Marquette Caps Perfect Season with Final Win

By John Vrancic
Special for

October 19, 2013

HARVEY — The Marquette girls and Menominee senior Kameron Burmeister concluded their cross country seasons in impressive fashion in Saturday’s Upper Peninsula Division 1 Final.

Marquette capped a perfect season by scoring 27 points, followed by defending champion Calumet 89 and Escanaba 112.

“It has been a tremendous performance by the ladies all year,” said Marquette coach Dale Phillips. “We had a veteran team and an excellent freshman (Amber Huebner). Summer running really paid off for them. Since Day 1 in practice they knew they were going after the championship.”

Burmeister also finished undefeated by covering the 3.1-mile course in 19 minutes, 36 seconds to become the first Menominee girl to be crowned U.P. champion since 1980.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Burmeister said shortly after the race. “This is kind of bittersweet with this being my last cross country race of my high school career. I’m so fortunate to be able to do this against so many good runners.”

Marquette sophomore Lindsey Rudden was runner-up (19:42), with Huebner third (19:56).

“Kameron deserves to win it,” said Rudden. “I’m not disappointed I lost because I gained so much. I learned a lot this year. I learned how to be a teammate and a runner. I’m so proud of our boys and girls teams.”

Division 2

Hancock gained its first title since 1990 with 47 points. The Bulldogs were followed by St. Ignace with 60 and defending champion Newberry with 69.

“We had a real good day,” said Hancock coach Matt Dennis. “We came together as a team and kept pushing each other all year. We knew we had a good shot at winning trophies. We kept shooting for today and gave our best effort.”

Hancock senior Abbey Tembreull won in 21:04, followed by St. Ignace’s Lily Calcaterra (21:12), Newberry sophomore Natalie Beaulieu (21:16), Norway sophomore Kyra Johnson (21:30) and Ironwood senior Jessica Gering (21:37), who won a year ago.

“I had quite a bit left in the end,” said Tembreull, who plans to run cross country at Finlandia University next fall. “Once I saw the finish, I realized I could do it. I usually try to get in front of the pack early. Once I get in front it seems easier to keep the lead than trying to catch up. When that happens, I feel I’m more in control of my pace.”

Division 3

Munising copped its first Division 3 title with 46 points and Cedarville squeezed past Dollar Bay 54-55 for runner-up honors.

“This is a great bunch of girls,” said Munising coach Fran DesArmo. “We’re going to miss our seniors. Cedarville and Dollar Bay were tough. I kept looking at the scores and saw Dollar Bay was running against Houghton, Hancock and Calumet all year. They ran against good competition. The key for us is the girls ran hard in the middle of the race and they stuck with it.”

The Mustangs were led by freshman Marissa Immel at 21:16.

“I was pleased with my race and proud of our girls team,” said Immel, who also plays on the school’s volleyball and tennis teams. “We pulled though today. We have four seniors who realized it was their last high school race and they left it all on the course. I think our perfect score at the (Central U.P./Skyline) conference meet helped a lot. All the girls wanted it real bad. We also have some good eighth graders coming up. I’m excited for next year.”

Rudyard junior Kaylee Hoolsema, who won in 20:32, was followed by Immel and Cedarville’s Emma Bohn (21:19).

“Our coaches told me I could probably get first if I went after it,” said Hoolsema, who became the first Rudyard girl to be crowned U.P. champion. “I was a little nervous coming over here because I never ran here before. I really didn’t know what to expect. The course was kind of slippery at Mile 2 and the rolling hills were kind of tiring in the end. But once you get that far into the race, you just have to go for it.”

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PHOTO: Runners charge to the front at the start of Saturday's Upper Peninsula Division 1 Final. (Photo courtesy of Gerard.)

Kent City's Evers Selected for NFHS National 'Coach of the Year' Honor

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

January 11, 2023

Kent City cross country coach Jill Evers has been named the 2021-22 National Coach of the Year for girls cross country by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association.

Evers was selected by a committee including representatives from all eight NFHS sections – Michigan is part of Section 4 with Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin.

The following brief bio includes an excerpt from Evers’ coaching philosophy, which nominees were asked to submit after being identified as candidates for the awards.

Jill EversJill Evers joined the Kent City athletic staff as an assistant cross country coach in 1991 after previously coaching a season each at Allegan High School and Allegan Middle School. She took over Kent City’s girls and boys varsity cross country programs in 1993 and also has served as head girls track & field coach since 1993. She led Kent City’s girls cross country team to a Lower Peninsula Division 3 Final runner-up finish in 2021, the program’s second runner-up finish under her leadership, and she’s also guided Kent City’s girls program to 15 league and seven Regional titles and nine total top-eight Finals finishes. She previously was named an NFHS Section Coach of the Year for girls track & field in 2006 after leading Kent City’s girls track & field team to its first MHSAA Finals championship in that sport, and inducted into the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2012. Evers also is a longtime science teacher at Kent City and advisor and mentor for a variety of school activities in addition to coaching.

“I know people say, ‘Athletics is an extension of the classroom,’ but I believe it's so much more than that. While participating in sports, young people can learn about themselves and others, challenge themselves and grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. Athletics is where we learn life lessons, such as how to lose with grace, cheer for teammates and even opponents, win with humility, deal with adversity, empathize with others, respect all those involved, be grateful for healthy bodies and opportunities to compete and push ourselves beyond what was originally thought possible. Success is different for each person, but I believe cross country lends itself to individual success. Everyone can improve and learn lifelong healthy habits. Everyone can set and achieve goals. Those who aren't as fast often earn the respect of the more gifted runners because of their perseverance. It is my job as a coach to encourage, motivate, and challenge all students who want to participate, and then congratulate them for a job well done.”

Three more Michigan coaches earned honors in Section 4. Mark Posey was honored in boys golf after leading Big Rapids to a 10th-place finish in Lower Peninsula Division 3 in 2022 after four straight Finals runner-up finishes. (There was no LP boys golf season in 2020 due to COVID-19.) Lake Orion boys lacrosse coach Ronald Hebert was honored after guiding his team to the Division 1 Quarterfinals last spring after taking the Dragons to the Semifinals in 2021. Scott Werner was honored in girls track & field after leading Pewamo-Westphalia to a runner-up finish at the Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals. P-W shared the LPD3 Finals championship in 2021 and has won titles four of the last nine seasons (not counting 2020).

The NFHS has been recognizing coaches through an awards program since 1982.