Girls Finals: Burning up the record book

June 2, 2012

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Rain or shine and everything in between couldn't keep a strong class of MHSAA Track and Field athletes from once again shining in the final girls meets of the season Saturday.

A total of 19 Finals records either were tied or broken during the seven championships events featuring schools from throughout both peninsulas. Three records were new bests for all Finals, regardless of division. And two athletes won four individual titles – another feat rarely seen.

Here's our breakdown of the best from Saturday's meets. It's impossible to include every highlight, of course. But feel free to comment below and tell us what we missed.


Few have put together a Finals like Sami Michell’s in Division 3 – and no girl has done so in the Lower Peninsula since 1979. Adding to her three championships in 2011 and another in 2010, Michell won four events – long jump, 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and the 200 – and set three records in the process, including the all-Finals mark in the 300 erasing what had stood since 1984. She’s only a junior, and nearly pulled off the four-title feat last season but finished second in the 200. The last girl to win four events at one LP Finals was Mason County Eastern’s Maria Shoup, who did so at the 1979 Class D meet with victories in the 100 hurdles, 200 hurdles, 800 and long jump.

Record setters

All Finals and LP D3/300 hurdles – Sami Michell, Reed City – 42.23
(All Finals previous was 42.4, set by Benton Harbor’s Carolyn Ferguson in Class A in 1984; previous D3 was 43.84, also by Michell, set in 2011)

All Finals and LP D1/3,200 relay – Kelsie Schwartz, Ersula Farrow, Haley and Hannah Meier – 8:48.29
(previous was 9:05.47, set by Rochester in 2010)

All Finals and LP D1/1,600 run – Erin Finn, West Bloomfield – 10:17.86
(previous was 10:22.75, set by Rochester’s Megan Goethals in 2010)

LP D1/High jump – Keianna Ingram, Southfield-Lathrup – 5-9
(ties previous set by Ann Arbor Pioneer’s Ariel Roberts in 2008)

LP D1/Long jump – Cierra Pryor, Jackson – 19-0
(previous was 18-9, set by Saginaw Arthur Hill’s Monsherri Hall in 2007)

LP D2/100 dash –
Sydney Cureton, Detroit Country Day – 11.90
(previous was 11.92, also by Cureton, set in 2011)

LP D2/1,600 run –
Sara Barron, Pontiac Notre Dame – 4:51.67
(previous was 4:54.07, set by Corunna’s Jamie Kryzmiski in 2000)

LP D2/400 dash –
Kendall Baisden, Detroit Country Day – 54.58
(previous was 54.91, also by Baisden, set in 2010)

LP D2/3,200 run –
Ali Wiersma, Allendale – 10:40.22
(previous was 10:40.66, set by Monroe Jefferson’s Beka Smeltzer in 2004)

LP D3/Long jump –
Sami Michell, Reed City – 18-6.5
(previous was 18-1, set by Albion’s Juandretta Oliver in 2007)

LP D3/100 hurdles –
Sami Michell, Reed City – 13.84
(previous was 14.07, also by Michell, set in 2011)

LP D3/800 run –
Annie Fuller, Manistee – 2:13.03
(previous was 2:14.03, set by Albion’s Amelia Bannister in 2007)

UP D1/Long jump –
Adeline Grier-Welch, Houghton – 17-3.5
(previous was 17-0.75, also by Grier-Welch, set in 2011)

UP D1/100 dash –
Chelsea Jacques, Calumet – 12.55
(previous was 12.58, set by Escanaba’s Stephanie Ostrenga in 2005)

UP D2/Discus –
Hunter Perry, Rudyard – 122-10.25
(previous was 120-4.75 by Iron River West Iron County’s Desirae Rasmussen in 2010)

UP D2/High jump –
Nicole Vanderlin, Norway – 5-4
(ties previous record, also by Vanderlin, set in 2011)

UP D2/200 dash –
Dani Gagne, Norway – 26.42
(previous was 26.47, set by Chassell’s Jamie Dompier in 2009)

UP D3/Long jump –
Olivia Soumis, Ontonagon – 16-7.5
(previous was 16-5.5, also by Soumis, set in 2010)

UP D3/200 dash – Jamie Dompier, Chassell – 26.36
(previous was 26.65, set by Rapid River’s Stephanie Boyer in 2001)

Tales of the Trophy

LP D1: Grosse Pointe South continued its impressive two-year run with its second straight championship, this time by 13.5 points over Ann Arbor Huron. The same athletes who keyed the school’s cross country title in the fall did so again Saturday – distance runners Hannah and Haley Meier, Kelsie Schwartz and Ersula Farrow, plus sprinter Caitlin Moore.

