Marquette Rises to Match Challengers

By John Vrancic
Special for MHSAA.com

June 2, 2018

KINGSFORD — The Marquette boys continued their hold on the Upper Peninsula Division 1 track title Saturday, winning for the fourth straight season with 110 points.

Houghton edged Gladstone 86-76 for runner-up honors.

“Competition in D-1 was the tightest I’ve seen in a long time,” said Marquette coach Kyle Detmers. “It was very competitive. It was a battle until the 3,200 when it was just a seven-point difference between us and Houghton.

“It was just packed. I haven’t been in a D-1 Track Finals that was this competitive to the end.”

Senior Garrett Rudden helped the Redmen gain some separation by placing third in the 3,200-meter run in 10 minutes, 14.41 seconds and helping the winning 1,600 relay (3:35.87). Teammate Garrett Zueger took fourth in the 3,200 (10:28.68) and helped the Redmen take the 3,200 relay (8:30.74).

The Redmen had a double winner in junior Raphael Millado, who captured high jump (6-2) and long jump (19-6).

“Raphael has jumped as high as 6-6 and more than 21 feet (in long jump),” said Detmers. “The wind swirling around down there may have affected the jumping events. We also had a guy (Ethan Martysz) pull up with a hamstring injury in the 100 and pull out of the 200, but the guys fought through it. Drew Thomas taking second in the 110 hurdles and Garrett’s second in the 1,600 were huge for us, and Matt (Pillifant) was seeded seventh and placed fourth in pole vault. We stayed steady and scored in all the field events. I’m thankful for the guys’ resilience and ability to pick each other up. Every point mattered.”

Houghton senior Clayton Sayen won four individual events, taking the 100 (11.47), 200 (23.19), 400 (51.25) and 800 (1:59.31), in the last edging Negaunee senior Colton Yesney (2:00.24).

“It was fun,” said Sayen, who plans to continue his track career at Michigan Tech. “I rely on my speed for everything. I’m thankful for our coaches who always knew that was best for me. Without their guidance, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I did. I also want to make a special shout-out to Seth Helman. Running against him in the 800 was a bittersweet moment. He’s my closest friend; I’m really going to miss the time we had together. I’m thankful for the competition we had.”

Houghton coach Dan Juntilla said he was pleased with the team’s effort.

“Our guys gave it their all, but Marquette was a little too deep for us,” he added. “I’m real proud of the guys. Seth and Clayton had a great day, and placing second in the 3,200 relay set the tone. Plus, taking three places in pole vault gave us some big points.

“We’re looking forward to having our new facility next year and really excited about what the taxpayers of Houghton did for us.”

Yesney, who plans to continue his running career at the University of Michigan, won the 1,600 in a school-record 4:23.49 and 3,200 (9:54.43), missing the U.P. meet record by four tenths of a second.

“I’m a little bummed out,” he said. “I thought I had the record. I could envision myself getting the school record in the 1,600. Usually, when that happens it works out well. I thought I had (Sayen) in the 800, but he has that sprinter’s speed and just enough endurance to get it done.

“I’m really looking forward to going to U-M, running for one of the best programs in the nation and running against some of the best runners in the nation.”

Gladstone’s leader was freshman Calvin Thibault, who won the 110 hurdles (16.12) and 300s in a school-record 40.04 seconds.

“I knew what was at stake with us being so close to Marquette (before the 300s),” said Thibault, who’s battling an asthmatic condition. “My family and girlfriend (junior Hannah Christe) were here, and I thought about them during the race. Hannah makes sure I get enough rest and energy to run. At the beginning of the season, I didn’t think I’d be able to do this well, especially in the 300 hurdles. I didn’t know what to expect.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Marquette’s Raphael Millado clears the bar on one of his high jumps. (Middle) Houghton’s Clayton Sayen, left, outkicks Negaunee’s Colton Yesney to win the 800. (Photos by Cara Kamps. Click for more at RunMichigan.com.)

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.)