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MHSAA Michigan State Championships

Michigan International Speedway, Brooklyn MI

Saturday, November 1, 2008
 Tec Adams set the pace for most of the way.
D4 boys represent

Tec Adams' blazes to record, battles unprecedented talent at the top of best-ever D4 race

By SteveU

Photos by Pat Davey

After seven of last year’s top eight were underclassmen, the boys D4 race was expected to be perhaps the best ever and it lived up to the hype.  Those toeing the line included defending champ and senior Kevin Oblinger of Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart, Harbor Springs sr Tec Adams, Saugatuck sr Christian Birky, and Concord jr Kyle Stacks.  Stacks had beaten Birky at Portage, but the others hadn’t met.  Adams, perhaps, was most feared, though, and as it turned out, for good reason.  Indeed, perhaps the only aspect of the race that was less than spectacular was the competition for first.  

Adams burst out in the first mile, forced everyone to red line to try and keep with him.  Given the talent behind him, it was risky, but none of the other great contenders could ever draw to his side.  He was out in 4:52, with Obinger in 4:54, and Stacks, Birky and Sutton Bay junior Ben Wynsma all at 4:59.  By 2M, Adams was 9:55 and his lead had grown to seven seconds over the defending champ (10:02), with Stacks, Birky, and Wynsma still together four more ticks back.

In the final mile, Adams finally began to tire, showing it in the final half mile, and
Kevin Olinger (foreground) works to hold off Christian Birky (back left) and Matt Stacks. 
Oblinger was able to get a little back … but not enough.  Adams finished in 15:23, the best-ever state meet clocking for D4, or Class D, as it was known before 2000.  The previous best was the 15:30 from the late, great Ryan Shay in 1996, the first year the meet was at MIS.

Oblinger’s 2nd left him disheartened at not being able to repeat, but with his 15:26 not only also beat the D4/Class D former record, but also scored for Sacred Heart school history.  His time surpassed one of the all-time great D4/Class D performances on the books – the 15:43 of his Sacred Heart alum Rusty Schaefer, the best-ever time Class D time from the pre-MIS days.

Wynsma would fade significantly to 5th in 15:49, but the Stacks-Birky battle continued to the end, the Birky finally prevailing, 15:30-15:31.

“I know Tec goes out hard like that,” said Oblinger.  “I tried to stay in touch and not let him get too far ahead.  When we got in the stadium, I tried to pick it up and catch him, but it wasn’t enough.  I think it was the best D4 race there’s ever been.”

Said Stacks, “I just felt like I had to save some energy, but not let (Tec) get too much distance on me.  I ended up running with Christian most of the way and in the last 0.1, he put on a surge.”

Meanwhile, the happy champion said he put himself on the line early because he also had a fast clocking in mind.  “I wanted to set the pace down because I wanted to run in the 15:20s and I didn’t want to have to pick it up later … but it WAS kind of scary being out there by myself.”

Adams added that he ran a lot of miles during the summer and felt good coming into the season as he hoped to improve from his 5th last year.  “I ran 15:40 in my first race, which was a 20-second PR,” he said.  “That gave me a lot of confidence.”

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