COMSTOCK PARK – Doing one better was the theme for Adrian Madison’s girls track & field team Saturday at the Lower Peninsula Division 3 Finals at Comstock Park.
A year after finishing runner-up, the Trojans nabbed a team championship with 56½ points. Lansing Catholic was second with 41, and Shepherd took third with 33.
It was a prolific final performance by senior Megan Rosales that sparked the victory, as she played a role in four wins for the Trojans. Rosales, who won the 400 meters in 2015, was runner-up in the 300 hurdles and part of the winning 800 relay last season, made her last meet count with a season-best time of 57.02 seconds to win the 400, and a first-place run of 45.05 in the 300 hurdles. She joined teammates Delaney Stersic, Sierra Hernandez and Chelsea Short as the fastest 800 relay squad (1:44.11) and she anchored the 1,600 relay to a repeat title in 3:57.80. Short, Stersic and Hernandez ran the first three legs.
“Today was definitely one to remember,” Rosales said. “We took the saying ‘going out with a bang’ to a whole new level. None of this would be possible without all of (these girls). I'm so proud of you all and everything that you girls have accomplished. This is what we've all worked for. It all paid off in the end. No better way to end my high school running career.”
The Trojans enjoyed all-state efforts by Kiarah Horn, who was third in the pole vault with a height of 11 feet, and Anne Wong, who tied for eighth in the same event at 10 feet. Chelsea Short registered a sixth-place time of 26.24 in the 200.
Shepherd may have had to settle for third place overall, but the program delivered a third MHSAA title in four seasons in the 3,200 relay. This time, however, the team clocked a Division 3 meet record time of 9:18.06. It was the quartet of Rachel Mathers, Katelyn Hutchinson, Kylie Hutchinson and Amber Gall that now boasts the best of all time, dethroning Benzie Central’s 2011 performance of 9:22.71. Gall also won the 800 in 2:14.81.
Parchment junior Shiyon Taylor took home a pair of championships after running a personal-record in the 100 (12.41) and a top time of 25.96 in the 200.
Lansing Catholic junior Olivia Theis was the best of the bunch in the 3,200, which featured two sets of sisters among the all-state top-eight performers. Freshman Jaden Theis was third for Lansing Catholic in 10:34.73, while Hart sophomore Adelyn Ackley was runner-up (10:34.47) and junior Alayna Ackley placed eighth in 11:07.30.
Olivia Theis completed the distance double with a championship in the 1,600, winning by more than five seconds with a personal-record of 4:50.10. Adelyn Ackley recorded a second-place time of 4:55.53, while Jaden Theis was third in 4:55.81, setting the stage for some exciting races to come.
PHOTOS: (Top) Adrian Madison's Megan Rosales pulls away from the field during the 400 in helping her team to the overall championship. (Middle) Shepherd, right, and Lansing Catholic also put up strong performances at Saturday's Division 3 Finals. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)
BLISSFIELD – Last fall, June Miller raced for an MHSAA cross country title at Michigan International Speedway. During the winter she played in the Division 3 Basketball Final at the Breslin Center. In the spring, she competed at the Lower Peninsula Division 3 track & field championships in Kent City.
As she embarks on her senior year at Blissfield Community Schools in southeast Michigan, Miller isn’t concerned about an encore.
“I don’t worry about topping my junior season,” she said. “I don’t feel the need to. I’ll fight for it to the best of my ability, but if I don’t make it that’s okay. There were a lot of factors that went into last year, and I can’t control all of them this year.
“I’ll leave my best out there and know that I gave it my all, and in the end that’s the true accomplishment. If it takes me that far or further, then great. If not, that’s okay.”
Miller’s remarkable run to MHSAA Finals in three sports remains even more impressive when considering she had eight goals and five assists playing defense for the Royals soccer team.
“Shows up to work, busts her tail every practice, every game,” said Blissfield girls basketball coach Ryan Gilbert. “Never have to worry about June Miller.”
Miller is as steady an athlete as they come, never getting too high or too low in pressure situations. In basketball, Gilbert said Miller never met a shot she didn’t like. Miller started all 29 games last season, leading the team in 3-pointers.
Gilbert said Miller is even-keeled.
“It takes a while to get into the ‘June Miller circle,’ but I’m almost in,” he said. “This is her senior year; this is my year. She’s very funny when you get to know her and has a brilliant mind.
“She wants to win over everything,” Gilbert said.
Miller wasn’t the fastest runner on the cross country team last fall – that spot would belong to her younger sister, Hope. June has no problem with that.
“I love running with my sister,” she said. “She’s an amazing and incredibly kind person. Her dedication to running inspires me and keeps me fighting for it. We train together sometimes and she’s the one that pushes me, and I love that.
“I always knew she’d be faster than me someday, and I couldn’t be prouder of how fast she’s become and how much she’s achieved. (People might) think I’d hold some resentment for her beating me while I’m older, but she’s lived in my shadow for years and I’m so glad she’s been able to find her place that she can dominate.”
Blissfield is eyeing a big season in cross country after winning a Regional and just missing the top 10 at the Final a year ago. The Miller sisters are a big reason for the giddiness.
“I’m ready to leave it all out there,” Miller said. “It’s my senior season, and I want to go out strong. I think the end goal for all of us is to really push it this season and improve with each race so by the time we hit Regionals we’re in the best shape physically and mentally so we can leave it all on the course to get to states again.”
Because of her work schedule this summer, Miller missed some of the team workouts but was able to get the details from her sister and went out on her own time and trained to build up her mileage in preparation for the season.
“I think the experience from last year will give us something to fight for,” she said. “It allows us to look at the season with our end goal being the state meet. It gives us a passion and something to fight for.”
Blissfield cross country coach Ryan Bills called Miller a strong competitor.
“She is fun kid,” he said. “You never know which June you’re going to get – funny, chatty June or serious, no-nonsense June. Either way she always gives it her all during competition, which is why she has seen so much success the past year.”
The four-sport athlete spent the first couple of weeks of summer refreshing her body before kicking it into high gear.
She did take some time to reflect on all the places she got to play and compete last year and is grateful to be part of a team that helped her reach those places.
“It was a unique experience,” she said. “When I’m playing basketball or running track and cross country, I’m not focused on where I am physically – instead I’m in my head focused on what I need to do.
“Once you get to someplace, you stop thinking about getting there and you move on to the next step of being there and doing what you need to there.”
Miller is one of the top students in her class. She’s currently trying to decide whether she wants to pursue playing soccer in college. She wants to major in business and minor in sustainability, eventually getting a master’s degree in architecture.
“I want to be a sustainable design architect,” she said, “who can better the world through the art of architecture.”
Miller’s future looks bright, as does the outlook for this athletic year. In all three sports for which she reached the Finals last year, the Royals have enough returning talent to make lengthy runs again.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Miller said, about four days before the first cross country event of the season. “I want to make it to all those state tournaments again, but I want to do it with my teammates because they’re the ones that make it memorable and something to remember forever.”
Doug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.
PHOTOS (Top) Blissfield’s June Miller (750) races during a cross country meet last fall. (Middle) Miller pulls up for a jumper during last season’s basketball postseason run. (Cross country photo by Deloris Clark-Osborne; basketball photo by Gary Sullivan.)