Bark River-Harris Grows Team, Gains 1st Girls Track & Field Finals Title

By John Vrancic
Special for

June 5, 2022

KINGSFORD — The Bark River-Harris girls made a statement here Saturday while earning the first Upper Peninsula track & field title in their school’s history.

BR-H, which topped the Division 2 standings with 107 points, was followed by West Iron County with 74 and Ishpeming at 60.

“This is a very big moment,” said BR-H coach Jason Lockwood. “This is something our upperclassmen started talking about at the end of last season. Last year we came here with a small team and got third. The bigger numbers this year were a major factor. We’re very strong in the sprints and sprint relays. Having that depth really helps.”

The Broncos won the 800-meter relay in a school-record 1 minute, 50.95 seconds, and freshman Julia Olson set a school record (1:01.25) while placing third in the 400.

Sophomore Mckenzie Hoffmeyer won long jump (16-1¾) for the second-straight year and took second in the 100 (13.04) and 200 (27.14). Senior Alaska Peterson added a third in the long jump (14-5½).

West Iron County trackCarley Varoni added a first in pole vault (8-0), and senior Aspen Fredrick gained her first U.P. 300 hurdles title at 53.57.

“I had confidence in my ability to jump over the hurdles,” said Fredrick. “This is only my sixth time doing this and my first individual title. That’s what I was thinking (during the race), and that’s what kept me going.”

West Iron’s Danica Shamion repeated as champion in the 100 (12.7), 200 (26.82) and 400 (58.77), and Ishpeming sophomore Lola Korpi retained her 800 (2:36.11), 1,600 (5:42.11) and 3,200 (12:34.95) titles.

“The 1,600 went well,” she said. “I just wanted to stay in front and get as many points for our team as I could. I tried to work on picking up the pace in the second and third laps.”

In the 3,200 (which combined the D-1 and D-2 runners competing at the same time), Houghton senior Ingrid Seagren led the entire race until the final home stretch when she dropped to third overall.

“I was just planning on staying with the group I was with, and when I saw she was getting tired, I thought there was a chance,” Korpi said. “I’m proud of Ingrid, and our team for taking third place. Third is good, especially for the numbers we have.”

Iron Mountain’s Chloe Maycroft retained her high jump crown (4-11), and Manistique sophomore Danielle Lund took first in shot put (33-2) and second in discus (95-0).

Gwinn’s Lena Pleaugh and Jordana Hardy went 1-2 in the 100 hurdles in 17.77 and 18.18, respectively.

Manistique won the 1,600 relay (4:23.84) and 3,200 (10:43.63).

“Today we had little bit of a rough handoff for three and four, but found a way to overcome that,” said Emeralds junior Kelsey Muth. “We’re just .3 second away from our school record in the 1,600 relay, which I think will give us motivation for next year. This is the first time all year we’ve won both the 1,600 and 3,200 relays. This is a real good way to wrap up the season.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) On the way to winning the 800 relay, Bark River-Harris's Aspen Frederick hands off to teammate Julia Olson. Other members of the winning relay team were Mckenzie Hoffmeyer and Lauren Zwanda. (Middle) West Iron County's Danica Shamion, middle, wins the 200. Hoffmeyer, left, took second. (Click for more from Cara Kamps/Run Michigan.)

Lake Linden-Hubbell, Stephenson Share in UPD3; Jokela Joins Elite Club

By Jason Juno
Special for

June 4, 2023

KINGSFORD – Lake Linden-Hubbell got to the top with first-place power. Stephenson won only two events. 

But there are multiple ways to win an MHSAA Finals championship in track & field. And the Lakes and Eagles tied for the Upper Peninsula Division 3 girls title Saturday. 

Norway's Taylor Adams wins the 800. Lake Linden-Hubbell got a little assist from two-time reigning champion Ontonagon in the final event, the 1,600 relay. The Lakes led in the standings by eight points, but they didn’t have a 1,600-meter relay team. Stephenson could have won the team title with a win in that event, but Ontonagon’s relay team proved solid again and forced the Eagles to settle for the runner-up spot in the race and the eight points that come with it.

The Lakes last won team Finals titles during a three-year run from 2017-19. For Stephenson, it had been since 1993 when the team competed in Class C. The Eagles were runners-up last year.

Lake Linden-Hubbell sophomore Emily Jokela entered with the fastest Regional times in all four of her events, and she won all four of them Saturday – the 100, 200, 400 and 300 hurdles. She became just the sixth female to win four individual events at an MHSAA Finals.

The only one she didn’t win a title in last year was the 100 dash; she has that now. The only school record she didn’t have going into Saturday was in the 200; she has that now as well. She broke it by one tenth of a second.

“It feels great,” Jokela said. “I was very worried about running today because it was so hot.”

Her 300 hurdles time of 45.63 seconds set a UPD3 Finals record. Ontonagon’s Lori Wardynski had the record before (47.27).

Stephenson's Jada Kuntze crosses the finish line first in the 3,200 relay.Teammate Abi Codere repeated in the 100 hurdles, and their 400 relay team (Codere, Rebecca Lyons, Isabella Tampas and Cleo Milkey) also won.

Stephenson’s wins came in the 3,200 relay (Faith Cappaert, Joelle Beaudo, Kayela Putnam and Jada Kuntze) and the long jump (Sarah Labs).

Ontonagon also won the 800 relay (Lilly McIntyre, Alli Bobula, Kylee Uotila and Makennah Uotila).

“I’m sad we didn’t get a title this year, but the past two back-to-back U.P. titles we had made my entire career,” senior Makennah Uotila said. “I’ve enjoyed it so much. The relays were a big part of our U.P.  titles, so to still have strong relays is very important.”

Newberry’s Kaylen Clark won the 1,600 and 3,200 runs. She was the runner-up at the UPD3 cross country meet in the fall and in both events at the UPD2 track meet last season. Taylor Adams of Norway won the 800.

In the field, Mariska Laurila of Carney-Nadeau was the champion in the discus, Rudyard’s Alicia Cheney won the high jump, Dollar Bay’s Nora Keranen won the pole vault after winning long jump in 2022, and Brimley’s Grace Hill repeated in the shot put.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Lake Linden-Hubbell's Emily Jokela, second from right, wins the 400 on Saturday. (Middle) Norway's Taylor Adams wins the 800. (Below) Stephenson's Jada Kuntze crosses the finish line first in the 3,200 relay. (Photos by Cara Kamps/