Close Finish Goes to Houghton Girls

February 18, 2017

By Ryan Stieg
Special for Second Half

MARQUETTE – Sometimes just one event can make the difference between a happy experience and a devastating one.

And that’s what happened at the girls Upper Peninsula Swimming & Diving Finals on Saturday.

Heading into the final event, Houghton led Marquette by just one point, and a tension-filled atmosphere filled the pool deck at Marquette Senior High School. Gremlins head coach Erik Johnson had an intense look on his face as he wondered if his team would grasp its first championship since 2014.

In the end, Johnson ended up pumping his fist in excitement and hugging his assistants as the Gremlins won the 400-yard freestyle relay and the team title, finishing ahead of the Redettes.

“We knew we had to do well in that last race to finish in front of Marquette and the girls took care of business,” Johnson said. “That relay has been a point of emphasis for us all year and to finish it off is something special.”

“There were a lot of emotions coming out and I don’t have much of a voice left, but this is a great feeling.”

In addition to the big relay win, Houghton also took first in two individual events as Samantha Olson won the 200 free and Tessa Meyer won the 100 butterfly.

Marquette head coach Nathan McFarren said it came down to depth, and that Houghton just had a little more of it this year.

“We had some pretty outstanding swims today,” he said. “I told the girls that we aren’t going to get second place every year, and that we’ll continue to grow. I think we knocked it out of the park today on both the boys and girls side, but I have to give credit to Erik though. They just gave us more than we could handle.”

The Redettes won the other two relays, the 200 medley and the 200 free. They also had two individual champions as Taryn Aho won both the 200 individual medley and the 500 free, while Jayme Winn took first in the 100 freestyle.

Gladstone, who won the meet last year, took third this year with 224 points, while Rudyard took fourth with 146. The Braves won one event as Sydney Herioux finished first in the 100 breaststroke, while Rudyard won two. Trista MacDowell took first in both the 50 free and 100 backstroke.

Braves head coach Tom Desy said his team lacked the depth of last year’s championship squad, but he was pleased with how his team performed.

“I thought the girls did pretty well,” he said. “We had some sickness come through our team the last couple of weeks, but the ones who were able to show up have done a great job. They had some self-doubt coming in, but they did well and I’m proud of them. We were just a little shorthanded.”

Westwood ended up in ninth place, but the Patriots did have one individual champion as Bethany Laasko won the 1-meter diving competition Friday night.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) A Houghton swimmer races during Saturday's Upper Peninsula Finals. (Middle) Swimmers launch during an event at Marquette High School. (Click to see more from Jarvinen Photos.)

Performance of the Week: Marquette's Grace Sobczak

February 24, 2023

Grace SobczakGrace Sobczak ♦ Marquette
Junior ♦ Swimming

Marquette’s girls swimming & diving team won its second straight and fourth Upper Peninsula Finals championship in five seasons Saturday, and Sobczak led the charge with championships in the 200-yard individual medley (23.42 seconds) and 500 freestyle (5:35.02) and as part of the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays.

The individual championships were the third and fourth Finals titles of Sobczak’s career – she won the 500 for the third time in three tries – and the pair of relay wins raised her Finals count to four total in those races as well. The championship capped an undefeated season for the team. While swimming always has been her primary sport, Sobczak played a variety growing up and runs cross country in the fall.

@mhsaasports 🏊‍♀️POW: Grace Sobczak #performanceoftheweek #swimming #swimmer #statechamp #champions #marquette #congrats #uppower #MHSAA #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #TikTok#mistudentaid #fyp ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral - WZ Beat

Follow the MHSAA on TikTok.

MI Student Aid's "Performance of the Week" features are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

2022-23 Honorees

Feb. 16: Kaitlynn Demers, Gibraltar Carlson competitive cheer - Report
Feb. 9:
Indya Davis, West Bloomfield basketball - Report
Feb. 2:
Braydon Sorenson, Onekama skiing - Report
Jan. 26:
Shayne Hruska, Iron Mountain wrestling - Report
Jan. 19:
Kayla Tafanelli, Warren Woods-Tower bowling - Report
Dec. 20:
Brenden Paden, Riverview Gabriel Richard hockey - Report
Dec. 16:
Tuff Scott, Holton bowling - Report
Dec. 9:
Macey Fegan, Standish-Sterling basketball - Report
Dec. 2:
Treyton Siegert, Gladwin football - Report
Nov. 24:
Lily Witte, Dexter diving - Report
Nov. 17:
Navea Gauthier, Shelby volleyball - Report
Nov. 10:
Derek Huisman, Holland Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Thomas Westphal, New Baltimore Anchor Bay cross country - Report
Oct. 27:
Justin Wickey, Colon football - Report
Oct. 20:
Owen DeMuth, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood tennis - Report
Oct. 13:
Mia Melendez, Ann Arbor Greenhills golf - Report
Oct. 6:
Shawn Foster, Grand Ledge football - Report
Sept. 30:
Hannah Smith, Temperance Bedford swimming - Report
Sept. 22:
Helen Sachs, Holland West Ottawa cross country - Report
Sept. 15:
Nina Horning, Lake Orion volleyball - Report
Sept 8:
Arturo Romero, Muskegon Oakridge soccer - Report
Sept. 1:
Austin King, Midland Dow tennis - Report
Aug. 25:
Olivia Hemmila, Troy Athens golf - Report

(Photos by Jonathan Young/Marquette High School.)