By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
The MHSAA Girls Track and Field Finals bid farewell in 2013 to one of the most impressive and accomplished senior classes in recent memory.
But those departures have opened up plenty of opportunities for the standouts still competing and a new group of talented athletes to step up the podium.
See below for some of the teams and individuals who could be standing on top when their events are done Saturday in the Grand Rapids area and Kingsford High School. Click for meet information including all qualifiers and come back Saturday night for results as they come in, and check out MHSAA.TV for live streaming of running events from both peninsulas, available with subscription.
LP DIVISION 1 at Rockford
Top Regional scores: 1. Grosse Pointe South 245, Oak Park 163, Northville 154.2.
Grosse Pointe South: The Blue Devils have won the last three LP Division 1 titles, but graduated two of the top distance runners in the nation after last season. Junior Ersula Farrow and senior Kelsie Schwartz have moved into the top spots in those races and could get help from sophomore thrower Kayli Johnson in the shot put and discus.
Oak Park: Keyed by sophomore Anna Jefferson – last year’s champion in the 400 – Oak Park’s sprinters should carry the team into contention. She ran the fastest Regional 400 (54.81) and 200 (25.06) in this division and could make a run at the LP Division 1 Final record in the 400 of 54.29. Sophomore Brianna Hollaway has the sixth-seeded 100 hurdles (14.76) and second-seeded 300 hurdles (44.66) times, and the 1,600 (3:53.48), 400 (48.05) and 800 relays (1:39.89) are all top-seeded. Freshman Tamea McKelvy (second seed in the 100 at 12.26) and junior Jayla Fleming (third seed in the 800 at 2:15.05) also should contribute.
Saline: Last season’s runner-up should be in the hunt again on the strength of its relays – all four are seeded among the top six of their respective events and the 3,200 relay (9:08.55) is the top seed. Senior Kennedy Beazley is the top seed in the 800 (2:11.21) and also runs on two of those relays.
East Kentwood’s Sekayi Bracey: After winning the 100 and 200 as a freshman last season, Bracey has the top seed time in the 100 (12.01), the second-fastest to Jefferson in the 200 (25.11) and had the fourth-farthest long jump (17-0) at Regionals.
Harrison Township L’anse Creuse’s Jaevyn Wortham: The reigning discus champion had the top Regional toss in that event of 135-9 and is seeded 11th in the shot put (37-7).
Novi’s Kerri McMahan: The returning high jump champion won her Regional at 5-6 after jumping the same to win the MHSAA Final in 2013.
Southgate Anderson’s Breanna Luba: The reigning champion in the 300 hurdles returns with the top seed (44.04) plus the seventh in the 100 hurdles (14.93).
Sterling Heights Stevenson’s Jailah Mason: A senior, she’s raised her jumping another level in her final season and enters with the top seed of 5-8 – only an inch from tying the LP Division 1 Final record.
LP DIVISION 2 at Grand Rapids Houseman Stadium
Top Regional scores: 1. Warren Regina 192.5. 2. St. Joseph 181.66, 3. Remus Chippewa Hills 164.32
Dearborn Divine Child: The two-time reigning champion (Divine Child tied with Detroit Country Day in 2012) is seeking its fourth title in five seasons. But this will be more of a challenge. All four relays are seeded among the top nine, but the Falcons will need strong individual finishes. Junior Hannah Korpics is seeded sixth in the 300 hurdles (47.8) and also is running the 100 hurdles, and senior Lindsey Brewis is seeded sixth in the 1,600 (5:19.6) and also is running the 3,200.
Lansing Waverly: Sprint strength could vault the Warriors into contention. They enter with top seeds in the 800 relay (1:44.46) and 1,600 relay (4:05.73) and have the top two seeds in the 200 with freshman Taylor Manson (25.42) and senior Chante Roberts (25.52). Roberts also is seeded second in the 400 (58.84).
