KINGSFORD — The Houghton boys gave chase, but Marquette withstood the Gremlins’ challenge while retaining the Upper Peninsula Division 1 track and field title Saturday.
Marquette collected 144 points to repeat and win its fifth title in seven seasons. Houghton followed with 111 points, and Kingsford tallied 72.
“We had a lot of guys step up,” said Marquette coach Kyle Detmers. “I’m proud of their effort. Hats off to Houghton. They had a great meet. I think they’ll be the team to beat next year.”
Senior distance ace Lance Rambo provided the Redmen with victories in the 800-meter run at 1 minute, 59.23 seconds and 1,600 (4:25.26).
Then in the 3,200, Rambo was well ahead of the field on the last turn of the sixth lap (of eight) when he suddenly hopped off the track in a great deal of pain caused by plantar fasciitis.
“I’ve had it for about a week,” Rambo said. “It’s really not that bad, but I didn’t get to ice it down after the 800 and it got worse during the 3,200. I’m happy about my first two races and the fact our team did so well. I had decent times in the 800 and 1,600.”
Rambo’s misfortune opened the door for Escanaba junior Joey Wolfe, who won in a personal-best 9:59.78.
“Hats off to Joey,” said Rambo. “He ran a great race.”
Lance’s brother, Luke Rambo, was runner-up (10:05.29) and Sault Ste. Marie’s Aaron Kinsella took third (10:07.11) in a race where the Division 1 and 2 runners ran together.
“It was a tragedy and a blessing,” said Wolfe. “I saw Lance go off the track and didn’t know what to think. Nate (Carey of Iron Mountain) and the kid from the Sault were right next to me. I told myself, ‘this is my chance,’ and took off in the last lap. Anything can happen. That’s why you always try to do your best. Yet, I feel bad for Lance. I just hope it wasn’t anything too serious.”
Marquette’s Pat Burmeister won the 100 (11.4), placed second in the 200 (23.36) and anchored the runner-up sprint relays.
Teammate Brad Seaborg added a first in the 300 hurdles (42.32). Payton Muljo won shot put at 44 feet, ½ inch, and Taylor Althouse took high jump (5-10).
“Lance ran great races in the 800 and 1,600,” said Detmers. “Luke really helped us by taking second in the 3,200 when Lance went down. We scored about 40 points in the field events, which hasn’t been common for us. We were seeded fourth in long jump and we got second and fifth. The only disappointment we had is our 3,200 relay got disqualified.”
Houghton won the day’s opening race in 8:15.38, and Clayton Sayen captured the 400 (51.7), took second in the 800 (2:02.49) and third in the 1,600 (4:38.48). Brad Ohtonen added a first in discus (120-2).
Kingsford’s sprint relays, anchored by Ben Moreau, took first in the 400 (45.01) and 800 (1:34.1).
The Flivvers also got a first from Mike Jamar in long jump (20-1¼), with Marquette’s Wyatt Goodwin runner-up (20-½).
PHOTOS: (Top) Marquette and Houghton battle during the 3,200 relay, won by the eventual overall runner-up Gremlins. (Middle) Negaunee’s Joe Grasso (far left) celebrates his 110 hurdles championship. (Photos by Cara Kamps.)
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.)