Paupore Closes Career with 3-Peat Run

By John Vrancic
Special for

October 19, 2019

By John Vrancic
Special for Second Half

MARQUETTE – Negaunee senior Emily Paupore is used to leading the way in cross country races.

She has done that in most races since her sophomore year.

That held true again at Saturday's Upper Peninsula Finals as she earned her third straight Division 1 title at Gentz's Golf Course in Chocolay Township.

Paupore covered the 3.1-mile course in 19 minutes, 18.7 seconds. She was followed by Kingsford junior Melanie Wenzel (20:27) and Houghton sophomore Ingrid Seaholm (20:38.9).

"Honestly, this was one of my toughest races this year," she said. "This wasn't my best race, but I'm thankful to end with a U.P. championship. Our coach (Lisa Bigalk) is retiring after this year. This is a very special day. I knew her since I was born, and she was in the hospital (Marquette General) when I was born. We have a special bond for sure. She's awesome.

"Coming across the finish line in a cross country race for the last time as a high school runner is bittersweet. Although, I'm ready for my next chapter (college cross country and track). It's cool to have had the experience of running high school cross country."

Marquette edged Kingsford 66-69 for its fifth title in seven years. Last season’s champion Sault Ste. Marie squeezed past Houghton 79-80 for third place.

"We knew it would be close," said Marquette coach Kyle Detmers. "Lillian Weycher, who was our sixth or seventh runner all year, and was our No. 3 runner today. And Ericka Asmus and Josie Danielkiewicz ran after having some time off. Kingsford came in behind them, and that was the difference."

This marked the first runner-up finish for Kingsford in its program's history.

For Wenzel, the race closed the book on her first cross country season.

"We trained hard this summer," she said. "I think we all did good for running on a windy day. There were a lot of rolling hills on the course. We really had to pick it up there. We were very consistent. We were all getting our times down."

Click for full results.

Division 2

Hancock retained its D-2 title with 34 points, followed by St. Ignace with 56 and Ishpeming with 84.

"We lost three girls from last season, but gained three girls," said Hancock's Jennifer Smith, who previously coached in Ohio. "They absolutely pulled it together and did what it took. Four of our girls were playing volleyball, and four were always running. We knew St. Ignace was our competition, and Ishpeming has some good runners.

“This is my first year coaching cross country up here. I jumped into an already great program, and we want to keep it going."

Hancock freshman Maylie Kilpela won in 21:16.9, followed by Munising freshman Hattie Cota (21:43.5) and Ishpeming sophomore Taylor Longtine (22:00.3).

"I just stayed right behind (Cota)," said Kilpela. "She's a good runner. I passed her in the last mile and knew I had to keep going.

“It feels great to be part of a championship team. We were running against good competition all year, and that pushed us a lot. All our girls did well."

Click for full results.

Division 3

Chassell, placing four in the top eight, captured its third consecutive D-3 championship with 36 points. The Panthers, who also won for the fifth time in six years, were followed by Rock Mid Peninsula with 73 points and Cedarville at 90.

Mid Pen sophomore Landry Koski earned her first Finals championship in 21:31.2, followed by Cedarville freshman Lilianna Cason (21:42.1) and Mid Pen junior Daisy Englund (21:49.4).

"This was a nice course," said Koski. "Although, I didn't know what to expect. The wind was a factor today. It was like hitting a wall in the last stretch, plus we had all the little hills. The course didn't look that hard at first, but once you're running on the hills you realize how challenging they are.

It feels great to be a U.P. champion. This was very unexpected. I'm just kind of on Cloud Nine right now."

Chassell placed the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth runners to dominate the team standings. Kamryn Sohlden, Paige Sleeman, Ayla Miller and Gwen Kangas all ran between 22:07 and 22:24.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Negaunee’s Emily Paupore opens up a big lead during the Division 1 Final on Saturday. (Middle) Hancock’s Sierrah Driscoll (187) leads a Division 2 pack including Norway’s Taylor Adams (210). (Below) Chassell’s Paige Sleeman (348) paces a group in the Division 3 race. (Photos by Cara Kamps.)

Back from Broken Foot, Grandville's Arnsman Finishes as State's Top Senior

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for

November 18, 2022

GRANDVILLE – Almost a year ago, Allie Arnsman didn’t know whether she would ever be able to run competitively again. 

