was suspended and then came to an end this week after the cancellation of the remainder of the school year.
For the first three days the enthusiasm, talent and work ethic were off the charts. As it always does, this came down to the leadership of the senior class and the class of 2020 is a special group.
Because we won’t have a chance to see their accomplishments during the season, or honor them for regional, conference, and statewide honors, I wanted to write about the outstanding 2020 senior class to recognize their achievements.
Gabriel Avery: Gabe came out for track as a junior. He made a lasting impression on the team and coaches when he upset Joey Zorn in the preliminary round of our annual 40 Meter March Madness. Gabe was part of a very strong and competitive group of sprinters. He battled through tough competition to earn the lead-off leg of the 800 meter relay team. At the Regional championships Gabe’s strong first leg put the team in position to qualify for the state meet. Unfortunately Gabe injured his foot and was unable to compete at States. As a senior Gabe had a tremendous basketball season where he started at point guard. In every game I saw Gabe was the quickest player on the court. If we were able to compete this season Gabe could have been the key component in three state championship contending relay teams.
Dalton Davidson: While Dalton came out for track for the first time as a junior he took to it like a duck takes to water. He immediately earned a place on the 400 and 800 meter relays and within a month Dalton also claimed a place on the 1600 meter relay. Dalton was part of a regional championship 400 meter relay and also ran key legs on the state qualifying 800 and 1600 meter relays. At the 2019 State meet Dalton helped the 400 meter relay to a 7th place finish and an identical 7th place finish in the 800 meter relay, both of which were the highest a Powers team has placed since 2004. After 3 lightning delays Dalton’s 1600 meter relay team took the track under the lights at about 11:30 pm. Battling for the entire race, the team took 3 seconds off their best time and finished 9th overall, about 6 spots higher than we were seeded. This was the 2nd fastest time in school history, just behind the school record team of the previous year that had 3 seniors. Dalton is going to attend Michigan State where if he doesn’t walk on to the MSU track team his high school coach will hunt him down.
Hollister Fechik: Not much else to say about the 2 year team captain and school record holder. A true blue collar athlete, all Hollister did for 4 years was show up every day and work as hard as he could. As a sophomore Hollister anchored the regional champion 3200 meter relay team in a time of 8:02 which was only 0.5 seconds off the then school record. A few weeks later Hollister combined with 3 seniors to shatter the school record in the 1600 meter relay with the outstanding time of 3:24.21. As a junior Hollister stepped his game up to fill the void that was left by the graduation of the incredible class of 2018. Hollister had the strength and speed to compete well in any event on the track from the 100 meter dash to the 1600 meter run, but his best event might have been off the track. Hollister cleared 6’2 in the high jump and qualified for the state meet in 2019. He also competed in the state meet in the 3200 and 1600 meter relays. Hollister’s best open 400 ranks him 7th all time for the Chargers and it is almost a certainty that Hollister and classmate Dalton Davidson would have both challenged the school record in the 400 meter dash. Hollister is being recruited by a number of colleges to run track and as of now has not made his decision. Whichever school ends up with Hollister will be getting a great athlete, excellent student and all around incredible person.
Ethan Freel: We couldn’t be more disappointed in missing the opportunity to see what Ethan would accomplish this senior season. Ethan had tremendous freshman and sophomore seasons with some real flashes of potential. He improved continuously and things looked like they were really coming together. In his junior year he developed lower leg issues which challenged him for well over a year. Ethan maintained his focus and determination throughout a long period of frustrating setbacks and his tremendous fortitude paid off when he ran the race of his career and qualified for the State Finals. Ethan was poised to pick up where he left off in the fall.
Caleb Hodge: Caleb came out for the track team as a junior at the urging of his basketball coach. He quickly turned into one of the most enthusiastic members of the team. While he was beat out of a spot on the relay teams this did not slow Caleb down. Caleb was there every day keeping the entire team sharp. Everyone knew that if there was a slip up Caleb was ready to step in, Caleb would have made everyone better in 2020 as well.
Brandon Iordanou: I don’t know anyone who has overcome more or come farther in four years of running than Brandon. Brandon has been an inspiration to watch grow and develop through the years. There isn’t anyone I was more excited to see run this year than Brandon. Brandon has not just grown physically but has become an outstanding focused competitor.
Thankfully there will be another opportunity to watch Brandon run as he continues his running career at Mott Community College.
Andrew Jandernoa: Many teams have coaches on the playing field. Andrew was a coach on the track. If you came to any practice you’d probably notice that Andrew was the last person to leave every day. Andrew’s main events were the 110 high hurdles and the 300 low hurdles. Over 3 years Andrew went from 20.96 to 17.11 and a spot on the all region team in the hurdles. I have little doubt that Andrew would have contended for a top 2 regional finish and a spot in the state finals. Andrew is going to attend Kettering University in the fall and I expect to hear good things about him in the future.