Remus Chippewa Hills: The Warriors could push for their first MHSAA team championship thanks to three relays seeded among the top three and a reigning champion in two events. Senior Megan O’Neil won the 800 and 1,600 in 2013 and has the second seed in the 800 (2:19.98) and fourth in the 1,600 (5:13.61) this weekend. Sophomore Jennifer McNeal has the third seed in the 400 (58.89) and tied for the fifth-best high jump (5-2) at Regionals, while senior Erin Drouillard enters with the fourth-best Regional pole vault (10-6).
Cedar Springs Kenzie Weiler: The standout junior is the top seed in the 3,200 (10:46.86) and should make a run at the meet record of 10:40.22.
DeWitt’s Josie Yesmunt: Last season’s 100 champ has the third-seeded time of 12.56 and also the eighth-seeded time in the 200 (26.29).
Grand Rapids Christian’s Ade Ayoola and Eaton Rapids Kathryn Mills: Mills won the high jump in both 2011 and 2012 and enters with the top Regional jump this season, 5-7. But Ayoola emerged as the champion last season and is one of many who also cleared 5-0 in qualifying.
Zeeland East’s Brittany Casey: The reigning shot put champion had the top Regional throw of 44-0 and the second-longest discus toss (125-1).
LP DIVISION 3 at Comstock Park
Top Regional scores: 1. Macomb Lutheran North 247, 2. Pewamo-Westphalia 185, 3. Frankenmuth 172.
Charlevoix: Led by reigning 3,200 champion and meet record holder in that race Amber Way, Charlevoix has a shot to contend after tying for ninth a year ago. The Rayders qualified in three relays and are seeded third in the 3,200 (9:54.11). Way is again top-seeded in the 3,200 (10:42.63; she set the record in 2013 at 10:48.48) and second in the 1,600 (4:58.66). Senior Caroline Boss is the third seed in the 800 (2:22.38).
Frankenmuth: The Eagles are looking to claim their second title in three seasons and fourth in six years and enter with six tops seeds and a number of others in position to score big. Senior Angie Ritter is seeded first in the 100 (12.24) and 200 (25.75) and also runs on the top-seeded 800 (1:44.51) and 1,600 (4:11.14) relays; the 800 relay could approach the meet record of 1:43.49. Junior Sydney Bronner owns the other two top seeds, in the 100 hurdles (15.6) and high jump (5-4), and she’s seeded third in the 300 hurdles (47.89) and also runs on that 800 relay. Junior Stephanie Lambeth is seeded second in pole vault (11-0).
Pewamo-Westphalia: The reigning champion enters this weekend seeded among the top three in three relays, with the top seed in the 400 (51.08). Senior Kenzie Wieber runs on that team and is the reigning champion in pole vault; she’s the top seed again in that event (11-1) and the fifth seed in the 100 (12.76). Freshman Brenna Wirth could also be a key contributor, entering as the sixth seed in the 400 (1:00.72) and third in the 200 (26.45).
Bridgeport’s Ce’Aira Richardson: The Bearcats senior could cap her career with another title or two to go with her win in the 400 last season. She’s seeded first in that race (58.85) and fourth in the 200 (26.47).
Elkton-Pigeon-BayPort’s Kayla Deering: Last season’s shot put champion is set to close her career with another title or two as well, entering as the top seed in the shot put (45-1½) and tied for sixth in discus (114-6).
Manistee’s Annie Fuller: The reigning champion in the 800 and 1,600 last season also set the meet record in the 800 (2:11.77). She's seeded first in that race (2:12.42) and the 1,600 (4:56.05).
LP DIVISION 4 at Hudsonville Middle School
Top Regional scores: 1. Beal City 174, 2. Fowler 170, 3. Saugatuck 165.5.
Pittsford: A mix of strong individuals and relays should put Pittsford in the hunt for its first top-two finish since 1994 and perhaps its first title. The 1,600 relay is top-seeded (4:17.69) and the 800 relay (1:50.21) is seeded second. Senior Bethany Kuenzer could play a huge part; she’s second-seeded in the 100 hurdles (15.97) and pole vault (9-9) and fifth-seeded in the 300 hurdles (49.23).
