Fantastic 4 Lead Lumen Christi to No. 1

May 30, 2015

By Chip Mundy
Special for Second Half

COMSTOCK PARK – Jackson Lumen Christi came to the Lower Peninsula Division 3 Boys Track and Field Final with just four qualifiers.

The Titans left with a surprising MHSAA championship – the first in school history in track and field.

Lumen Christi’s quartet of athletes totaled 44 points to outdistance runner-up Hillsdale’s 37. Clinton was third with 30 points.

“We weren’t a good dual-meet team, and we didn’t have a lot of depth, but we had some really good individuals,” Lumen Christi coach Mike Woolsey said. “I kind of thought if we put the time in, this sort of thing could happen.

“I’ve seen it with other teams, but never with us. This is great.”

The Titans won only one event. Senior Patrick Ludlow won the 800 in thrilling fashion as he came from behind to nip Ryan Silvestri of Napoleon by less than one second.

“On the first lap, I wanted to be in a good spot in the top two or three,” Ludlow said. “I came around right where I wanted to be. With about 300 to go, I kind of came out first, and then some guys were right with me. Around the 200, I just gutted it out and got the win.”

Ludlow conceded that he did not come to Comstock Park expecting to leave with a team championship.

“Honestly, no. This is so much more than I could have expected,” he said. “It definitely feels better with the team, and it feels good to do both; but to be able to share it with the team is awesome.”

Woolsey said Ludlow followed the script in winning the race.

“He ran the type of race we’ve been practicing all year,” he said. “Watching that race was kind of how I pictured it in my mind.”

Jonathan Scouten, another Lumen Christi senior, had a roller-coaster ride all day. Seeded in the top two in both the shot put and discus, Scouten failed to pick up an individual championship and lost the shot put by a half-inch.

“My day was pretty eventful,” he said. “I was hoping to win both the discus and the shot put, and in the discus I was first going into the finals but ended up getting second. So I was a little disappointed there,” he said. “In the shot put, it was the same thing, except in the finals I ended up losing by a half-inch.

“The whole season has been like this. We’ve been real mellow as a team, and then, what is this? State champions? It’s a blessing. I was about to go home real disappointed, but having this made my day.”

Woolsey said Scouten has gotten to where he is because of hard work and technique and not simply brute strength.

“Over the four years he has improved so much,” Woolsey said. “He’s a hard worker. He’s not the biggest thrower out there, but as far as technique, he’s great. He’s mastered that.”

Lumen Christi junior Wyatt Plate was second in the 200 and third in the 100.

“Plate is just naturally fast, and he has the potential to get even faster,” Woolsey said.

The fourth Lumen Christi athlete to qualify for the meet was junior Jacob Wildenhaus, who took fifth in the 300 hurdles.

Amazingly, there were no multiple individual champions in the meet, and only third-place Clinton managed to bag two titles – one individual and one on a relay.

It was that sort of meet that helped Lumen Christi win a team championship with 44 points.

“You need to have good individuals and have them be on, and it happened,” Woolsey said. “I kind of did the math before and thought we could score a lot of points, but I didn’t know if they would be enough.”

Woolsey has been coaching for 36 years, and he has been involved with winning MHSAA titles for Lumen Christi with boys and girls cross country. But he said winning one in track and field had its own nice touch.

“It’s different,” he said. “Usually with cross country I’m the only coach, so I’m happy for all the other coaches. I’m happy for these kids. It’s fun to be able to take this back to school.”

The other individual champions in the running events were Macomb Lutheran North junior Zach Stadnika in the 110 hurdles, Niles Brandywine senior Andrew Duckett in the 300 hurdles, Sanford-Meridian junior Christian Petre in the 100, Clinton senior Tyler Underwood in the 200, Madison Heights Madison senior Jaylin Golson in the 400, Lansing Catholic senior Keenan Rebera in the 1,600 and Calvin Christian junior Abe Visser in the 3,200.

In the field events, champs were Hesperia junior Nate McKeown (high jump), Reed City junior Nate Fasbender (pole vault), Hillsdale senior Austin Hawkins (long jump), Carson City-Crystal senior Joshua Coston (discus) and Grand Rapids West Catholic junior Carl Myers (shot put).

Hawkins was the defending champion in the long jump.

In the relay events, Clinton won the 40, Marlette the 800, Adrian Madison the 1,600 and Hanover-Horton the 3,200.

Click for full results.

PHOTO: Jackson Lumen Christi's Patrick Ludlow finishes his winning 800 run Saturday in helping the Titans to the LP Division 3 team championship. (Click to see more from Photo by Jamie Geysbeek.)

Lawrence's Schuman Sets Example for Well-Rounded Success

By Pam Shebest
Special for

December 14, 2022

LAWRENCE — If redshirting was a thing in high school, at least two coaches at Lawrence would stick that label on senior John Schuman.

Southwest Corridor“We don’t want to lose this kid ever,” said Derek Gribler, the Tigers’ first-year varsity football and baseball coach.

“If we could put a red shirt on this kid every year, we would.”

Athletic director John Guillean, who also coaches varsity basketball, agreed.

“He is what we strive to have all our student-athletes achieve: high GPAs, multi-sport athletes, good, overall well-rounded human beings,” Guillean said.

Schuman has participated in five of the seven boys sports Lawrence sponsors.

As a freshman and sophomore, Schuman played football, wrestled, ran track and played baseball.

He had wrestled since he was 4, and went from the 119-pound weight class as a freshman to 145 the following year. That sophomore season he qualified for his Individual Regional. But as a junior, he traded wrestling for basketball.

“My older brother wrestled at Lawrence, so I would come to practices,” he said. “I quit for a couple years (in middle school) because I liked basketball, too. It was hard to do both. Obviously, in high school, I still struggled with choosing,” he added, laughing.

John GuilleanGuillean is thrilled Schuman made the switch.

“He’s 6-(foot-)4, he’s super athletic, defensively he’s a hawk, offensively he can put the ball in the bucket. But really, aside from his skills, just that positive attitude and that positive outlook, not just in a game, but in life in general, is invaluable,” the coach said.

Last season, Schuman earned honorable mention all-league honors in the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference, averaging 9.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.

Lawrence left the BCS for the Southwest 10 Conference this year, joining Bangor, Bloomingdale, Hartford, Decatur, Comstock, Marcellus, Mendon, Centreville, White Pigeon and Cassopolis. Schuman and senior Tim Coombs will co-captain the Tigers, with Guillean rotating in a third captain.

At a school of fewer than 200 students, Schuman will help lead a varsity team with just nine – joined by seniors Andy Bowen and Gabe Gonzalez, juniors Christian Smith, Noel Saldana, Ben McCaw and Zander Payment, and sophomore Jose Hernandez, who will see time with the junior varsity as well using the fifth-quarter rule.

“I attribute a lot of (last year’s successful transition) to my coach, helping me get ready because it wasn’t so pretty,” the senior said. “But we got into it, got going, and my teammates helped me out a lot.”

Great anticipation

Gribler is one coach already looking ahead to spring sports after seeing what Schuman did during football season.

In spite of missing 2½ games with an injury, the wide receiver caught 50 receptions for 870 yards and 11 touchdowns.

“I just like the ability to run free, get to hit people, let out some anger,” Schuman laughed.

Derek GriblerGribler said the senior is “an insane athlete.

“On top of his athletic ability, how smart he is in the classroom (3.88 GPA), he helped mold the culture we wanted this year for football. He got our underclassmen the way we wanted them. He was a big asset in many ways.”

Schuman earned all-conference honors for his on-field performance in football as well.

“I would say that my main sport is football,” the senior said. “That’s the one I like the most, spend the most time on.”

In the spring, Schuman competed in both track and baseball, earning all-conference honors in both.

“Doing both is tough,” he said. “I have to say my coaches make it a lot easier for me. They help me a lot and give me the ability to do both, so I really appreciate that.

“Throughout the week you’re traveling every day, it seems like. Baseball twice a week and track, but it’s worth it.”

Schuman’s commitment is so strong that he made a special effort not to let his teammates down last spring.

“He qualified for state in the long jump and did his jumps up in Grand Rapids, then he drove all the way to Kalamazoo to play in the District baseball game,” Guillean said. “That speaks volumes about who this kid is. He did his jumps at 9 a.m. (but did not advance) and made it back to Kalamazoo for a 12:15 game.”

Big shoes to fill

As the youngest of four children of Mark and Gretchen Schuman, the senior was following a family tradition in sports.

Oldest brother Matthew played football, basketball and baseball as well as competed in pole vault and wrestling.

Middle bother Christopher competed in football, wrestling and baseball.

Sister Stephanie played basketball, volleyball and softball.

“I like to say they blazed a pretty good trail for me at this high school,” Schuman said.

As for feeling pressure to live up to his siblings, “I used to when I was younger, but now I feel like I’ve made my own way and done enough things to be proud of that I’m happy with it.”

His own way led him to achieve something none of the others did.

He was named the Tigers’ Male Athlete of the Year, just the third junior to earn the boys honor over the last 25 years.

“I was very honored to win that as a junior,” Schuman said. “There were good athletes in the grade above me. I guess hard work pays off.”

Guillean said while Schuman is “darn good at every sport here,” an athlete does not have to be a “top dog” in every sport.

“Learn how to take a back seat,” he said. “Learn how to be a role player. That will make you a better teammate and a well-rounded human being.

“Johnny has that work ethic, in the classroom, on the field, on the court, on the track. It doesn’t go unnoticed and, obviously, he’s reaping the benefits now.”

Pam ShebestPam Shebest served as a sportswriter at the Kalamazoo Gazette from 1985-2009 after 11 years part-time with the Gazette while teaching French and English at White Pigeon High School. She can be reached at with story ideas for Calhoun, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Lawrence’s John Schuman has participated in five varsity sports during his first 3½ years of high school. (Middle) Lawrence athletic director John Guillean. (Below) Lawrence football and baseball coach Derek Gribler. (Action photos courtesy of John Schuman; head shots by Pam Shebest.)