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Whitehall alumnus trying to build Muskegon Community College track and field program

Nick Marcinkowski is coming off a strong year as Jayhawks track and cross country head coach.

MUSKEGON — If you attend any of the big high school track and field meets in the Muskegon area, then chances are you’ll see Nick Marcinkowski near the finish line.

The 2009 Whitehall High School alumnus helps out at some of these meets. He may also be keeping an eye on some of the prospects crossing said finish line.

After all, he is head coach for Muskegon Community College’s track and cross country teams and he’s trying to build those programs.

While the cross country program at Muskegon Community College has been solid for years under the tutelage of Mike Smith and Dan Fishel, Marcinkowski aims to make Jayhawks track and field a powerhouse and open up some options for young student-athletes who may not have otherwise considered MCC

“I think the biggest thing is (MCC) has not had consistent coaches the last couple of years for track and field,” Marcinkowski said. “Track and field has gone through, I think, five coaches in roughly five years, so the consistency and the output towards the community hasn’t fully been there.

“Last year when I took over, we had 12 kids total between cross country and track and field. This year we had 35. Next year, our tentative roster (with) signees we’re at 55.”

Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark

Marcinkowski said that MCC is still actively recruiting. Last Saturday, he was keeping tabs on MHSAA Division 1 and Division 3 track and field state finals meets at Rockford and Kent City, respectively.

The 2022-23 seasons for Muskegon Community College cross country and track and field were successful ones under Marcinkowski’s watch.

Kyler Dean (Vicksburg) was a conference and regional champion in cross country, as well as USATFCCA Runner of the Year and an All-American. MCC broke school records for the 6k and 8k. In men’s indoor track and field, 10 school records were broken; in women’s indoor, three records fell. At regionals, the Jayhawk men accounted for 10 titles and women six of them. In the outdoor track and field season, several records were broken, championships were earned and accolades received, including All-American status.

Whitehall alumna Karleigh Jeffries was 12th in the nation in discus for second-team All-American honors and 23rd in the country for the hammer toss. Zach Pray (Fruitport) set a new school record in the 200-meter dash (21.53 seconds).

“It’s no holds barred. We compete against Division I NCAA, Division II NCAA … we go to Michigan State, we go to Western Michigan invitationals, we go to Tiffin in Ohio, we travel down south. We give full exposure to those student-athletes that may not have had that chance,” Marcinkowski said. “Even those kids that are those high-level competitors, you’re still going to get that exposure at zero to no cost.”

Watch the video at the top of this story to hear more from Marcinkowski.

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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