By John Jarvi
Local Sports Journal
MUSKEGON — Mason County Central’s Chase Barnett did one of the hardest accomplishments going in West Michigan’s high school track circles.
Barnett took advantage of some tough competition in an invitational meet in Saline and came away with an all-time record in the boy’s 1,600-meter run with a 4:13.86 clocking.
The list, first compiled about 1976, gets updated annually. It started as a way to recognize the area’s outstanding track athletes in a given year and continues to serve the same purpose. Now it includes performances in end-of-the season multi-state or national meets which use high school performances for qualifying purposes.
Strangely enough, the last record set in either boys or girls competition had occurred in the same event — the pole vault.
However, that changed last Friday.
Chase Barnett, of Mason County Central, finished second in the talent-laden 1,600-meter race in the Saline Golden Triangle Invitational meet. The second place didn’t rank as important as Barnett’s time — 4:13.86.
The clocking moved Barnett atop the all-time area leaderboard for the event. In the process, he wiped out a record dating back to 1979.
That’s when former Whitehall star Guy Jacobson won the Class C mile title in 4:15.8. Jacobson’s metric conversion to 4:14.2 remained the area standard until Barnett erased it by finishing behind Grand Blanc star Grant Fisher. Fisher won the race in 4:10.96.
The race featured plenty of talent as seven runners had times of 4:18.11 or faster.
Until Barnett’s race, the pole vault had been the most recent record to fall.
Grand Haven’s Jordan Keefe cleared 11-9 in 2011 and then her former teammate, Grace Kendra, matched the mark in 2013 in the pole vault. On the boys’ side, Isaac Austin, of Kent City, raised the mark there to 16-feet, also in 2011.
Still dangling out there, too, is the oldest record — the 1:28.7 time in the 800-meter relay set by Muskegon Heights in 1962. The foursome of Joe Parham, Jim Johnson, Frank Mitchell and Sam McMurray turned in a 1:29.2 time on a cinder track at the 880-yard distance, but the time converts to the 1:28.7.
Parham also has the 200-meter record based on another conversion from that season when he turned in a 21.3-second time in that event. Parham later ran track and played football for Arizona State University.
On the girls’ side, the oldest records date back to 1978. Muskegon Catholic Central set the 400-meter relay record that year with a 49.3-seconds clocking only to have Orchard View match the time in 1981.
After that, the next oldest record goes to Annette Bohach, then of North Muskegon, uncorked a 48-feet- 3/4-inch effort in the shot put in 1979. Unfortunately, the state changed from an eight-pound discus to a four-kilogram model in 1980. The result is the current record with that discus is a 42-feet-four and 1/2-inch effort by White Cloud’s Jane Ludtke in 1997.
Here are the all-time area prep track marks partway through the 2014 season:
BOYS AREA RECORDS
DISCUS — 198-5, Johnny Mitchell, Muskegon, 1983.
HIGH JUMP — 7-0, Steve Paulsen, Fremont, 1998.
LONG JUMP — 23- 3 1/4, Corky Wilkins, Muskegon Catholic, 1979.
POLE VAULT — 16-0, Isaac Austin, Kent City, 2011.
SHOT PUT — 65-3, Aaron Gowell, Shelby, 1988.
100-METER DASH — 10.03, Clint Allen, Orchard View, 2005.
200-METER DASH — 21.3, Joe Parham, Muskegon Heights, 1962, yc.
400-METER DASH — 47.9, Trinity Townsend, Muskegon Heights, 1992.
800-METER DASH — 1:52.9, Eric Cartuthers, Mona Shores, 2001.
1,600-METER RUN — 4:13.86, Chase Barnett, Mason County Central, 2014.
3,200-METER RUN — 9:03.1, Martin Schulist, Whitehall, 1978, yc.
110-METER HIGH HURDLES — 13.7, Derick Stinson, Muskegon, 1982.
300-METER HURDLES — 36.9, Derick Stinson, Muskegon, 1982.
400-METER RELAY — 42.8, Muskegon Catholic Central, 1981, and Muskegon, 2008.
800-METER RELAY — 1:28.7, Muskegon Heights, 1962, yc.
1,600-METER RELAY — 3:20.9, Muskegon Heights, 1979, yc.
3,200-METER RELAY — 7:45.05, Mona Shores, 2002.
GIRLS AREA RECORDS
DISCUS — 147-10, Jane Ludtke, Whiteh Cloud, 1998.
HIGH JUMP — 5-10, Kelly Oberlin, Grant, 1991.
LONG JUMP — 18-8, Shenitha Walker, Muskegon Heights, 1984.
POLE VAULT — 11-9, Jordan Keefe, Grand Haven, 2011, and Grace Kendra, Grand Haven, 2013.
SHOT PUT — 48- 3/4, Annette Bohach, North Muskegon, 1979, 8 lb.; 42- 4 1/2, Jane Ludtke, White Cloud, 1997, 4 kg.
100-METER DASH — 11.7, Cathy Fitzpatrick, Mona Shores, 1981, yc.
200-METER DASH — 23.9, Cathy Fitzpatrick, Mona Shores, 1981, yc.
400-METER DASH — 55.7, Cathy Fitzpatrick, Mona Shores, 1981.
800-METER RUN — 2:05.61, Becca Addison, Grand Haven, 2008.
1,600-METER RUN — 4:50.8, Becca Addison, Grand Haven, 2008.
3,200-METER RUN — 10:36.95, Becca Addison, Grand Haven, 2009.
110-METER HURDLES — 14.6, Sam Garrison, Spring Lake, 2003.
300-METER LOW HURDLES — 44.4, Blair Krohn, Grand Haven, 1987.
400-METER RELAY — 49.3, Muskegon Catholic Central, 1978, and Orchard View, 1981.
800-METER RELAY — 1:42.8, Muskegon Heights, 1984.
1,600-METER RELAY — 3:58.0, Muskegon, 1984.
3,200-METER RELAY — 9:29.8, Mason County Central, 2001.
Note — “yc” means a conversion from a yard track to a metric distance.