Brimley Girls Add to UP D3 Dynasty

By John Vrancic
Special for

June 1, 2014

KINGSFORD — The Brimley girls have earned their share of Upper Peninsula Division 3 track and field championships in recent years.

They added another title to their collection Saturday by scoring 84 points.

The Bays, who won for the fifth time in seven years, were followed by Bessemer with 67 points and Crystal Falls Forest Park with 55.

“When I looked at the times from other Regionals, I realized they ran in snow in some of them,” said Brimley coach Joyel Hyvarinen. “Overall, our girls did a phenomenal job. They had some to prove to everyone and themselves.”

Last year, the Bays were distant runners-up to St. Ignace (121-57).

Brimley’s Kerri Chartrand won the 100-meter hurdles in 16.89 seconds and placed second in the 300 (49.56), anchored the second-place 3,200 relay and took third in long jump at 14 feet, 5¾ inches Saturday.

Anne Archambeau won discus (108-4) and was runner-up in shot put (33-2¾). Her teammates Hana Vesela (32-9½) and Alyssa Hyvarinen (32-6¼) were third and fourth in shot, respectively.

“Our throwers scored 28 points and we had 34 in the field events,” said coach Hyvarinen. “Those were huge for us.”

Kerri Chartrand and Vesela helped the Bays take second in the 1,600 relay, with Vesela also helping the third-place 800 relay. Emily Chartrand added a third in the 3,200 (13:30).

Also helping Brimley’s 1,600 relay were Cassue Leapley and Kaylee Hill. 

Bessemer’s Lily Wieringa won the 3,200 in 13:14.61, placed third in the 1,600 (5:54.81) and helped the Speedgirls place third in the 3,200 relay. Breena Bogaczyk added a second in discus (104-11) and fifth in shot (31-11), and Valerie Rowe took third in the 300 hurdles (49.74) and pole vault (8-6).

Senior Mary Granquist led Forest Park, winning the 100 (13.34) and 400 (1:04.72) and anchoring the winning 800 relay and taking second in the 200 (27.63). 

Mid Peninsula senior Kelsey Shope retained her high jump title (5-1) and was runner-up in the 400 (1:05.61).

“I was expecting to do a little better in high jump,” said Shope. “My legs and back are real shore, although I’m happy with first. I thought things went real well overall. I think we did real well as a team. This is kind of sad because this is what I’m used to. This has been a great year.” 

Munising freshman Michaela Peramaki, who soared a school-record 10 feet in pole vault in a recent meet, settled for a winning jump of 9-0 on Saturday.

Rudyard senior Savannah Dugan had the day’s longest toss in shot put (38-11) and placed third in discus (101-0). 

Click for full results.

PHOTO: Brimley's Kerri Chartrand (center) works to the front on the way to winning the 100 hurdles at the U.P. Division 3 Final on Saturday at Kingsford. (Click to see more from

Gaylord Record-Setter Embracing Challenges As Championship Season Approaches

By Tom Spencer
Special for

May 3, 2024

Katie Berkshire has her eyes on the prize today.

Northern Lower PeninsulaAnd she’ll have her eyes on another prize Saturday. After that she’ll move on to more conquests yet this track season.

That pattern will be repeated for the next two years on the track and along the cross country course.

Berkshire, a sophomore at Gaylord High School, is already a long-distance record-holder and a regular feature at the Lower Peninsula Division 2 Final. Today, she is throwing out the welcome mat to her opponents as Gaylord hosts its annual Blue Devil Classic.

She is welcoming this weekend’s competition because she knows fast races help her get better every day. Winning, although it happens often, is not her top priority. Putting in the work and getting better is what matters most, according to Gaylord girls track & field and cross country coach Lindsey Yates.

“She’s more than just a fast runner,” acknowledged Yates. “She knows she has to put the work in to get good results, and she’s always wanting more.

“The proof is in the pudding in what she does,” Yates continued. “She is a special — very special — athlete and young woman.”

Berkshire started this season by breaking the school record in the 3,200 at Gaylord’s first meet. She’s hoping to break the school’s 1,600 record yet this spring. And, she’s hoping to add to her collection of Regional and conference titles this month.

Higher finishes at the Division 2 Final on June 2 also are on the mind of the running sensation, who had a strong showing as a freshman finishing third in the 3,200 and 10th in the 1,600.

Track is known as an individual sport, but Berkshire looks at it more as a team sport with friendly competition.

Running, which started in Gaylord Elementary’s “Mileage Club” for Berkshire, wouldn’t be the same without teammates.

“Cross country and track are individual sports, but the team is a huge part – without the team it wouldn’t be the same at all,” Berkshire said. “We have all put in so much effort, and we deserve to go out and race and show what we can do.”

Berkshire, seated, confers with the Blue Devils coaches. “She’s a gift to the team,” Yates added. “It is an individual sport, but she has the whole team with her and she rallies for the team and the team rallies for her – it’s a family.”

Gaylord has had its share of individual Finals champions in the past under boys coach Matthew Warren, who Yates notes has played an integral part in Berkshire’s training.  But Berkshire is a one-of-a-kind runner for Yates, who has served as both the girls track and girls and boys cross country head coach the past two years at Gaylord.

“I have not seen anything as fine-tuned as Katie Berkshire, and it’s a breath of fresh air,” said Yates, who assisted both Blue Devils programs a few years before taking over. “The intrinsic desire for her is amazing.”

Running cross country and track brings endless challenges for Berkshire to conquer. The results, she notes, come from the training.

“Running shows me any challenge that comes my way I can just overcome,” Berkshire said. “It shows me if I have a goal in my mind, I can accomplish it if I work hard and put in the effort.”

During the fall, Berkshire won eight of her 12 cross country races including the Big North Conference meet and Regional. She’s already qualified for three Division 2 Finals across the two sports and is likely going to add a fourth Finals next month at Hamilton High School.

Before that, Berkshire is going after another Big North title and a Regional championship. Competitions, like those ahead always bring out her best; the conference includes Division 1 opponents.

“I enjoy running against even girls that are faster than me because they always push me to be better and they are there obviously to race and try their best,” Berkshire said. “They are an influence to me that I can get there one day and I can maybe even beat them the next season.”

This year she has hopes of running a sub-5-minute 1,600 to capture the school record; her best in the race is 5:11. She takes on both distance races regularly and also is a regular in relays. In Wednesday’s dual meet at Alpena, she set two personal bests running a 2:25.60 in the 800 and 1:05.71 in the 400.

Berkshire’s favorite event by far is the 3,200, as she likes finding the right pace and rhythm to handle eight laps.

“Most people would think I am crazy for that,” she said of her pick for favorite. “It’s the longest race on the track, and it feels the best for me.”

Yates says Berkshire has yet to run her best 3,200 of the season. The conference, Regional and Final should bring out the best in Berkshire, she noted.

“She’s amazing, and setting the record isn’t good enough for her. She wants to do it again,” Yates said. “She also wants the mile record, and she’s hungry for it.”

Tom SpencerTom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Gaylord’s Katie Berkshire readies for a relay Wednesday against Alpena. (Middle) Berkshire, seated, confers with the Blue Devils coaches. (Photos provided by the Gaylord girls track & field program.)