East Kentwood Friends continue to excel as NCAA champions, professional football guards

Ten years ago, the Meier twins, Haley and Hannah, helped change the dynamics of track and field and cross country programs at Grosse Pointe South.

South had never won an MHSAA Finals tag team title in either sport before arriving at the school in 2009. Under longtime coach Steve Zaranek, the Meiers led South to three consecutive MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 1 track titles (2011-13) and another cross country championship (2011), while forming half of a record 3 national relay 200 meters in the first.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Zaranek, who will lead the program for a 44th season next spring and recently retired from teaching. “We had all these athletes. The highlight was the distance (events) with the Meier twins. It was the perfect storm.

The Meiers attended Duke University for their first two years of college before transferring to the University of Michigan. Their professional paths have taken them in different directions, but they remain as close as ever.

Two years ago, Haley moved to Adelaide, Australia, with her fiancé Jordy Hewitt, whom she met at UM. Hannah will soon be leaving Ann Arbor for Charlottesville, Virginia, where she will begin working as a registered dietitian with the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

Two weeks ago, Haley and Hannah were together in Nashville, Tennessee, with four friends, for Haley’s bachelorette party. The wedding is scheduled for October 8 on the island of Kauai in Hawaii.

Haley, who earned her Bachelor of Education, is in her second year as a college teacher in Adelaide, and Hewitt works as a consultant at Price Waterhouse a few blocks from St. Mary’s College, the private girls’ school where Haley teaches.

“I’ve always enjoyed spending time with children,” Haley said when asked why she chose the teaching profession. “When they understand things, it’s so gratifying. It comes with its challenges. I practiced my patience daily.

Last spring, Hannah completed her master’s degree in sports management and public health from UM, to go along with her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. Her long-term goal is to work with athletes in their efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Hannah Meier began researching different types of foods and how they affect athletes and their eating habits. For example, Hannah is a firm believer that a person eats breakfast 30-60 minutes after getting up to allow the metabolism to kick in properly.

“I was hurting myself (so often) between lifting and cross-training that I decided to go to public health,” Hannah said. “That’s one of the reasons I left Duke. They did not offer public health (curriculum). »

The Meiers were very competitive at both Duke and UM. At Duke, Haley won the Atlantic Coast Conference title in the 1,500m and for UM she won the Big Ten Conference title in the indoor mile. In her final season (2019), Hannah won the Big Ten mile title with a school record time of 4:32.46. Both have qualified for the NCAA Championships multiple times.

Their college achievements added up to significant accomplishments that helped Grosse Pointe South to those three Finals Tag Team Championships.

Hannah continues to hold the records for all class/division finals in the 800 meter race (2:06.35, 2013) and 1600 meter race (4:39.23, 2013 – also ninth best all-time in the national level at secondary level). She and Haley, along with Kelsie Schwartz and Ersula Farrow, set this national high school record in the 3,200 relay of 8:48.29 in 2012. in 2015, 8:54.29, when Farrow teamed with Jayla Fleming, Lashae Bowens and Dorriann Coleman.)

To show how competitive and talented the twins were, when Hannah set the all-finals record in the 1,600 in 2013, the previous all-finals record was the 4:42.60 she ran in 2011 Haley’s time of 4:42.43 in 2013 was good enough to break her sister’s record in 2011, but not the time Hannah posted that June afternoon – as Haley finished in that race against her sister.

For Zaranek, the post-Meier era has included a side that finished sixth in LP Division 1 in 2014 and another top 15 finish since, with at least a few qualifying for the final almost every season.

Grosse Pointe South Trail“For me and our program,” Zaranek said, “to get to the regional level and compete is a sign of a really good program. I really think the best programs are the ones that allow students to try out different events. We talk about opportunities. We talk about contributing to the team.

For the Meiers, they cherish the memories and keep running but at a much slower pace. Along with the memories and accomplishments, they say sport has made them better people, more grateful for what they have and who they are.

“Haley and I…we have a better outlook on life,” Hannah said. “We are able to handle situations much more calmly.

“And that’s because of Coach Z. We weren’t fans of the race in middle school. Without running, we wouldn’t have gone to UM and graduated. If we hadn’t gone to UM, we wouldn’t have met our loved ones.

(Hewitt, from Australia, was a middle-distance runner for UM when he and Haley met. Hannah’s boyfriend Kevin Haughn was competing in the pole vault for the Wolverines when they crossed paths for the first time.)

Haley said her and Hannah’s lives are so busy that finding time to run sometimes requires a few hours less sleep.

“I like it, but the hardest part is getting up in the morning to do it,” she said. “It’s a transition.
“After all these years, it’s still practicing good habits. Running taught us to be resilient, to persevere.

2021-22 Made in Michigan

July 25: 2005 Miss Basketball DeHaan Cherishing New Title: 1st Time Mom – Lily
July 21:
Memories of the Championship still resonate with St. Thomas Star Lillard – Lily
July 14th :
Portage Central Champ rides at Vanderbilt, writing the next chapter in Alabama – Lily
July 12: Training couple imparting knowledge, providing opportunities for Frankfurt wrestlers – Lily
June 30th : Hrynewich’s star continues to rise with Olympic and professional sports arrivals – Lily

PICTURES (Top) Left, Hannah and Hailey Meier enjoy the moment after helping set a national high school record for Grosse Pointe South in the 3,200 relay in 2012. Top right, Haley and fiance Jordy Hewitt. Bottom right, Hannah and her boyfriend Kevin Haughn. (Middle) The Meier sisters, center, reunite their family in Australia. (Below) Haley, left, and Hannah Meier topped the LPD1 1,600 medal podium in 2013. (MHSAA Finals photos from RunMichigan.com; recent photos courtesy of Hannah and Haley Meier.)

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