Frankenmuth Takes Back D3 Supremacy

May 31, 2014

By Butch Harmon
Special to Second Half

COMSTOCK PARK – After coming up short in its bid to repeat as MHSAA champions at last year’s Lower Peninsula Division 3 Girls Track and Field Finals, Frankenmuth was determined to not be denied this time.

With a squad that featured six top seeds and balance on the track and in the field events, the Eagles this time captured the title in impressive fashion as they outlasted last year’s champions, Pewamo-Westphalia.

The MHSAA title was the second in three years for Frankenmuth and fourth in the last six years for a program that is setting the standard for girls track and field in Division 3.

Sprinter Angie Ritter was one of the leaders. The senior, who was part of the title-winning team as a sophomore, was not about to let her career end without hoisting another championship trophy.

“I was real happy with what our team did,” Ritter said. “As a team we all performed up to par. Last year we had a few fallouts, but this year everyone did what was expected. We all came into the season with positive attitudes, and we talked about winning state this year.”

The day went according to form for the Eagles, who knew before the meet was over that they had won.

“By the time we got to the four by four (1,600 relay) we knew we had it,” Ritter said. “We were up by 26 points with one event to go, and we knew we got it.”

She did her part to help. Ritter, who will be running for Grand Valley State University next season, won both the 100 and the 200-meter dashes and was a member of the 800 relay team that also finished first.

“I was just hoping to get first in both the 100 and the 200,” Ritter said. “Winning a state championship says it all. I was pretty happy to win it all.”

Ritter also removed her sister’s name from the school record book in the process as her time in the 100-meter dash was three-tenths of a second faster than her sister Kelsey Ritter’s previous Frankenmuth best.

Angie Ritter was not the only Eagles standout to win a pair of individual titles. Junior Sydney Bronner captured the 100 hurdles and high jump, and like Ritter was also a member of the 800 relay champ.

Bronner placed in high jump last year but was determined to take the title and also set a new personal best of 5-6, something she accomplished in the final. That personal best also tied the LP Division 3 meet record. 

“I took third last year,” Bronner said. “I wanted to take first this year. I tried seven or eight times at 5-6, and this time I finally did it. I was more confident this year and I also have improved my form.”

Second-place Pewamo-Westphalia didn’t let this year’s title go without a fight. The 400 relay team of seniors Jenna Thelen, Sasha Platte, Kenzie Wieber and junior Gabbie Hummel took first, and in the process set a new school record. For Thelen, Platte and Wieber, it was their final time competing together.

“It really helps having three seniors on the team,” Thelen said. “This was the last race for the three of us, and we wanted to go out with a win.”

“It was a blessing in itself,” Platte added. “We did great today. We did a lot of work for this, and our coaches helped lead us to this.”

Elkton-Pigeon-BayPort senior Kayla Deering wrapped up her high school career in a big way. A two-time MHSAA champion in the shot put, Deering closed with a third straight title with a put of 44-11. Deering, who will compete at the University of Michigan next season, also placed sixth in the discus.

“I was satisfied,” Deering said. “I really wanted the state record, but I was satisfied to win a third state title. I just tried to stay focused.  I’m content, but it would have been nice to set a new personal best here.”

Manistee’s Annie Fuller battled through the heat of the afternoon to capture a pair of titles for a second consecutive year. A junior, Fuller won the 800 as a freshman. Last season she won the 800 for a second straight year and also added the 1,600 title. Saturday she again took titles in the 800 and 1,600.

“The heat didn’t help much,” Fuller said. “There was also definitely more pressure this year trying to repeat. The competition is real strong and you don’t want to lose.”

Fuller set personal records in both races and also helped Manistee finish third overall in the 1,600 relay, running the anchor leg.

Napoleon junior Kaniya Weatherspoon had only one jump in the long jump competition but she made it count. Weatherspoon jumped 17-4½ on her first attempt, and that leap was good for first place. She was scratched on her next two jumps as she suffered tightness in her quad muscle and wanted to save herself so she could contribute to the team score in other events. Weatherspoon went on to finish fifth in the 200 and helped Napoleon’s 400 and 800 relay teams finish among the top five. Those efforts enabled Napoleon to finish in fourth place overall.

Click for full results.

PHOTO: Frankenmuth's Cadi Palmreuter (second from left) takes the baton from teammate Rebekah Barger during the 400 relay Saturday. The Eagles finished second in this race but won the meet. (Click to see more from

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.span>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/