KINGSFORD — The Ishpeming boys have allowed very little to stand between them and the Upper Peninsula Division 2 track & field championship in recent years.
They added another trophy to their collection Saturday by scoring 116 points.
The Hematites, who won three of the last four titles outright and shared the fourth, were followed by Iron Mountain with 102 points and St. Ignace at 63.
Senior Jonny Matson scored 36 points for the Hematites, who also have either won or tied for the title six of the last seven seasons.
That string was interrupted only in 2017 when they were runners-up to Newberry and three years later by COVID-19.
Last year, the Hematites shared the title with Norway.
Matson won the 400-meter dash in 53.58 seconds and long jump at 18 feet, 11¾ inches and was runner-up in the 100 (11.73) and 200 (23.77).
“Jon has been a great leader for us, and Parker Gauthier and Hunter Smith picked it up,” said Troy Smith, who shares Ishpeming’s coaching duties with his wife Trisha. “We greatly appreciate the effort of our coaching staff (Morgan Kangas, Khora Swanson and Hailey Smith). They’re a big part of our success.
“Our numbers have been a little low, but we have a great group of kids.”
The Hematites won the 3,200-meter relay in 9 minutes, 4.42 seconds, and Tramon Gauthier added a first in the 110 hurdles (16.67) and second in the 300s (43.0).
Smith was runner-up in high jump (5-11), and Parker Gauthier placed third in the 3,200 (11:44.6).
Iron Mountain’s Matt Colavechhi won the 100 (11.56) and 200 (23.71), and senior Luke Ruble added victories in the 1,600 (4:54.69) and 3,200 (10:52.05).
The Mountaineers also won the 400 relay (45.31) and 800 (1:34.42).
Bark River-Harris was runner-up in the 400 in a school-record 45.34
“Nick (Anderson) started real good and got us in a good spot,” said BR-H junior Vincent Martin, who ran the second leg. “We were seeded fourth. We knew the other three teams were good in the first and anchor legs. We mixed up our lineup a little and were in first going into the third leg.”
St. Ignace got a first from junior Reese McLean in the 800 (2:09.06), and Owen Lester took pole vault (10-0).
“That was a PR by three seconds,” said McLean. ‘With this being the last meet, I decided I might as well put everything into it. I think I started out all right. I wanted to get to the front right away.”
West Iron County’s Landon Sundelius won the 300 hurdles (40.56) and placed second in the 110s (16.74), and Nathan Hochstein of L’Anse was high jump champion at 5-11.
Manistique earned a victory in the 1,600 relay (3:43.99).
PHOTOS (Top) Ishpeming's Tramon Gauthier leads West Iron County's Landon Sundelius and they take first and second in the 110 hurdles. (Middle) Iron Mountain's Matthew Colavecchi edges Bark River-Harris's Vincent Martin by three hundredths of a second to seal the win in the 400 relay. Other members of Iron Mountain's winning relay were Max Jayne, Joey Colavecchi, and Kurt Adiano Ryan. (Click for more from Cara Kamps/Run Michigan.)
LAWRENCE — If redshirting was a thing in high school, at least two coaches at Lawrence would stick that label on senior John Schuman.
“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.
Guillean 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.”
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.
Gribler 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 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 email@example.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.)