Carter Owens: Carter was poised for a breakout senior year. A lot of great memories but the one that sticks out most was Carter running the 2 mile race three times in four days his sophomore year. He missed the Regional Additional Qualifying standard in the Davison Invitational on Friday by less than one second. He came back less than 12 hours later at the Freshman/Sophomore Meet in Fenton and again the following Monday in eighty degree weather just missing the standard again.
Carter was one of a handful of runners to run in 3 State Finals in cross country and he missed running four years by less than one second. One positive is that we are looking forward to seeing what Carter can do as he continues running at Rochester University.
Elijah Redds: My number one recruiting target for 3 years, Elijah finally came out for track as a junior. Elijah’s first love is basketball where at 5’10 (if Coach Burks is measuring) Elijah plays at about 6’6 worth of toughness. His toughness and intelligence on the basketball court translated well to track and field where Elijah was a contributor in the relays and especially in his main event, the long jump. Along with Donovan Franklin, Elijah gave the Chargers a powerful one two punch in the long jump. I’m sure we would have had another great year.
Nevaeh Sanders: As a sophomore transfer Nevaeh was not eligible to compete in the 2018 season. He trained with the team but he wasn’t able to wear the Burnt Orange and Navy Blue until 2019. Nevaeh quickly made up for lost time as he won the 60 meter dash at the Jim Gardner Catholic schools invite and locked himself into the anchor position of the 400 and 800 meter relays. At the regional championships Nevaeh led the Chargers with an individual regional title in the 100 meter dash, a title in the 400 meter relay and a runner up finish in the 800 meter relay. He followed that up with an even better performance at the state meet where he finished 12th in the 100 and anchored the 400 and 800 meter relays to matching 7th place finishes. With a personal record in the 100 meter dash of 11.30 FAT Sanders ranks 2nd all time for the Chargers. Anyone who saw Nevaeh during football and basketball seasons can attest to the gains Nevaeh made in strength, speed, maturity and leadership as a senior. I have little doubt that had there been a season Nevaeh would have contended for an individual title in the 100 meter dash and run the anchor leg on the 400, 800 and 1600 meter relay teams that would have been among the favorites to win state titles. Nevaeh has accepted an offer to play football and run track at Siena Heights University. I’m certain that Nevaeh has his best days on the track ahead of him and I look forward to seeing him compete for the Saints over the next four years.
Griffin Werschky: Another 4 year letter winner, Griffin bounced around between events as a freshman and a sophomore before finding his home in the pole vault. The pole vault is a technical event to the point where it is almost a sport unto itself. Griffin spent hours and hours working on his craft, often driving hours to work with specialized coaches. As a junior Griffin cleared 11’10 to put himself 2nd all time for the Chargers. As a senior there is little doubt Griffin would have threatened the school record.
Colin Zelley: Colin will be sorely missed. He contributed in a number of ways competing in a very rare distance/pole vault double. Even more so Colin will be missed for the example and leadership he provided. Everything Colin does he does with great focus. His 4.0 grade point average was a big factor in the cross country team earning academic all state honors. After a freshman season of cross country Colin focused on the pole vault for track. Coming off a season of pole vault Colin jumped into a very focused summer of distance training. The result was a fractured pelvis, a huge setback costing virtually the entire season. It says a lot about Colin’s character that he was not deterred but came back stronger than ever. Colin never looked back, improving dramatically in both the pole vault and distances. He and Griffin combined to make pole vault one of the strong events for our team. Colin was also a top five performer in the mile for the team.
Hear it from the seniors:
Hollister Fechik: ‘My favorite memory was being a part of the 2018 team, taking down a school record and battling for the Saginaw Valley League and Regional Championships!.”
Favorite quote “No matter how hard you have to push, go all out., not only for yourself but for your teammates because we’re in this together” Chandler Lorf to Hollister Fechik before the 2018 1600 meter relay which clinched the regional title for the Chargers.
Nevaeh Sanders: “Something I’ll remember from the 2019 season was our start to end goal. We didn’t know where we’d be but we worked hard and educated ourselves on being some of the best! From the start of the season, to the State Final. We made the best of every moment of our time spent together.”
Dalton Davidson: “My favorite memory was through all the rain delays and things going wrong at states we were able to pull through and become all state on the two relays. Then continuing the next day and yelling “ALL STATE” as Joey Zorn got his diploma.”
Andrew Jandernoa: “My favorite memory was just seeing all of us start out, not the best as freshmen and progressing into very good athletes who have gotten all state and done very well.
Despite the cancellation of the season the contributions of the class of 2020 to Chargers Athletics and the Track and Field program will be long remembered. Thank you Seniors!