Preview: UP Boys Finals Feature Fierce Team Races, Statewide Headliners

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

June 2, 2022

There’s an excellent chance many statewide eyes turn to Saturday’s Upper Peninsula Boys Track & Field Finals at Kingsford High School.

Start in high jump, where Menominee’s Brady Schultz is one of four athletes sharing the top performance in that event in Michigan this season. Ishpeming’s Jonny Matson is another intriguing story; he’s the top seed in four individual events, and if he wins all four will become just the ninth athlete in state history to do so at the MHSAA Finals. Powers North Central’s Luke Gorzinski and Ewen-Trout Creek’s Jaden Borseth are Division 3 contenders who have starred leading their teams to statewide Finals in football and basketball, respectively.

Of heightened interest closer to home, annual favorites Marquette and Ishpeming could face tough challenges in team title competition from Kingsford and Iron Mountain, respectively. Dollar Bay, a first-time team champ in 2021, will look to add another but with Pickford and Munising perhaps the favorites in Division 3 this time around.

Events begin at 10 a.m. (EDT) and tickets to attend can be purchased online only at GoFan. The meets also will be broadcast on MHSAA.tv and viewable with subscription.

Below is a glance at team contenders and individuals to watch in all three divisions.

Division 1

Team forecast: After seeing its latest Finals win streak end at four with Gladstone taking the 2019 championship, Marquette returned off the COVID year with a win ahead of runner-up Gladstone in 2021. Marquette also was first at its Regional two weeks ago, scoring nearly as many points as the other four teams combined. But watch out for Kingsford. The Flivvers, seeking their first team title since 2014, have qualifiers all over the meet and are seeded to have five event champions. Houghton has similar star power and potential for points.

Dryden Nelson, Calumet senior: The Copper Kings’ standout won the 100 and long jump last year, and he’s seeded first in the 100 (11.31) and second in the 200 (23.58) and long jump (19-11½). He will also run on the 400 relay.

Sasha Olsen, Gladstone senior: Last season’s pole vault champion also was fourth in high jump and is seeded third (5-9) in that event and will run on the 400 relay.  

Brady Schultz, Menominee senior: Schultz’s 6-7 in high jump at his Regional was seven inches higher than anyone else in UPD1, and his best of 6-9 remains tied for best in the state this spring. He set the UPD1 meet record last year at 6-8. He’ll also run on three relays including the second-seeded 800 and 1,600.

Lucas Tappy, Kingsford senior: The reigning shot put champion is top-seeded in that event by 3½ feet with a Regional toss of 46-2½.  

Carson VanderSchaaf, Marquette junior: This half of the distance twin duo is the top seed in the 1,600 (4:35.72) and 3,200 (9:59.88) and won the 3,200 last season.

Colin VanderSchaaf, Marquette junior: The reigning champ in the 1,600 is second-seeded to his brother by 12 hundredths of a second at 4:35.84 and top-seeded in the 800 (2:05.42) by less than a tenth of a second ahead of Houghton standout Eric Weiss. VanderSchaaf also will run the 400 and on the top-seeded 1,600 relay.

Division 2

Team forecast: The Hematites shared championship last season with Norway was its third straight title and sixth over the last seven seasons. Its Regional win two weeks ago came in part thanks to 10 event championships, and the team has six top seeds based on those performances. Iron Mountain has a qualifier in all but one event Saturday as it seeks its first team title since 2008.

Kingsford trackEric Edwards, Newberry senior: Last season’s shot put champion is the second seed this time (42-6¼) and will run on two relays including the top-seeded 800.

Nathan Hochstein, L’Anse senior: After sweeping the jumps last spring, Hochstein is the top seed in the high jump (5-7) and fifth in long jump (17-3), and may also run the 400 and on up to two relays.

Christian Koiveniemi, St. Ignace senior: The reigning 100 champ is seeded in the middle of that race and the 200 and tied for the second seed in the high jump (5-6). He’ll also likely run on the top-seeded 400 relay.

Jonny Matson, Ishpeming senior: He enters his first Finals as the top seed in all four of his events – the 100 (11.68), 200 (24.06), 400 (54.06) and long jump (20-0).

Eli Ostermeyer, L’Anse senior: The reigning discus champion is top-seeded in that event (122-9½), and third in shot put (41-9¼) coming off last season’s runner-up finish in that throw.  

Landon Sundelius, West Iron County senior: He won the 300 hurdles and was fourth in the 110 last season, but enters Saturday seeded first for both in 41.59 and 17.34, respectively.

Trevor Visnaw, St. Ignace sophomore: Las season’s pole vault champion is seeded second (10-6) and could run two relays, including on the top-seeded 400.

Division 3

Team forecast: Dollar Bay claimed its first Finals championship in this sport last season, edging Pickford by 12 points. Both should be in the mix Saturday, plus Munising is seeking its first team title since winning back-to-back in 2014 and 2015. The Mustangs have top seeds in four events, while Pickford has qualifiers in every event but one. An interesting addition is Norway, which shared the Division 2 championship last season and finished second at its Regional last month to Stephenson.

Jaden Borseth, Ewen-Trout Creek senior: The basketball standout is also a rare four-field event athlete and the top seed in the discus (127-9). He’ll also compete in the shot put and as the third seed in the long jump (18-9½), and placed in high jump as a junior.

Luke Gorzinski, Powers North Central junior: The 8-Player Finals championship quarterback is also the reigning UPD3 champ in the 200. He’s the top seed in the 100 (11.38), second in the 200 (23.92) and could run on two relays including the top-seeded 800.

Trenton Naser, Powers North Central senior: He finished second in the 300 hurdles and fourth in the 110 last season, but is the top seed in both this weekend at 44.04 and 16.94, respectively. He’s also slated for multiple relays including possibly the 800.

Micaiah Peramaki, Munising junior: After finishing runner-up in the 100 and third in the 200 last spring, Peramaki enters seeded second in the 100 (11.72) but first in the 200 (23.65) and 400 (53.31) – and also second-seeded in the discus (121-8).

Nikolas Thomas, Dollar Bay senior: He contributed to Dollar Bay’s first team title scoring points in the 1,600 and 3,200 and as part of last season’s winning 3,200 relay. He’ll have a much larger role in any repeat attempt as the top seed in the 800 (2:06.08), 1,600 (4:44.86) and 3,200 (10:46.15) and fourth seed in the 400 (54.43).

PHOTOS (Top) Marquette’s Lamb Ngafeeson (left) and Samuel Markey are step for step with each other near the start of their 110 hurdles Regional race last month. (Middle) Kingsford’s Cardel Morton (5) retains a slight lead on Marquette’s Colin VanderSchaaf (3) after the final handoff of the 1,600 relay at the May 13 Negaunee Lions Invitational. (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.)