Steve Bastien enjoyed a solid track and field season as a junior at Saline High School. So he came into his senior year with high expectations.
He did not, however, expect to be named “Mr. Track and Field” by the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association for 2012.
“I never even knew the award existed,” said Bastien, who completed his high school track and field season by winning the state championship in long jump, taking second in the pole vault and running on the all-state 4-by-200 and 4-by-400 relay teams. “I found out the award goes to the state’s best all around performer. So it’s really an honor. I’m happy and proud to receive the award.”
Bastien set Saline High School records in several events this year. He recorded a wind-aided leap of 25 feet in long jump early in the season. His official school record is 23.9 feet. In the pole vault, he cleared 15 feet to set a new Hornet record. He was also a part of a record setting relay quad.
Bastien’s improvement between junior and senior year was remarkable. In the long jump, he added nearly 2.5 feet to his best. He improved by 11 inches in the pole vault. His time in the 400 improved from 54 seconds to 49.4 seconds.
“I wasn’t expecting to go as far as I did in long jump. I thought I’d break 22. I was even more surprised by how much faster I was on the track,” Bastien said.
He attributed the improvement to hard work in the offseason.
“I ran a decathlon in the summer. Preparing for that was a lot of work. I also did a lot of jumping rope in the summer. The calf exercises I did really improved my jumping,” Bastien said.
Bastien felt great as the new season was set to begin. But it wasn’t until he the indoor state meet, where he jumped 22-6, that he began to realize he could have a special season.
Varsity track and field coach Al Leslie saw it coming.
“We saw the growth during the last part of his junior season and knew he was going to be a stud his senior season. There are not to many people that outworked him in the off season,” Leslie said. “The other thing I saw was a new maturity level to his workouts school work and leadership within the team. That was huge for him it was like the mental part caught up to his physical gifts.”
Leslie said Bastien was part of a senior core that led Saline to its strong season, which resulted in a third place finish at the state meet after victories in the SEC and in the Regional.
“As part of our senior class, he was one of a handful of kids that never talked in terms of me. It was always us and about what we could do as a team,” Leslie said.
Bastien said the only disappointment he had in his senior year was being unable to win the team title at the state meet with fellow seniors like Garrick Roemer and Spencer Bishop.
“We had a great group this year. Every other year I’ve run track and field, the teams all split into their little groups. The distance runners had their group. The sprinters had their group. The field athletes had their group. But this year, we came together as one group and we bonded as a team,” Bastien said.
Leslie said Bastien is a true competitor.
“As far as my feelings go he is the greatest track athlete that I have had the opportunity to coach. The ability he has to do so many things so well is amazing. He had the ability to out compete the guy next to him on the track or in the field. If someone jumped further there was no panic in his eyes. He would go jump a little bit further or vault higher,” Leslie said.
Bastien, the son of Gary and Kathy Bastien, plans to continue running track and field at Michigan State University or the University of Michigan.