Grosse Ile's Molnar Wins Title in 2nd Sport, EGR Top Team for 2nd-Straight Year

By Steve Vedder
Special for

June 3, 2023

ADA – The only common denominator that Kaitlyn Molnar can think of between her two sports is that brief feeling of pure freedom as she soars through the air.

The big difference, of course, is that one comes in a swimming pool and the other while hurling herself along a long jump pit.

The Grosse Ile junior added a state long jump title to a state diving championship at Saturday's Lower Peninsula Division 2 Track & Field Finals at Forest Hills Eastern. The long jump win came after Molnar won a Division 3 diving title in the fall and followed a fifth-place finish in the long jump as a sophomore.

While the necessary talents for both sports may seem incompatible, Molnar sees one significant similarity.

"I just love that feeling of being in the air," she said after a jump of  18-feet, 5 inches. "You just take off and go as high as possible. It takes a lot of focus, but I love the long jump.

"It was kind of a surprise, but it was nice to pull it off. (Jumping and diving) are about foot placement and keeping your head up."

While Molnar's individual exploits were impressive, East Grand Rapids successfully defended its team title with 50 points, 16 better than runner-up Sturgis. Mason, New Boston Huron and Otsego tied for third with 26 points. Tecumseh was sixth with 24.

New Boston Huron's Elizabeth Anderson leads the field in the 400. EGR coach Mike Dykstra said the loss of four major point scorers from last season was overcome by depth and young talent stepping up to fill in gaps. But if you had asked the 19-year coach two months ago if the Pioneers had a realistic shot a back-to-back titles, he would have hedged.

"Maybe," he said. "We had some good competitors back and a lot of talented young kids trying to fill in spots. Today, I think the (90-plus degree) weather was helpful in a way because it made us focus on the weather as the enemy. It helped us focus on ourselves. It was kind of a blessing in a way."

Among the Pioneers champions was the 3,200 relay team (9:28.17) and the 1,600 relay (3:58.18), while junior Drew Muller repeated in the 1,600 (4:56.01) and senior Camryn Bodine won the 800 (2:11.53).

"There definitely was more pressure this year," she said. "People look out for me just as I look for them. There was awesome competition both years, but I'm happy because I had better times this year. It took a lot of work behind the scenes."

New Boston Huron senior Elizabeth Anderson had a big day that included winning the 400 (55.38). She also was second in both the 100 and 200 and part of the 1,600 relay team. Anderson followed last season's championships in the 200 and 400 and runner-up in the 100. But by at least one measurement, this season was an improvement, she said.

"It was better this year because my times were better," said Anderson, who will run track at Michigan State next season. "I just felt heathier and wanted to finish my season strong. I really wanted to win the 400 because it's my favorite event. That was my goal the whole year. I trained all year to do it."

Other LPD2 champs included Keyanna O'Tey of Sturgis, who won the 100 (11.84). O'Tey said winning the Regional made her realize she could become a Finals champ.

"It's a mindset; I have confidence in myself," she said. There's a lot going on with me right now, but the right people said they have confidence in me and that gave me a positive mindset."

Saginaw Swan Valley's Lyberty Brandt won the high jump in 5 feet, 5 inches. Brandt was second as a junior with a leap of 5-3.

The Pioneers celebrate their championship."This was a chance to redeem myself," said Brandt, who swept every high jump event she entered this season. "My dad said this was going to be the year and I just said, 'whatever.' When I went 5-4 in my first event this year ,I thought maybe I could do this. I just trusted myself, the confidence just came."

Marysville junior Janae Hudson won the shot put with a toss of 42 feet, 7 inches. That followed a 10th in the shot and a third in the discus a year ago. Hudson said the improvement was a matter of fine-tuning technique. She compares throwing the shot to golf in that even the smallest changes can result in a large reward.

"There were very few days when I wasn't working on that," she said. "It was a lot of little things in technique. You fix one little thing and you're better. You have to have the determination to have a good season."

Other champs were the Cadillac 800 relay (1:44.76) and the 400 relay of Berrien Springs (49.32).

Ella Jenkins of Warren Regina won the 100 hurdles (14.64), and Annabelle Densmore of Charlotte the 300 hurdles (45.06). Natalie VanOtteren of Grand Rapids Christian won the 3,200 (10:57.20), Allison Shelton of Ortonville Brandon the pole vault (12 feet) and Haley Guerrant of Otsego the discus (136-11). Sturgis' Jillian Romanyk competed in the adaptive 100 (30.53) and shot put (13-7).

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) East Grand Rapids closes in on the 1,600 relay championship Saturday. (Middle) New Boston Huron's Elizabeth Anderson leads the field in the 400. (Below) The Pioneers celebrate their championship. (Photos by Dave McCauley/

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/