Alwine's Risk Rewarded with Top Vault

By Wes Morgan
Special for

June 5, 2019

Wyatt Alwine was one more failed attempt away from having a very bad day at last Saturday’s MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 3 Track & Field Finals.

With some of his adrenaline reserve drained from a long rain delay, the Constantine junior — seeded No. 1 entering the meet — described himself as a “mental case” after having missed his first two tries at an opening height of 12 feet, 3 inches, one of which ended in the grass.

After finishing third overall for all-state status a year earlier, Alwine was in danger of not posting a height at all.  

“My head just wasn’t there,” he said. “The rain delays didn’t help. I think that was one of the main reasons for a lack of focus.”

A calming influence for Alwine throughout the storms was first-year Constantine pole vault coach Stephanie Teeple — a past three-time Finals champion at Sturgis (1998, 2000, 2001) who went on to do big things at the University of Nebraska and Western Michigan University, including breaking the WMU outdoor record. She always could count on her coach and father, Wes Teeple, who set a school record at Eastern Michigan University and won two league titles, and her mother, Cheryl, who also coached at Sturgis. Oh, and there was older brother Brad to lean on as well. Brad Teeple won a Class B crown in 1999 and went on to compete for Alabama and Nebraska.

Wes and Cheryl Teeple have made it to most Constantine meets this season after Stephanie joined the staff.

“It’s good to have their whole family,” Alwine said. They all come out and support us. It’s a family thing. They definitely know what they’re talking about.”

And when Alwine found himself on the brink of elimination Saturday, he was ready for some encouragement.

“He struggled a little bit on the first two and put it together on the third one,” Stephanie Teeple said of Alwine’s start to the day. “You can either give up or want it, pull through and clear it. Once he got those jitters out, he just improved from there.”

Alwine ended up with a personal-record of 14-3 to win the LPD3 championship, edging Beaverton junior Will Aldrich, who topped out at 14-0 in what ended up being a much more high-flying finals than in 2018. Alwine jumped 13-3 last year for his third-place finish — a height that was not even good enough for a top-eight spot this year.

But even after regaining confidence, Alwine had to trust his coach in crunch time. After clearing 13-9, it was time to take a chance.

Teeple told Alwine to move up to a 15-foot pole that he had never tried. This might not sound difficult to the uninitiated. But for anyone who has had the guts to vault, it’s a rocket ride into the unknown. Added length requires more speed, more strength, a rock-solid plant and nerves of steel. Breaking one out on the biggest stage amplifies the importance of all the above.

“I said, ‘I don’t know about this,’” Alwine recalled. “It’s a big pole. I just listened to her, and it ended up working out.”

“If he wouldn’t have gotten on that bigger pole, I’m not sure he would have gotten over 14-3 to win the meet,” Teeple said. “That’s all it takes, is one kid to get on a bigger pole and it makes all the difference. But that’s what’s good about Wyatt; he is pretty fearless. He has the tools to be a good vaulter, so I’m just glad I get to coach him and do what I know how to do best. I’m really excited for the future to see what he can do.”

Alwine wasn’t able to get over 14-6 cleanly as his leg caught the bar on his descent. After reviewing film of the attempt, Alwine said his body was nearly a foot over the bar.

“I knew I had something special when I got third at state,” Alwine said. “This year, with Miss Teeple coming in, she gave me pointers that really helped me more. It was a lot different. But it kind of clicked a lot better with me. Miss Teeple brought up how the bottom arm is your power. The plant is most important. That and moving up poles got me up to higher heights. 

“It kind of got me stoked to do some summer vaulting with her because I know the height is there. It’s exciting (that I won), but I’m already excited to get back to it.”

Wes Morgan has reported for the Kalamazoo Gazette, ESPN and, 247Sports and Blue & Gold Illustrated over the last 12 years and is the publisher of He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph and Branch counties.

PHOTOS: (Top) Constantine’s Wyatt Alwine clears the pole vault bar during the 2018 season. (Middle) Alwine, this spring. (Top photo courtesy of; middle courtesy of Wyatt Alwine.)

Peramaki Adds to Past Finals Fame by Leading Munising to Team Title

By Jason Juno
Special for

June 4, 2023

KINGSFORD – Munising’s Micaiah Peramaki couldn’t really top last year’s Upper Peninsula Division 3 Finals. He became the eighth male all-time to win four events at an MHSAA track & field championship meet.

“I proved myself last year, so it’s a little more of a fun meet this year,” Peramaki said. “But it’s still important for me just to do good.”

And he was excellent again.

He led the Mustangs to the team title with individual wins in the 100, 200 and 400. He was also a part of the winning 1,600 relay team.

Bessemer's Vinnie Triggiano is able to hold off Lake Linden-Hubbell's Matthew Jokela and Newberry's Kennedy Depew to win the 400 relay.“The 100, I was right next to my brother, Josiah; he ended up getting third. That was really fun actually. We both did really good in that,” Peramaki said. “The 400, I had Aa’Keem (Jackson) from Newberry to watch out for. He pushed it hard in the corner over here, I was prepared for it and I just ran hard from there.”

Josiah Peramaki repeated with a win in the pole vault. Other members of the 1,600 relay were Kane Nebel, Zack Lindquist and Josiah Peramaki.

Munising won the team title with 103.5 points. Newberry was second with 81, Bessemer third with 52 and Rapid River fourth with 44.

Bessemer won the 400 relay (Tommy Trudgeon, Landon Peterson, Daniel Lis and Vinnie Triggiano). Bessemer also finished fifth in the 800 relay – despite being seeded first – and Trudgeon said he had to make a comeback in the 400 relay, which also was seeded first. 

He was behind after a shaky handoff, though. But the 100 meters is probably his best race anyway. He finished runner-up to Peramaki, one-tenth of a second behind him.

“I guess I just had to close like a train,” he said of his leg of the relay. “It feels great, glad to win.”

Chassell's Kalvin Kytta, left, and Dollar Bay's Amos Norland run together until the end of the 3,200.Newberry won the 800 relay (Marco Juarez, Jackson, Matthew Rahilly and Kennedy Depew) and Dollar Bay the 3,200 relay (Joshua Gaunt, Josh Luukkonen, Caleb Kentala and Amos Norland).

Crystal Falls Forest Park’s Samuel McKissack won the 110 hurdles, and Newberry’s Chris Hopson was champion in the 300 hurdles. 

In the distance races, Dollar Bay’s Norland won the 800, Forest Park’s Gaven Rintala the 1,600 and Chassell’s Kalvin Kytta the 3,200.

The latter race with Norland was so close – Kytta won by seven hundredths of a second – that Kytta wasn’t sure if he was in fact champion or not.

“I got passed by the leader. I tried to stick on him through the rest of the race,” he said. “He got a little gap on me the last 100 meters. I just felt that juice. I think I passed him.”

It turns out he did.

Whitefish Township, which has just 22 students in the high school, went home with a champion for the first time in school history – Seth Mills in the discus. Newberry’s Rahilly won the long jump, North Central’s Dylan Plunger won the high jump and Rapid River’s Kody Goldi took the shot put.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Munising's Micaiah Peramaki, center, wins the 400 on Saturday. (Middle) Bessemer's Vinnie Triggiano (4) is able to hold off Lake Linden-Hubbell's Matthew Jokela and Newberry's Kennedy Depew to win the 400 relay. (Below) Chassell's Kalvin Kytta, left, and Dollar Bay's Amos Norland run together until the end of the 3,200. (Photos by Cara Kamps/