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Brighton track looking toward state with young athletes

May 02, 2017 11:16AM ● Published by Bryan Scott

Brighton’s girls distance runners girls run in a practice time trials. (Koster Kennard/ City Journals)

Gallery: Brighton track looking toward state with young athletes [3 Images] Click any image to expand.

By Koster Kennard | koster.k@mycityjournals.com

This year’s Brighton High School track team has a number of athletes looking to qualify for state, mixed in with many young freshman and sophomore athletes.

“I’m really excited about our numbers,” said Brighton’s sprints, hurdles and relays coach Kanute Rockne. “We presently have about 135 kids that are running and we have a really good group of young kids. The freshmen and sophomores are really good. We also have a stable group of older kids.”

One athlete that is likely to stand out is Jordan Brandt, a senior who placed third in last year’s state track meet with a personal best time of 15.04

“Jordan Brandt is probably our best girl athlete. She’s our hurdler and really did very well at state last year,” Rockne said. “(She) qualified and medaled in the finals and she had a great indoor season and she’s doing really well, so hopefully she has a great outdoor season.”

Andrew Covey, Kai Lewis and Christian Richard are some senior sprinters that Coach Rockne expects to do well this year.

Brighton’s distance runners are solid but young, one of the coaches said.

“We have lots of new freshman and sophomores, so lots of new runners coming out,” said Mike Zufelt, who helps coach the distance runners.

Rockne also pointed out Julian Pellmann, one of the distance runners.  

“We have expectations that he’s going to have a really good year,” Rockne said. “He did real well last year and he’s gotten much stronger and he’s a little bit quicker this year, so I’m really excited to see him run.”

Brighton has many distance runners who are doing well, but no superstars, Zufelt said.

Ryan Bullett, who coaches throws, said they have a couple throwers who have been there since they were freshmen.

“They started out here as freshman and they’ve been working at it to try and qualify for some state stuff and to get some scores and maybe be first or second in our region meet, which we didn’t have that possibility a few years ago because they were so young,” Bullett said. “(I’m) kind of excited about that. Seeing if we could get someone to qualify for state would be huge.”

The throwing coaches try to make practices laid back and enjoyable so kids stay with the sport.

“We’re just trying to have fun with the kids so they have an interest in coming out and getting better every day so we have a chance to hold on to a few,” Bullett said. “Usually the numbers will start big, then as things wear on and the weather gets better the kids will kind of disappear, so we think have a good group of kids right now.”

Taemour Djahanbani is a junior who Bullett said has the best chance of making state in the shot put, while Jacob Nobis could make it in javelin.

Zufelt said their runners are good both in athletics and academics.

“The kids are just coming out having fun and enjoying themselves,” Bullett said. “It’s always nice to get out and compete and do some different things that not everybody does and get out of your element a little bit.”

Rockne said he needs to see his athletes compete in an actual meet before he’ll know how good his team can be.

“For right now I’m pleased with our attitude. I’m pleased with our work ethic and I think we have some talent, so I’m excited about where we could be,” Rockne said. “I’m really excited about what we’re doing overall with our kids and I think we’re going to have a good year.”

Brighton High doesn’t do too much different from other programs in the state, but the coaches say their kids work hard.

“Our philosophy is run like hell and don’t make any right-hand turns,” said Rockne. “As long as we’re turning left we’re going to be in pretty good shape.”

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