LP D2: Detroit Country Day won six events and Dearborn Divine Child just two, but at the end of the afternoon they’d both scored 60 points to tie for the championship. Last season, Country Day was first and Divine Child second, while in 2009 those places were reversed. Country Day’s Brittany Mann repeated as champion in the shot put and discus, and Baisden won her third in the 400. Divine Child balanced the scoring with contributions from 10 entries.

LP D3: Frankenmuth won its third championship in four years and improved on last season’s runner-up finish by beating Benzie Central by 11. Relays were the key: the Eagles won both the 800 and 1,600 with Olivia Shelton, Emily Wee and Angela Ritter running on both, helped by Sydney Bronner on the 800 and Lauren Peterson on the 1,600.

LP D4: Fowler won its second straight after runner-up finishes in 2010 and 2009, edging Traverse City St. Francis by four points with a total of 54. Relays were the key for these Eagles as well. They won the 3,200 and 800 relays with seven athletes (Elizabeth Thelen was the only common runner between the two) to balance out wins by St. Francis’ Lauren Buckel in the 400 and 200.

UP D1: Marquette repeated and won its fourth in the last five seasons by edging Negaunee by seven points. Shayla Huebner and Jessica Fluette were half of the winning 1,600 relay and also won individual events. Fluette also was on the winning 3,200 relay.

UP D2: St. Ignace won its third straight and fourth in five seasons with 142 points – 46 more than runner-up Norway. The Saints won five events including a relay, with Sarah Cullip the star. She won the pole vault, 1,600 and 3,200.

UP D3: Brimley also repeated and won its fourth in five seasons, edging Eben Junction Superior Central by 12 points. Brimley won just four events, but got scoring from 12 entries.

So long, seniors

Cindy Ofili, Ann Arbor Huron – Won the 100, 200 and 100 hurdles and ran on the winning 800 relay at the LP Division 1 meet.

Kyra Jefferson, Detroit Cass Tech – Won the LP Division 1 200 championship for the third straight season, giving her four individual championships for her career.

Tori DeSira, DeWitt – Won the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles at the LP Division 2 Final, giving her five individual championships for her career.

Sara Barron, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep – As well as setting a LP Division 2 record in the 1,600 (see above), Barron repeated as champion in the 800.

Dani Gagne, Norway – In addition to setting the UP Division 2 record in the 200, she also won the long jump, 100 and 400, giving her 10 championships total during her career.

Megan Kangas, Norway – Joined her teammate as a repeat champion, winning the 100 hurdles to finish her career with four MHSAA championships total.

Lauren Spanger – Eben Junction Superior Central – Won the UP Division 3 400 title for the third straight season and the 800 for the second time in three seasons.

Click for links to all results.

PHOTO: Competitors race to advance to the 100-meter championship race during Saturday's Division 4 Final. (Photo courtesy of Click to see more.)

Blissfield's Miller Set for Senior Success After 3 Junior-Year Finals Trips

By Doug Donnelly
Special for

August 15, 2023

BLISSFIELD – Last fall, June Miller raced for an MHSAA cross country title at Michigan International Speedway. During the winter she played in the Division 3 Basketball Final at the Breslin Center. In the spring, she competed at the Lower Peninsula Division 3 track & field championships in Kent City. 

Southeast & BorderAs she embarks on her senior year at Blissfield Community Schools in southeast Michigan, Miller isn’t concerned about an encore. 

“I don’t worry about topping my junior season,” she said. “I don’t feel the need to. I’ll fight for it to the best of my ability, but if I don’t make it that’s okay. There were a lot of factors that went into last year, and I can’t control all of them this year.  

