Marquette Edges 2021 Champ to Regain UP Girls Swim & Dive Title

By Travis Nelson
Special for Second Half

February 19, 2022

MARQUETTE – Marquette claimed the Upper Peninsula Girls Swimming & Diving Finals championship Saturday by 13 points ahead of 2021 champion Sault Ste. Marie.

Marquette won with 323 points, and Sault Ste. Marie totaled 310. Rounding out the top five were Kingsford (202), Houghton (118.5) and Ishpeming Westwood (112). The championship was Marquette's third in four seasons.

The Redettes came away with four victories out of 12 events, and senior Delaney Marchiol was part of three of them. Marchiol had individual victories in the 200-yard freestyle and 100 butterfly and was part of the winning 200 medley relay team with seniors Ella Whalen and Kelsey Glover, and sophomore Grace Sobczak. Marquette’s other victory came from Sobczak in the 500 free.

“I was so nervous coming into today, but I’m so proud of everything that I did today,” Marchiol said. “I managed to pull off two wins that I am beyond proud of myself; I’m proud of my team all around.”

Sault Ste. Marie senior Joanne Arbic capped her career with an impressive day to keep the Blue Devils in team title contention with three first-place finishes and one runner-up. Arbic took home the 100 free and was part of winning 400 and 200 free relay titles, and finished in second in the 50 free. 

The 400 free relay team consisted of Arbic, seniors Alyvia Lori and Anna Hildebrand and junior Julie Innerebner. Arbic, along with Hildebrand, Innerebner and sophomore Mia Woolever were the 200 free relay victors. Innerebner also picked up an individual win in the 100 backstroke, and the Blue Devils also received a first place from Olivia Martin in diving.

Kingsford swimming“It was a rollercoaster for sure, but I’m glad that we all were able to pull together,” Arbic said. The whole team stepped it up a ton, it was so fantastic and I have so much fun out here with the girls. I just had fun, and that’s what it’s all about. I did what I knew that I could and what I needed to do for my team, and that’s what matters.”

Arbic came into the meet with the U.P. Finals record in the 50 free from 2020, and finished second in that event this time to Kingsford sophomore Adelaide McRoberts. With a time of 24.22 seconds, McRoberts broke the record, and Arbic finished just after at 24.53. 

McRoberts’ great performance continued with a 24.21 split in the 50 to start the 200 free relay (with the Flivvers finishing second in that event), and she went on to also win the 200 individual medley. She also swam on the runner-up 200 medley relay.

The pushing from coaches and teammates helped her achieve the fastest 50 free mark, McRoberts said.

“I was very proud of myself, but more importantly, I was happy with how much my coaches and my team pushed me to get here today,” McRoberts said. “It was kind of crazy considering that I’m not even a freestyler. It was definitely a shock, but I was very happy with it.”

The only event on the day not won by a Redette, Blue Devil or Flivver was the 100 breaststroke claimed by Houghton senior Leah Komarzee. 

Marquette was the expected team winner of the meet, but coach Nate McFarren was left with a sweat to see the final results.

“You always question yourself when it comes to your taper, but after the first event, I really felt like we were ready to go,” McFarren said. “I did not expect only winning by 13, but (Sault Ste. Marie) showed and was ready to go. It was awesome.”

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PHOTOS Marquette’s Grace Sobczak launches into her leg of the 400 freestyle relay Saturday. (Middle) Kingsford’s Adelaide McRoberts swims the individual medley, one of two individual races she won at the U.P. Finals. (Photos by Daryl Jarvinen. For more, email [email protected].)

3 Receive National Honors from NHSACA, Coaching Pair Named to Hall of Fame

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

July 11, 2024

One of the longest-serving members of the MHSAA Representative Council and two longtime Michigan high school coaches have received highest honors this summer from the National High School Athletic Coaches Association.

Brighton athletic director John Thompson was named Athletic Director of the Year during the NHSACA’s annual conference June 26 in Bismarck, N.D. He has supervised the Bulldogs’ highly-accomplished athletic program for two decades and served on the Representative Council the last 14 years, including currently as vice president.

Thompson also this year received the Thomas Rashid Athletic Director of the Year Award from the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (MIAAA). Brighton was selected as an MIAAA exemplary athletic program in 2015 and as an ESPN unified champion school in 2018, the latter recognizing its statewide leadership in cultivating unified sport opportunities.

Additionally, Farmington Hills Mercy girls golf coach Vicky Kowalski and Livonia Stevenson girls swimming & diving coach Greg Phil were named NHSACA National Coach of the Year in their respective sports.

Kowalski completed her 46th season coaching Mercy last fall by leading the program to its second-straight Lower Peninsula Division 2 championship and fourth MHSAA Finals title overall. She also in January was named the 2022-23 National Coach of the Year in her sport by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association. She was inducted into the Michigan High School Coaches Association (MHSCA) Hall of Fame this year for both golf and bowling.

Phil has coached girls swimming & diving since 1976, including at Stevenson since 1985. After winning the Kensington Lakes Activities Association East title, the most recent of several league championships under his leadership, Stevenson finished 16th at last season’s Lower Peninsula Division 1 Finals and previously had placed Finals runner-up twice. Phil was named to the MHSCA Hall of Fame in 2012.

All three honorees were nominated for the national recognition by the MHSCA. Beal City baseball coach Brad Antcliff, now-retired Leland volleyball coach Laurie Glass, Ann Arbor Greenhills boys tennis coach Eric Gajar and Lowell wrestling coach R.J. Boudro also were National Coach of the Year finalists.

Additionally, longtime softball coaches Kay Johnson of Morenci and Kris Hubbard from Ottawa Lake Whiteford were inducted into the NHSACA Hall of Fame. Johnson went over 1,000 career wins this spring and has led her program since 1993, including to Class C championships in 1985 and 1986. Hubbard retired after the 2019 season with an 865-380-3 record since taking over in 1974, with Class D titles in 1984, 1985 and 1987.