West MichiganOver the last week, the Grandville senior was named Ms. Cross Country by the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association while also establishing a school record. 

Arnsman suffered a broken right foot during last year’s cross country season that required surgery.

“They told me there was a small possibility of even being able to run again,” Arnsman said. “It was very scary going into the surgery thinking that there was a 90-percent chance that I wouldn’t be able to run, but I had the doctors and the physical therapists that were able to get me back.”

Arnsman sustained the injury during the third meet of her junior season when she stepped in a hole on the course.

Originally, doctors didn’t think the injury was serious.

“They kept telling us it was just a sprain, and after six weeks it would be healed,” said Arnsman, who wore a boot on her right foot.

Arnsman returned to run in the final three races of last year, and finished 17th overall in the Lower Peninsula Division 1 Final.

However, she still felt uncertain that her foot was completely healed.

“It was really painful when I ran and I thought something was still wrong, but I wanted to finish out my junior year and I was grateful that I did,” Arnsman said. “Right after the state meet I had an MRI, and it revealed that it was broken.”

Arnsman missed the track & field season due to her recovery after surgery. She began running again in late spring and then returned in August for her senior year.

Arnsman, bottom row center, takes her place on the medal stand next to Holland West Ottawa champion Helen Sachs, far right. “It was a tough injury for her to overcome, but she came back and we started talking about goals for the season,” Grandville girls cross country coach Rachael Steil said. “I told her that I thought she had the potential to finish in the top five (at the Finals) and we joked about her winning.

“She had so much untapped potential, and she did so well on little mileage. She doesn’t realize how talented she is, but with the hard work she put in I felt like it was going to be a really good season.”

Arnsman ran well throughout the season and continued to drop her times.

At the Finals, she exceeded her own expectations by placing runner-up in Division 1 behind West Ottawa’s Helen Sachs. 

Arnsman finished with a time of 17 minutes, 43 seconds at Michigan International Speedway.

“I was just trying to go out with the front pack, and I wanted to stick up close and then close in in the last mile,” she said. “It was tough to catch her because she went out very fast, and I wasn't used to that pace. The weather conditions weren't great, and I just couldn't get up there.”

Still, Arnsman was ecstatic about her finish.

“I was really excited,” she said. “Coming into the season I did not think I could even be top three and I was hoping for a top 15, so placing second was amazing. It was a dream.”

Arnsman got more good news after the race as she was the top senior in all divisions and was named Ms. Cross Country.

“When they pulled me aside in the room I had the biggest smile on my face,” Arnsman said. “I knew going in that it was a possibility, but of course I didn't know right away. I was so excited.”

A week later, Arnsman ran in the MITCA Meet of Champions and became the fastest girl in Grandville school history when she finished second with a time of 17 minutes flat.

The previous record of 17:20 was set by Madison Troy in 2015.

“She was drastically improving through the season, and I knew the possibilities were endless for her,” Steil said. “She has great form, and she’s strong from all the weight training she did. She put all the little pieces together, and they came together at the right time.”

Arnsman will run for Grand Valley State next year, but it’s been a journey that was somewhat unexpected after growing up as an accomplished soccer player.

She stopped playing soccer after her sophomore year to focus on running.

“I grew up in soccer, so it was scary going into a new sport and giving up something that I loved,” Arnsman said. “It was a different sport and a whole new environment that I wasn’t used to, but I’m grateful that I was able to have the success I did. ... I never thought about running in college. I thought I would be playing college soccer.”

Arnsman, who ended her cross country career as a three-time Finals qualifier, will run indoor track & field this winter before running outdoor in the spring with her team.

Dean Holzwarth has covered primarily high school sports for Grand Rapids-based WOOD-TV for five years after serving at the Grand Rapids Press and MLive for 16 years along with shorter stints at the Ionia Sentinel and WZZM. Contact him at with story ideas for Allegan, Kent and Ottawa counties. 

PHOTOS (Top) Grandville’s Allie Arnsman runs toward the finish at the Lower Peninsula Division 1 Cross Country Final on Nov. 5. (Middle) Arnsman, bottom row center, takes her place on the medal stand next to Holland West Ottawa champion Helen Sachs, far right. (Click for more from