“I’ll leave my best out there and know that I gave it my all, and in the end that’s the true accomplishment. If it takes me that far or further, then great. If not, that’s okay.” 

Miller’s remarkable run to MHSAA Finals in three sports remains even more impressive when considering she had eight goals and five assists playing defense for the Royals soccer team. 

“Shows up to work, busts her tail every practice, every game,” said Blissfield girls basketball coach Ryan Gilbert. “Never have to worry about June Miller.” 

Miller is as steady an athlete as they come, never getting too high or too low in pressure situations. In basketball, Gilbert said Miller never met a shot she didn’t like. Miller started all 29 games last season, leading the team in 3-pointers.  

Gilbert said Miller is even-keeled. 

“It takes a while to get into the ‘June Miller circle,’ but I’m almost in,” he said. “This is her senior year; this is my year. She’s very funny when you get to know her and has a brilliant mind. 

“She wants to win over everything,” Gilbert said. 

Miller wasn’t the fastest runner on the cross country team last fall – that spot would belong to her younger sister, Hope. June has no problem with that.  

“I love running with my sister,” she said. “She’s an amazing and incredibly kind person. Her dedication to running inspires me and keeps me fighting for it. We train together sometimes and she’s the one that pushes me, and I love that.  

“I always knew she’d be faster than me someday, and I couldn’t be prouder of how fast she’s become and how much she’s achieved. (People might) think I’d hold some resentment for her beating me while I’m older, but she’s lived in my shadow for years and I’m so glad she’s been able to find her place that she can dominate.” 

Miller pulls up for a jumper during last season’s basketball postseason run.Blissfield is eyeing a big season in cross country after winning a Regional and just missing the top 10 at the Final a year ago. The Miller sisters are a big reason for the giddiness. 

“I’m ready to leave it all out there,” Miller said. “It’s my senior season, and I want to go out strong. I think the end goal for all of us is to really push it this season and improve with each race so by the time we hit Regionals we’re in the best shape physically and mentally so we can leave it all on the course to get to states again.” 

Because of her work schedule this summer, Miller missed some of the team workouts but was able to get the details from her sister and went out on her own time and trained to build up her mileage in preparation for the season. 

“I think the experience from last year will give us something to fight for,” she said. “It allows us to look at the season with our end goal being the state meet. It gives us a passion and something to fight for.” 

Blissfield cross country coach Ryan Bills called Miller a strong competitor. 

“She is fun kid,” he said. “You never know which June you’re going to get – funny, chatty June or serious, no-nonsense June. Either way she always gives it her all during competition, which is why she has seen so much success the past year.” 

The four-sport athlete spent the first couple of weeks of summer refreshing her body before kicking it into high gear. 

She did take some time to reflect on all the places she got to play and compete last year and is grateful to be part of a team that helped her reach those places. 

“It was a unique experience,” she said. “When I’m playing basketball or running track and cross country, I’m not focused on where I am physically – instead I’m in my head focused on what I need to do. 

“Once you get to someplace, you stop thinking about getting there and you move on to the next step of being there and doing what you need to there.” 

Miller is one of the top students in her class. She’s currently trying to decide whether she wants to pursue playing soccer in college. She wants to major in business and minor in sustainability, eventually getting a master’s degree in architecture. 

“I want to be a sustainable design architect,” she said, “who can better the world through the art of architecture.” 

Miller’s future looks bright, as does the outlook for this athletic year. In all three sports for which she reached the Finals last year, the Royals have enough returning talent to make lengthy runs again. 

“I’m looking forward to it,” Miller said, about four days before the first cross country event of the season. “I want to make it to all those state tournaments again, but I want to do it with my teammates because they’re the ones that make it memorable and something to remember forever.”

Doug DonnellyDoug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Blissfield’s June Miller (750) races during a cross country meet last fall. (Middle) Miller pulls up for a jumper during last season’s basketball postseason run. (Cross country photo by Deloris Clark-Osborne; basketball photo by Gary Sullivan.)