Munising Follows Leaders to Repeat

By John Vrancic
Special for

May 31, 2015

KINGSFORD — Senior Andy Cooper and junior Brett Hannah have been the leaders for the Munising boys track team all season.

They continued to lead Saturday as the Mustangs retained their Upper Peninsula Division 3 title with 134 points.

Rapid River brought home the runner-up trophy with 65, with Bessemer and Stephenson sharing third at 45 apiece.

Cooper set U.P. meet records in the 110-meter hurdles in 14.96 seconds and 300 (40.13). He also won the 200 (22.8) and high jump at 6-foot-2, making it two straight seasons with four individual Finals championships.

His effort in the 110 race topped the previous best (15.21) by Grayson Hood of Engadine in 2007. In the 300, he bettered the old standard (40.42) by Mike Schmaus of Ontonagon from five years ago.

Hannah established the 800 record with a personal-best 2:01.45, surpassing the old mark (2:03.41) by Tyler Veraghen of Powers North Central in 2009. He also captured the 1,600 (4:38.09) and 3,200 (10:40.5).

“Getting the PR (and U.P. record) in the 800 felt pretty good,” said Hannah. “It definitely helps to have people from our community come all the way over here and show their support. It’s definitely nice to have that sense of comfort.”

Senior Ben Stasewich added a first in shot put (44-2½).

Munising senior Alex Hill was runner-up in the 100 (11.64) by two hundredths of a second to St. Ignace’s James Cryderman. He also placed second in the 200 (23.95) and third in high jump (5-10). Classmate Austin Kelto was runner-up in long jump (18-5) and Ian McInnis was third in discus (122-7).

Rapid River didn’t get any firsts, but got seconds from junior Dan Blair in the 800 (2:03.2) and 1,600 (4:43.44).

Junior Jon Stropich added a second in pole vault (12-0) and freshman Logan Hardwick was runner-up in discus (125-11).

Rapid River sophomore Mason Berglund was third in the 110 hurdles (17.3) and 300 (44.24).

Bessemer retained its 3,200 relay title and Tim Buerger placed second in the 3,200 (10:51.06) and fourth in the 1,600 (4:58.98). Brayden Tomes was runner-up in the 300 hurdles (44.0) and senior Jess Mazzon placed third in the 400 (54.44).

Stephenson senior Brandon Kau won discus (135-9). Senior Connor Cappaert placed third in the 3,200 (10:58.42), and Tristan Johnson was third in the 100 (11.72).

Crystal Falls Forest Park junior Bill Ragio set the U.P. meet pole vault record at 13-3½, topping the old mark (13-3) by Jimmi Cretens of Rock Mid-Peninsula in 2007. He also took third in the 200 (24.14).

North Central junior Bryce Holle won the 400 (51.78) and placed third in the 800 (2:05).

“I just tried to build up a little speed in practice,” he said. “I did a lot of sprints by doing power line pulls where you sprint one, walk one and jog one (prior to repeating the process). Those seem to help me a lot. Winning the 400 means a lot to me. It’s hard to get good placing when there’s so much competition. The rest of the guys also did a pretty good job.”

Senior J.J. Larson became the first Hannahville athlete to place in the U.P. Finals, taking fifth in discus (114-0).        

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PHOTO: Munising's Brett Hannah won the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 at the U.P. Division 3 Final on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Cara Kamps.)

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.)