Bradford twins complete challenging first track season at Davenport

REED CITY — Eric and Michael Bradford had plenty of success together in their sports career at Reed City.

Now the Bradford twins are extending that success to the collegiate level where they’ve completed one season at Davenport University on the men’s indoor and outdoor track teams.

“At Davenport, we were learning a new event, the triple jump,” Michael said, referring to a field event Michigan prep teams don’t recognize. “I had never done it in high school. I really enjoyed it. It took a little time to get used to it.

“Essentially what it is, if you’re a left-foot jumper like I am, you would run and they start the board at 36 or 42 inches away from the pit, run up to the board like you do for the long jump, jump off your right foot, land on your right foot and from your right foot, you jump to your left foot, and from your left foot jump into the pit. It’s a little confusing, but it makes sense when you watch it.”

Michael acknowledged that he and his brother both started out relatively slow in the event.

“I broke 12 meters in the triple jump, which, from what I understood, was pretty decent for someone who just learned it his first year,” he said. “I was excited about that.”

They both also did the long jump.

“Long jump, we didn’t do as well since we were learning new techniques (compared to) what we had done in high school,” Michael said. “Toward the end of the season, we improved on those techniques and started to improve distance wise. We didn’t improve as much as we wanted to do from what our coach tells us, we should make major improvements next year now that we have the technique down that they want us to.”

The twins ran both during indoor and outdoor seasons.

“Coming into college, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to run track in college or just go to school,” Michael said. “Then I decided I’d give it a try for my freshman year, see how I like it and how I do. If I don’t like it, I’ll be done with it. I actually really enjoyed it and the coaches were great. I got to learn a new event. I learned a lot more than I thought I would going in.”

Eric noted he has family ties at Davenport.

“They gave us the opportunity since we’re going into business to jump right into our core classes and an opportunity to run track,” he said. “We kind of wanted to keep our athletic career going.”

Davenport is building an outdoor track facility, which is slated to be done in 2015. The team has an indoor track it can use for training, but not for meets.

When they were at Reed City, the Bradfords enjoyed plenty of success. Michael went 20-8 1/2 as a senior in the long jump. They were second in the 4x4 relay as juniors.

Eric is confident of getting personal records next season and help score points for the team. He expects he and his brother will keep jumping and perhaps run some relays next season.

“The highlight of my year were the workouts,” Eric said. “They were tough, but a lot different than the workouts we did in high school. I thought they were really rewarding. I could feel myself getting better. In long jump we worked on techniques. They want you to perfect the technique before they push you a little harder.”

Davenport competes in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference.