Fast and Steady, Newberry Wins Race

By John Vrancic
Special for MHSAA.com

June 4, 2017

KINGSFORD — Steady improvement through this season paid off for the Newberry boys track team Saturday as it scored 130½ points to win its first Upper Peninsula Division 2 title in 11 years.

The Indians were followed by three-time defending champ Ishpeming with 102 and Stephenson at 58.

“We had a lot of great performances,” said Newberry coach Gene Schroll. “Our goal was to improve through the year, and we did that. We had our share of firsts and scored in every event. We were fortunate enough to have four good seniors.”

Senior John Paramski had a hand in four firsts, taking long jump at 18 feet, 10 inches, shot put (48-7) and discus (119-5) and helping the Indians take the 400-meter relay in a U.P. Division 2 Final-record 45.03 seconds on a day that saw temperatures soar above 80 degrees in Dickinson County. St. Ignace previously set the 400 relay record (45.11) in 2009.

“The weather and atmosphere helped,” said Paramski, who will play football at Michigan Tech this fall. “When you have all the teams here, it really motivates you. It’s nice to have everything come together in the U.P. Finals.

“I didn’t have my best throw in disc, but it was good enough.”

Classmate Alex Johnson won the 110 hurdles in 15.99 seconds, edging Norway’s Inocenio Stankevich on a lean, and placed third in the 300 (43.69).

Ishpeming senior Grady Kerst took first in the 800 (2:00.65) and 1,600 (4:29.11), anchored the winning 3,200 relay (8:37.40) and was runner-up in the 3,200 (10:36.22).

The Hematites also took the 800 relay (1:35.69) and placed second in the 400 (45.70) and showed their depth in the distances.

Ishpeming’s Daren Guichin was runner-up in the 800 (2:10.73), with Kyle Pruett fourth (2:12.62).

In the 1,600, Spencer Giroux placed third (4:42.15), followed by teammate Jonah Broberg (4:54.45). Giroux also took third in the 3,200 (10:40.13).

Stephenson sophomore Montell Glover became a triple winner, taking the 100 (11.41), 200 (23.65) and 400 (50.76) and anchoring the second-place 800 relay (1:36.51)

Munising sophomore Matt Revord set a meet record in pole vault (13-6), topping the previous best (12-6) by Sam Winkler of Stephenson in 2001.

“In practice, I’ve been working on getting vertical,” said Revord. “I had 13-9 cleared, but came down on the bar. I definitely felt quick on the runway, but I wasn’t as fast as on other days. I’ve been working on inversion for the most part.”

Ironwood sophomore Nick Niemi took the 3,200 (10:20.23), anchored the winning 1,600 relay (3:43.47) and placed second in the 1,600 (4:36.99).

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Newberry’s anchor runner stretches to finish a meet record run in the 400 relay Saturday. (Middle) Ishpeming’s Grady Kerst passes Newberry’s Kindred Griffis during the 3,200 relay. (Photos by Cara Kamps.)

Lawrence's Schuman Sets Example for Well-Rounded Success

By Pam Shebest
Special for MHSAA.com

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 pamkzoo@aol.com 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.)