Classic Sprint, Oak Park Run Highlight D1

May 31, 2014

By Bill Khan
Special to Second Half

ROCKFORD — It was arguably the greatest high school girls 200-meter race ever in Michigan.

Sophomores Sekayi Bracey of East Kentwood and Anna Jefferson of Oak Park posted two of the seven fastest times in Michigan history at the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 1 Track and Field Finals on Saturday at Rockford High School.

Bracey edged Jefferson at the finish, crossing the line in 23.98 seconds. Jefferson was second in 24.03. Bracey's time is the fifth-fastest ever run in any Finals meet in Michigan, while Jefferson's is seventh.

Both the winner and runner-up enjoyed the duel, having rarely faced competition during the high school season.

"I love races like that," Jefferson said. "When I have her with me in the 200, I know she's going to make me work. I know I'm going to have a good race."

This wasn't the first duel between the two and, with two years of eligibility remaining for both of them, certainly won't be the last.

"I'm actually friends with her," Bracey said. "We've been running together since we were young."

Bracey and Jefferson were the individual stars of the meet, each winning three events and taking second in another.

Bracey won the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 7.25 inches, the 100 in 11.88 seconds and the 200. She was on a second-place 400 relay team. Last year, Bracey was third in the long jump and won three events.

Jefferson greatest performance came in the 400, where her time of 53.50 seconds set an all-MHSAA Finals record, breaking the mark of 54.29 set by Southfield's Latipha Cross in 2011.

"When they said 53.50 officially, I screamed," said Jefferson, whose previous best was 54.30. "I was like, 'Oh, my gosh.' I went to pick up my teammate (fourth-place Johnyce Powell) and hug her but she was exhausted, so I had to give her a minute. I still couldn't believe I ran 53. I've been aiming for that for the past few years."

Jefferson was also on the winning 800 and 400 relay teams, helping Oak Park win the team championship in a rout, 92-50 over Northville. The 92 points are the most by a girls team in any division in seven years.

"I love my team," Jefferson said. "We've had a fantastic season compared to last year. We didn't have as many people, but we had high quality. Even though we're one of the smallest schools, we still have some of the top runners in the nation."

Oak Park will be a heavy favorite to win it all again next year, as there were no seniors among nine girls who scored points for the Knights. Scoring for Oak Park were freshmen Drew Coleman, Tamea McKelvy and Carlita Taylor; sophomores Jefferson, Lashae Bowens and Brianna Holloway; and juniors Jayla Fleming, Kailsi Latta-Thompson and Powell.

The Knights won three relays and were fourth in the 3,200 relay.

Birmingham Seaholm junior Audrey Belf, one of the nation's premier distance runners, ran an anchor leg of 2:08 in the 3,200 relay to help the Maples post the second-fastest time ever in an MHSAA Finals, 8:59.08. The other team members were Rachel Dadamio, Brooke Callaghan and Patty Girardot. Belf’s final leg was a personal best in the 800.

"When you get down to the end and your girls have done that much hard work, you don't want to mess it up," Belf said. "I know how much we wanted it. I wanted to finish it and make sure we got that victory."

Belf got a lengthy rest after that and dominated the 3,200, winning in 10:17.08. Northville senior Rachel Coleman, who won the 1,600 in 4:45.76, took second in 10:24.58. The top nine girls broke 10:46.

"I don't like running in the heat, but I made the best of it," Belf said. "I ran a little more conservatively."

Sterling Heights Stevenson senior Jailah Mason set an LP Division 1 record in the high jump, going 5-9.25.

Grosse Pointe South junior Ersula Farrow took aim at the Finals record in the 800 set last year by former teammate Hannah Meier. Farrow came up just short, finishing in 2:07.63 to win convincingly by 3.33 seconds.

"I wanted to go after the record," Farrow said. "I didn't get it this year, but I'm definitely going to try again next year. Hannah and (twin sister) Haley told me I was going to be the leader of the team. I did my best to be the leader of the team."

