St. Mary’s track championship is first in program history

By: Mike Moore | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published June 11, 2015

 St. Mary’s senior Joe Gallagher is pictured during the 3,200-meter relay at the May 30 state final. The Eaglets placed third in the event.

St. Mary’s senior Joe Gallagher is pictured during the 3,200-meter relay at the May 30 state final. The Eaglets placed third in the event.

Photo provided Rod Moore


ORCHARD LAKE — Understandably on edge, Sean Clouse had an idea of how well his team had done.

But the numbers were all that mattered now.

“I had people talking to me afterwards, but I didn’t have the results,” Clouse, the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s track coach, said of the Division 2 state final on May 30 in Zeeland. “We had to wait and find out. We really didn’t know.”

From on edge to overcome with elation.

“It’s really the culmination of a lot of hard work,” Clouse said last week of the Division 2 state title that his guys wound up earning. “These guys have come a long, long way. This was a goal we set at the start of the season, and they really believed we were capable of doing it.”

Clouse said the goal entering the final was to score 50 points.

When the final standings were released, St. Mary’s had 52.

Zeeland East placed second with 44.5.

A school with a vast history of success and multiple state titles, the track program had never finished higher than third.

“We made history,” senior Ross Moore boasted. “It was a great feeling. To be the first team here to do it was awesome.”

The relays are where St. Mary’s left its mark.

In the 800-meter relay, Moore, Kahlee Hamler, Ky’Ren Cunningham and Tyler Cochran earned a state title and set a program record with a time of 1 minute, 28.67 seconds.

In the 400 relay, Moore, Justin Myrick, Hamler and Ryan Johnson did likewise in 42.56 seconds.

The 3,200 relay team of Gallagher, Augustine Lau, Carson Eby and Harrison Coeset set a program record in 7:55.20 and earned third place.

Lau, Richard Bowens III, Shermond Dabney and Cochran finished sixth in the 1,600 relay in a time of 3:29.56.

“We loaded up our relay teams, where we felt our strength was,” Clouse said. “Mark Lengel is our relay coach, and he does an outstanding job with those guys.”

“The relays are dominant,” Moore said with a laugh. “That was key. We’ve been working together for so long, and I think that time allows you to build that chemistry needed.”

Other highlights for the Eaglets at the state final included Brian Agomuoh placing seventh in the discus with a toss of 160 feet, 2 inches. In the long jump, Trey Bryan was fifth with a leap of 20-10 3/4, and Moore was eighth at 20-7 1/2.

Cochran was third in the 400 dash in 49.83 seconds, while Bowens III won the 300 hurdles in 38.42 seconds.

“We have a group of seniors who had a heart for track,” said Bowens III, a sophomore. “We wanted to send them out with a state title. To be the first team in school history to do it makes it even better.”

The team’s greatness wasn’t just reserved for the final, either.

The most successful finish to any season in Eaglets track history was preceded by the most successful regular season in program history.

St. Mary’s won the Catholic League A-B Division title for the first time, went 5-0 in dual meets, placed second at the Oakland County Championships, won invitationals in Dearborn Heights and Sterling Heights, and claimed a D-2 regional title.

And the key, as Clouse explained, was the fact that this was a total team effort.

“There have been years when you can have four or five guys really carry you,” he said. “Coming into the season, we wanted to be more of a team. We knew the window of opportunity was there with the seniors and some of the talent we had from the younger guys. We wanted to make the most of it. We wanted to take advantage, but we knew it would require the entire group.”

“It makes it more fun that way,” Bowens III said. “When you have that many different guys chipping in, you enjoy the sport and the success so much more.”