Reading: Last season’s runner-up is keyed by senior Michelle Davis, who is top-seeded in the 100 hurdles (15.62) and 400 (59.22) and third seeded in the 300 hurdles (47.56) after winning that race last season. The 800 relay (1:50.21) is seeded first and the 3,200 relay (10:09.09) and 1,600 relay (4:17.95) are seeded second. Junior Jennifer Davis runs on the 800 relay and is the top seed in the 100 (12.72) and 200 (26.89).
Traverse City St. Francis: The reigning champion has enough star power to score big again. Sophomore Holly Bullough won the 800 and 1,600 last season and is top-seeded in both with times of 2:15.65 and 5:09.94, respectively, and she's also third-seeded in the 400 (1:00.56). Senior Erin McDonnell is seeded third in the 800 (2:26.42), with junior Grace Meachum seeded fourth in the 200 (27.12) and junior Chandler Tarrant tied for third in the pole vault (9-6).
Beal City’s Addie Schumacher: The high jump champion the last two seasons is tied for the fifth seed at 5-1 and also will shot put and throw discus and run on the 800 relay.
Breckenridge’s Kirsten Olling: One of the most accomplished cross country champions in MHSAA history, she can add to her four track titles and win the 3,200 for a fourth time. She’s the top seed in that race with a time of 11:25.92, best by nearly 16 seconds.
Coleman’s Amanda MacDonald: The reigning pole vault champion is top-seeded in that event (9-10) and also will run the 100 and 400.
New Buffalo’s Jade Madison: Last season’s discus champion looks like a possibility to break the meet record in shot put, entering with a top Regional throw of 43-2 – the meet record is 42-7. She’s seeded second in the discus (117-7) and will also run both hurdles races.
Ottawa Lake Whiteford’s Miranda Johnson: She’s already won three MHSAA championships, including last season in the 200 and long jump. She’ll compete in those two events one more time in high school and is seeded highest, fourth, in the 100 (12.87).
UP DIVISION 1 at Kingsford
Top Regional scores: 1. Marquette 83.5, 2. Negaunee 79, 3. Calumet 43.
Marquette: The Redettes have won three straight and five of the last six Division 1 championships, and have one of the top track athletes in Upper Peninsula history. Sophomore Lindsey Rudden owns meet records in the 800 and 1,600 and also won the 3,200 last season; she’s top-seeded in the 400 (1:01.19), 800 (2:23.97) and 1,600 (5:10.04) this weekend and also will run on the top-seeded 1,600 relay (4:19.03). The 3,200 relay (10:36.15) and 800 relay (1:53.15) also are top-seeded. Junior Hunter Viitala runs on the 800 and 1,600 relays and is the reigning high jump champion; she’s seeded first in that event (5-0) and the 300 hurdles (48.12). Junior Kirsten Iwanski is the reigning champ in shot put and top-seeded in that event (34-9½) and third-seeded in discus (96-2), and freshman Izzy Peterson is top-seeded in the 100 (13.07).
Escanaba: The Eskymos are seeded second in three relays and third in the fourth relay and have key individuals including sophomore Sunny Martineau – she’s seeded third in the 300 hurdles (50.49) and second in the 100 hurdles (17.37).
Calumet’s Chelsea Jacques: The reigning champion in both the 100 and 200, she’s seeded third in the 200 (27.76) this time and fifth in the 100 (13.64).
Sault Ste. Marie’s Corina Armstrong: Last season’s pole vault champion as a sophomore is tied with the best Regional vault (9-0) with Gladstone’s Jamie Snowaert.
UP DIVISION 2 at KINGSFORD
Top Regional scores: 1. Iron River West Iron County 97, 2. St. Ignace 80, 3. Newberry 46.
