Divine Child Piles Up Points Across Several Events to Earn Podium Climb

By Scott DeCamp
Special for MHSAA.com

June 2, 2024

HAMILTON – After Dearborn Divine Child’s girls track & field team had captured its first MHSAA Finals title in 11 years Saturday at Hamilton’s Hawkeye Stadium, head coach Danny Foster rattled off the names of the coaches on his staff.

Makes sense: The Falcons earned their latest championship largely through a group effort.

Led by freshman Aubrey Wilson and a cast of point-winners, Divine Child seized the Lower Peninsula Division 2 championship by totaling 46 points. Yale was runner-up with 39 points, followed by East Grand Rapids in third (36), Romulus Summit Academy North fourth (33), and Saginaw Swan Valley fifth (25).

“It’s the best feeling in the world, especially when you know what your young people have went through to get to this point – the belief, the hard work,” said Foster, who is in his first season at the Divine Child helm but has coached for more than three decades, much of that time spent in the Detroit Public School League. 

“I mean, to understand and know what they go through, it’s awesome. They are a talented group, dedicated to what we do, to what we believe. The girls team, the boys team, we’re all one team and that’s how they’ve worked all year. They come to work.”

Wilson certainly made a mark in her debut season. She took first place in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.33 seconds and runner-up in the 200 (25.15). Wilson also ran a leg on Divine Child’s second-place 800 relay team and fifth-place 400 relay quartet.

Junior Kathryn Kurtinaitis also scored valuable points for the Falcons with her runner-up finish in the 400 (57.92).

Divine Child’s depth made a difference. The Falcons placed first and fourth in the 100, second and seventh in the 200, and eighth in the 1,600 relay.

“It’s incredible. I can’t believe we made it. It’s unbelievable. I’ve been dreaming about this night (for a long time). I’m really happy right now,” Wilson said. “(Winning the 100) was so unexpected. I mean, my start (was not ideal). It was a little wobbly, but I’m proud that I kept going through and I trusted the process.

“The way I got here is that I practiced and I worked at it. I wouldn’t be here today without my motivation from my teammates especially, going to practice every day, cheering me on. It was an incredible season. I’m really happy how it ended.”

East Grand Rapids’ Drew Muller leads the pack during a relay win. Saginaw Swan Valley junior Sydney Kuhn also was very pleased with her day.

Kuhn raced to first-place finishes in the 200-meter and 400 dashes. She ran 24.89 in the 200 and a personal record of 55.06 in the 400, plus she anchored the Vikings’ 1,600 relay team that placed fourth.

“It’s been a great season and just a lot of fun,” said Kuhn, who did not play basketball this year because her focus was on track. “Last year I struggled with a (stress fracture) injury, but this year it’s just been amazing. I’ve PR’d, like, every race I’ve ran so it’s just been a lot of fun.”

For East Grand Rapids senior Drew Muller, who won her third straight Finals title in the 1600-meter run, “fun” was the operative word of her final track season with the Pioneers.

Muller won the 1,600 on Saturday with a season-best time of 4:51.49. She also anchored East Grand Rapids’ first-place 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams and placed sixth in the 800.

Muller was part of MHSAA Division 2 title teams for East Grand Rapids in 2022 and 2023. She was also an individual Finals champ in cross country and part of a team that captured a state title in that sport.

“Individually, I had an OK season, so it felt good to kind of end if off in high school at East in a really good spot,” said Muller, who has signed with University of Virginia. 

“I wanted to end on, like, a good attitude and savor all the fun high school moments. Super excited to race next year in college, but I’m going to miss this team so much. I have probably stuck with running because of this team. I’ve been trying to savor every senior moment.”

Chelsea senior Leila Wells also made the most of her final high school track meet. She collected her second 100-meter hurdles title in three years with a PR time of 14.92 despite being seeded fifth in the event. She did not compete at the Finals last year because of an ankle injury.

Wells is taking her athletic talents to Virginia Tech, where the 5-foot-7 shooting guard will play basketball.

“It’s been a whole year, so I was kind of hungry and had that fire to be back all season,” Wells said. “Actually being here was amazing. I came in seeded fifth from the Regional, so I was really passionate about running my best time today.”

Other event champions Saturday included: Goodrich’s Layla Jordan in the 800 (2:09.92), St. Johns’ Ava Schafer in the 3,200 (10:39.77), Yale’s Sadie Dykstra in the 300 hurdles (45.00) and long jump (18-½), Eastpointe’s Kalia Monroe in shot put (45-6), Marysville’s Janae Hudson in discus (140-3), Hastings’ Bella Friddle in high jump (5-5), and Ortonville Brandon’s Allison Shelton in pole vault (11-9).

Summit Academy North won the 400 relay (48.75) and the 800 relay (1:40.95). Coldwater junior Brianna Barle won the 100 and 200 adaptive race championships.

Foster gave a shout-out to his four “awesome” seniors and stressed that Divine Child’s team title came through a team effort.

“They put in so much work. Whatever we asked of them, they put in the extra mile. They look at us sometimes, but they put that smile on and they say, ‘OK, coach.’ And that’s what made them so special and they worked so hard,” he said.

“I mean, these young ladies have worked hard since day one. They’re just a special group.”

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Members of Dearborn Divine Child’s girls track & field team hold up their latest championship trophy Saturday. (Middle) East Grand Rapids’ Drew Muller leads the pack during a relay win. (Click for more from Dave McCauley/RunMichigan.com.)

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

@mhsaasports 🏃‍♀️‍➡️POW: Emmry Ross #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #nerdgummyclusters #culvers #austinandally #friends #emoji #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/RunMichigan.com.)