Click for full results.

PHOTO: East Kentwood's Sekayi Bracey (left) and Oak Park's Anna Jefferson race toward the finish of the 200 on Saturday in Rockford. They posted two of the fastest times in the race in MHSAA Finals history. (Click to see more from

Performance of the Week: Onsted's Emmry Ross

June 6, 2024

Emmry Ross headshotEmmry Ross ♦ Onsted
Junior ♦ Track & Field

Ross became just the third girl in Lower Peninsula history – and one of eight statewide – to win four individual events at an MHSAA Track & Field Finals, as she finished first in the 400 (56.25), 800 (2:10.74), 1,600 (4:57.81) and 3,200 (10:55.27) on Saturday at the LP Division 3 championship meet at Kent City. She was the only member of her team to qualify for the Finals, but her 40 points earned in those races placed Onsted second in the team standings.

Her 400 time was a season-best, and her 800 and 3,200 times were personal records – which is saying even more considering she also won the 400 and 800 as a sophomore and the 400 (and ran on the winning 1,600 relay) as a freshman in 2022. Ross also runs cross country and finished fifth at the LPD3 Final this past fall.

@mhsaasports 🏃‍♀️‍➡️POW: Emmry Ross #trackandfield #onsted #letsgo #champion #running #part1 #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

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Past 2023-24 Honorees

May 31: Isaac Sturgess, Flint Powers Catholic baseball - Report
May 30:
Abby Russell, Allen Park track & field - Report 
May 23:
Isabel Thelen, St. Johns tennis - Report
May 16:
Ally Katinas, Novi lacrosse - Report
May 9:
Peter Roehl, Rochester Adams golf - Report
May 2:
Lilah Smith, Richland Gull Lake soccer - Report
April 25:
Mason Mayne, Lawton track & field - Report
April 18:
Alli Wright, Jenison softball - Report
April 11:
Chloe Wishart, Trenton soccer - Report
March 28:
Jenna Maki, Ishpeming basketball - Report
March 22:
Jaremiah Palmer, Niles Brandywine basketball - Report
March 15:
Leah Hodge, North Farmington gymnastics - Report
March 8:
Darius Marines, Detroit Catholic Central wrestling - Report
March 1:
Rylee Smith, Zeeland West bowling - Report
Feb. 22:
Caleb Lewandowski, Traverse City West skiing - Report
Feb. 15:
Jadin Mix, Onaway basketball - Report
Feb. 8:
Onalee Wallis, Cadillac skiing - Report
Feb. 1:
Abbey DeGraw, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek competitive cheer - Report
Jan. 25:
Ewan Todd, Riverview swimming - Report
Jan. 18:
Ashley Weller, Jackson Northwest basketball - Report
Jan. 11:
Michael Baldwin, Saginaw Arthur Hill wrestling - Report
Dec. 15:
Jena Fijolek, Fenton bowling - Report
Dec. 8:
Sophia Wagner, Escanaba gymnastics - Report
Dec. 1:
Isaiah Marshall, Southfield Arts & Technology football - Report
Nov. 24:
Sarah Bradley, Clarkston Everest Collegiate volleyball - Report
Nov. 17:
Kalieb Osborne, Waterford Mott football - Report
Nov. 10:
Tekalegn Vlasma, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Colton Kinnie, Birmingham Seaholm football - Report
Oct. 27:
Lauren Timpf, Macomb Lutheran North golf - Report
Oct. 20:
Alena Li, Okemos golf - Report
Oct. 13:
Seth Norder, Grand Haven cross country - Report
Oct. 5:
Paige Anderson, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer golf - Report
Sept. 29:
MacKenzie Bisballe, Lake City volleyball - Report
Sept. 22:
Jhace Massey, Gladwin football - Report
Sept. 15:
Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8:
Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1:
Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report

(Photo by Jamie McNinch/