By Ron Rop
Local Sports Journal

Justin Hunter-Smith made it look so easy.

The Orchard View senior was a three-time winner on Wednesday night at the Meijer West Michigan Invitational Track Meet at Reeths-Puffer High School.

Despite not running the 300 hurdles for the last two weeks, Hunter-Smith glided past the field to win in a time of 40.45. He also took first place in the long jump with a leap of 21-2 and the 110 high hurdles with a time of 14.92.

A96I1634 copy

Orchard View’s Justin Hunter-Smith, shown here winning the 110 high hurdles at the City Meet, was a three-time winner at Wednesday’s West Michigan Invitational. Photo/Tim Reilly.

“The rain definitely gets in your head,” said Hunter-Smith. “Especially on the long jump with the board. Because nine times out of 10, when it’s a wet board, especially wood ones, your spikes slide right off. But, other than that, I really couldn’t complain. The sun started coming out, the track started to dry out a little bit so it was starting to straighten out a little bit.”

Hunter-Smith is heading for the state meet in the 110 hurdles and the long jump. He did not run the 300 hurdles at regionals.

“I came in here ranked third (in the 300) and I haven’t run the 300s in two weeks,” Hunter-Smith said. “I’m like, ‘oh man, I really have to get out on this one’ because I hadn’t prepared for it.”

While Hunter-Smith was a three-time winner, there were plenty of other top-notch individual performances.

Mason County Central’s Chase Barnett won the 1600 in 4:24.49 and a highly competitive 800 in 1:54.82. Barnett won the 800 at last year’s meet as well.

The top sprinter of the evening was Johndries Betts-Render, who won the 100 and the 200 in times of 11.43 and 23.14, respectively.

Ludington’s 3200 relay team lowered the meet record by more than 2 seconds with a time of 9:58.49. That beat out Mason County Central (1986, 1987) and Muskegon (1992) with 8:00.8 performances.

Other relay teams to capture first place were Mona Shores in the 800 relay (1:31.71), Reeths-Puffer in the 400 (44.27) and Ludington in the 1600 (3:28.64).

White Cloud’s Zack McGowen topped the field in the 400 with a winning time of 50.46.

Grand Haven’s Justin Pippel won the 3200 run in 9:42.68.

In the field events, Mona Shores’ Adreon Billups won the high jump with a leap of 6-0. Muskegon Catholic’s Cari Campbell won the shot put for the second year in a row. This time his distance was 46-11½. Oakridge’s Eric Warren won the discus at 141-10 and Grand Haven’s Brandt Gruizenga was the top pole vaulter at 14-9.