LCN Middle-Distance Track Star Wins Regional Championship; Advances to State Finals

Tyler Vandierdonck narrowly wins 800m regional championship, advancing to state meet with 2:02.5


Carter Belanger of Port Huron Northern poses with Tyler Vandierdonck of LCN following their 800m championship duel. Photo credit: Carter Belanger

Dominic Comfort, Editor-In-Chief

   Track & Field athlete Tyler Vandierdonck ‘21 competed in the MHSAA region 10-1 championship this past Friday, where he clenched a first place finish in the 800 meter run. Vandierdonck competed fiercely during his fastest 800m race of the season, running a time of 2:02.50 and winning the regional championship, advancing on to the MHSAA Track & Field D1 state championship meet on June 5th. Vandierdonck’s advancement to the state meet marks the first time in ten years an LCN runner has qualified for the state finals in the 800m run, with the last runner being David Parsons ‘11, running a time of 1:59.7 to finish runner up in the 2011 regional. 

   Vandierdonck’s finishing time of 2:02.50 for 800 meters is a new personal best In the open 800m distance, and matches Vandierdonck’s lifetime best of 2:02; which he ran during the anchor leg of a 4x800m relay as a sophomore during the 2019 regional championship. Finishing second as the runner up was star Port Huron Northern runner Carter Belanger ‘22, who ran a time of 2:02.97. The top two runners through each event of the regional championship advance to the state finals, meaning Belanger will get the chance to race Vandierdonck once again. Also running for LCN in the race finishing 7th was Nathon Zydel ‘24, running a time of 2:10.20.

   “The 58 second first lap was the most comfortable I have ever felt,” exclaimed Vandierdonck, shortly after his race. 

   Coming into the race, Vandierdonck was seeded as the 6th best ranked 800m runner in the region, with his previous season best of 2:06. To finish as the regional champion, Vandierdonck upset the seeding by six places, overcoming the odds to come away with his first championship victory.

   Vandierdonck split 58 seconds for his first lap followed by a 1:04.5 second lap. Belanger dueled Vandierdonck to the line, but it was Vandierdonck who would come out with the narrow, but climactic victory. In an Instagram post following the race, Belanger uploaded a picture of himself and Vandierdonck, with a caption reading “Second race. Second place.”

Vandierdonck, who won the Track & Field MVP award during his sophomore campaign in 2019, was the only male Track & Field athlete to advance to the state championship. Narrowly missing qualification but still showing strong performances were discus thrower Cameron Davis ‘21, shot put strongman Christian Williams ‘21, and Tai Brass ‘21 in the pole vault.

  Vandierdonck previously competed in one state championship race prior to his new qualification, running the 800m leg during a Distance Medley Relay event at the 2020 MITS Indoor Track & Field State Championship. 

  Vandierdonck will compete at the Outdoor State Championship event on June 5th, and is also qualified to compete in the Macomb County 800m championship this coming Wednesday May 26th. Full results of the 2021 MHSAA region 10-1 Track & Field Championships can be found here.