Iron River West Iron County: The Wykons won last season with 2012 champion St. Ignace moving to Division 3, but could repeat with four individual champions returning. Megan Miatech is again the top seed in shot put (36-5¼) after winning last season and also is third seed in the discus (87-3). Alexis Golfis will try to repeat in long jump and leaped 13-8½ at the Regional; she’s also seeded fifth in the 300 hurdles (52.74). Reigning 200 champ Carli Johnson is seeded third in that race (28.44), fifth in the 100 (14.14) and runs on the second-seeded 800 relay (1:57.74) and top seeded 400 relay (55.44). Cassilyn Pellizzer is the reigning champ in 300 hurdles and seeded first in that race (49.54) and the 100 hurdles (17.14) and runs on the top-seeded 1,600 relay (4:24.84). She’s also tied at 4-10 for the top high jump coming out of Regionals. Freshman Emmy Kinner is seeded first in the 100 (13.74), 200 (27.84) and 400 (1:03.34).
St. Ignace: Last season’s title came in Division 3, but the Saints also won Division 2 from 2010-12 and in 2008. They are loaded in field events with a combined 10 entries despite none in pole vault. Three relays are among the top three seeds in those events, with the 800 relay seeded first (1:57.44). Senior Rachel Hetherington is seeded second in the 400 (1:05.04), 200 (28.14) and 100 (13.84).
Hancock’s Olivia Rouleau: Last season’s discus champion is again the top seed (91-1) entering the weekend.
Ironwood’s Rachel Hudacek: In addition to running two relays, Hudacek is the reigning high jump champion and seeded tied for third this time at 4-8.
Manistique’s Holly Blowers: She won the 800 last season and will run that race (2:47.44), the 400 (1:06.34) and 1,600 (6:01.94) and on the 1,600 relay.
Newberry’s Natalie Beaulieu: The reigning champion in the 1,600 and 3,200 is seeded first in three races, those two in 5:39.24 and 12:19.24, respectively, and the 800 (2:37.14).
UP DIVISON 3 at Kingsford
Top Regional scores: 1. Crystal Falls Forest Park 73, 2. Brimley 56, 3. Munising 51.
Brimley: The Bays have dominated this division of late with four championships over the last six seasons and a runner-up finish last spring to St. Ignace, which is back in Division 2. Brimley has eight top-two seeds and three relays among the top three seeds in their races. Kerri Chartrand is the top seed in the 300 hurdles (52.08) and second seed in the 100 hurdles (18.04) and long jump (14-8¼). Emily Chartrand is the third seed in the 800 (2:45.74) and second in the 3,200 (13:13.84), and Anne Archambeau is the top seed in the discus (103-11) and second in the shot put (34-10½).
Crystal Falls Forest Park: The Trojans finished runners-up to Brimley in both 2009 and 2011 but haven’t won a team title since 1975. They have no entries in field events, but do have four top seeds including the favored 800 (1:58.64) and 400 (56.04) relays. Senior Kendra Campell is the top seed in the 100 hurdles (17.94) and third in the 300 (53.24), and classmate Mary Grandahl is the top seed in the 400 (1:07.54) and second-seeded in the 200 (29.04) and 100 (13.64, tied for seed).
Eben Junction Superior Central’s Teslyn Tyner: She’s seeded first in the long jump (15-4½) by six inches after winning that event last season, and tied for second in the 100 (13.64).
Pickford’s Kim Cruickshank: She’s seeded third in the 100 hurdles (18.14) looking to repeat as champion in that event and fourth in the long jump (14-1), and also will run two relays.
Rock Mid Peninsula’s Kelsey Shope: The reigning high jump champion is tied for the third seed in that event (4-4) and also fourth in the 400 (1:08.64) and will run two relays.
Rudyard’s Savannah Dugan: The reigning shot put champion is seeded first ahead of Archambeau in that event (36-2½) and second behind Archambeau in the discus (98-0).
PHOTO: Bridgeport’s Ce’Aira Richardson (middle) won the 400 at last season’s Lower Peninsula Division 3 Final and will run that race and the 200 on Saturday. (Click to see more at HighSchoolsSportsScene.com.)