MILFORD — Jaxson Wilson of Hartland admits he’s still trying to learn correct shot put form and he doesn’t even have the proper throwing footwear.
Whatever imperfections exist, Wilson is doing something right.
He will be going to the state Division 1 track and field meet as a regional champion who is creeping closer to a school record set 27 years ago.
Wilson took first in the shot put in the regional Friday at Milford by throwing a personal-best 51 feet, 5 inches on the first of his seven throws.
He’s now less than two feet from the school record of 53-3.25 set by Pat Mitchell in 1995.
Wilson is one of only six Livingston County throwers in the last 20 years to break 50 feet, the last being state Division 4 champion Paxton Titus of Livingston Christian in 2017.
Not bad for someone who hadn’t thrown a shot put in three years.
“I threw in middle school,” he said. “I started this year again after eighth grade. I’m still learning. The form isn’t great right now. It’ll definitely help to get that down a little bit more.”
It may also help to throw in something other than a beat-up old pair of basketball shoes. Throwing shoes have a smooth bottom to help with the spinning technique.
“I hadn’t bought a pair yet,” he said. “I had these ones. I started throwing with them and they felt good, so I kept them the whole time.
“One of the laces broke. There’s some marker on it and the plastic came through. There’s not a lot of tread left. They’re pretty worn out. They seem to do the job for now. I’ll probably keep these, but next year I’ll probably get a pair of throwing shoes.”
Wilson is the first Hartland boy to win a regional championship in a field event since Brenden Selfridge won the long jump in 2008.
Popping off a throw that was longer than the personal best of anyone in the field on his first attempt relieved some of the pressure.
“I put everything into that first throw,” he said. “Get that first throw out of the way and do as much as you can.”
On the track, Hartland senior Riley Hough won both distance races at regionals for the second time. He fended off a challenge from East Lansing’s Matthew Zeleke to win the 1,600 in 4:13.17 and captured the 3,200 in 9:08.71. Brighton’s Quinn Cullen maintained contact with Hough most of the race, placing second in 9:14.46.
“I definitely feel really good about that,” Hough said. “It’s definitely been nice to be able to do something like that in my last regional of high school. I’m just glad I was able to do that and do it with the team I’m with.”
Livingston County runners swept the 3,200, as Brighton senior Katie Carothers broke away from a three-runner pack in the final two laps to repeat as regional champion in 10:55.99. East Lansing’s Anna Delgado was second in 10:56.36 and Howell junior Mackenzie Wright was third, lowering her school record to 11:06.61.
“It’s nerve-racking, because there’s three of us and there’s two qualifying spots,” Carothers said. “We went out a little slower, so I wasn’t sure if we were going to hit the time. Last year I went lap seven and it worked, so I decided to go again. I think it worked out.”
Carothers was on a second-place 3,200 relay team with Jordyn Libler, Amelia Kashian and Nikki Carothers.
Howell senior Taylor Moyer surprised herself by winning the 100-meter dash in 12.90 seconds, edging Adrianna Burtley of East Lansing by 0.08 seconds. Moyer is the first Howell girl to win an individual title in a running event since Kaitlin Cender won the 200 in 2009.
“That was all my start right there,” Moyer said. “I got out. I knew that girl next to me was gonna be coming after me. She was seeded in front of me for everything. I just went after it and I got it. It’s amazing. I think I was seeded fifth. To come out and be first, that’s unreal.”
Moyer was also on Howell’s state-qualifying 800, 400 and 1,600 relay teams. Aliana Pietila also ran on all three teams. Sophie Daugard and Tianna Bennett were on the 800 and 400 teams, which finished second. Lea MacGregor and Wright were on the 1,600 team, which took third.
The strong relays, which included a third in the 3,200, propelled Howell to a second-place team finish with 85.5 points. East Lansing won with 91.
Brighton senior April Fox won the pole vault, tying the school record by clearing 10-9.
Brighton’s team of Cullen, Risto Crouse, Brady Matuszewski and Lucas Seng won the 3,200 relay with a time of 8:11.95 while running into a strong wind early in the meet.
Hartland senior Emmy Sargeant was second to East Lansing senior Comari Hawkins in the 400 with a time of 57.43 and the 200 in 25.76.
Brighton junior Liam Kinney broke the school pole vault record by finishing second at 14-2. Kinney was also second in the 110 hurdles in 15.37.
Brighton’s Hunter Harding was second in the discus at 134-10. Hartland’s Dylan Lawrence and Howell’s August Johanningsmeier tied for second in the high jump at 6-1.
Livingston County boys who were additional state qualifiers by meeting a performance standard were Brighton’s Brady Matuszewski (fifth, 9:33.49) and Luke Campbell (seventh, 9:35.42) in the 3,200 and Hartland’s Ben Baker (sixth, 21-2) in the long jump.
County girls who earned a berth in the state meet June 4 at Rockford by meeting the standard were Brighton’s Jordyn Libler in the 800 (third, 2:19.32), Howell’s Wright and Brighton’s Nikki Carothers (fourth, 11:11.81) in the 3,200, Hartland’s Aubree Meyer in the shot put (third, 37-5.5) and Howell’s Carlee Beeney in the discus (fourth, 120-4).
Brighton’s 1,600 relay team of Hannah Tsiang, Stella Farmer, Addison Payne and Amanda Simon qualified by placing fourth in 4:06.37.
Contact Bill Khan at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @BillKhan.
This article originally appeared on Livingston Daily: Despite flaws, Hartland's Jaxson Wilson wins regional shot put title