Lakes Begin 'to Bring the Legacy Back'
By John Vrancic
Special for MHSAA.com
June 4, 2017
KINGSFORD — The Lake Linden-Hubbell girls ended a lengthy title drought Saturday, earning top honors at the Upper Peninsula Division 3 Track & Field Finals.
Lake Linden scored 110 points to secure its first title since 1983, when it was competing in Class D. Pickford squeezed past Cedarville by less than a point for the runner-up honor, and Bark River-Harris took fourth.
“We’re trying to bring the legacy back,” said junior Laura Lyons. “Mr. G (coach Gary Guisfredi) is doing everything he can to help us carry on the program.”
Lyons led the Lakes by taking the 200-meter dash in 27.53 seconds, long jump at 15 feet, 5 inches, and by helping the winning 1,600 relay (4:23.23) and placing second in the 400 (1:01.37).
In the 400, she was runner-up to DeTour senior Sarah Bailey (1:00.52).
“I think my starts were pretty good,” said Lyons. “I was in lane 8 in the 200, which made it hard to see the other girls.
“I didn’t know Sarah before today. Track is also a social event. Everybody’s just so friendly.”
Lake Linden’s Mariah Wilmer won the 800 in a school-record 2:27.08, followed by Bailey (2:28.59) and Rock Mid Peninsula eighth-grader Daisy Englund (2:35.71).
Wilmer also helped the winning 800 (1:54.99) and 1,600 relays.
Jamie Hendrickson provided the Lakes with firsts in high jump at 5-1 and by helping the winning 400 (54.10) and 1,600 relays. Sienna Anderson added a victory in the 100 hurdles (17.55).
Pickford’s Clare Cottle won pole vault (8-6), and Cedarville’s Mackenzie Barr won discus (103-10), edging Ontonagon’s Holly Wardynski by 6½ inches.
In addition to her victory in the 400, Bailey was runner-up in the 800 (2:28.59) and fourth in the 200 (28.22).
“I think that was my best time (in the 400),” said Bailey, who plans to play volleyball at Lake Superior State University this fall. “I had a pretty good start and tried to get toward the front. I had never seen (Lyons) before, but she was a good motivator. It’s always a challenge when you come here because you never know what you’re going to get.”
BR-H sophomore Hailee Demers took the 100 dash (13.30) and 300 hurdles (49.46) and placed second in the 200 (27.68). Junior teammate Jaelin Lockwood was second in the 100 (13.59) and long jump (15-4).
Dollar Bay senior Cami Daavettila won the 1,600 (5:41.78), and Chassell’s Lela Rautiola took the 3,200 (12:47.38).
“I was pleased with my time in the 1,600,” said Daavettila. “The weather was perfect for the mile and I got a PR (personal record). There was a little bit of a breeze, but nothing to hold you back.”
Engadine junior Ashtyn Buss took first in shot put (36-3) and fourth in discus (95-7).
PHOTOS: (Top) Lake Linden-Hubbell’s Lily Kumpula takes off during her leg of the 400 relay. (Middle) DeTour’s Sarah Bailey completes her championship dash in the 400. (Photos by Cara Kamps.)
Elk Rapids' Schulte Sisters Splitting Finals Weekend Between Tennis, Track
By Tom Spencer
Special for MHSAA.com
June 2, 2023
Today began with a bye for Elk Rapids’ Jaida and Brynne Schulte as the Elks returned to the Lower Peninsula Division 4 Girls Tennis Finals in Kalamazoo.
They’re planning to say bye to their tennis teammates, though, when the first day of competition is over. The Elks will have to advance to Saturday without them.
That goodbye is just fine with tennis coach Keith Schulte. And, it will be more than fine with the Elk Rapids track & field team – which will be happy to say hello to the sister pair as they head to their LPD3 Finals in Kent City.
Regardless of how they fare today, the Schulte sisters will run Saturday.
Coach Schulte, who teaches strength and conditioning at Elk Rapids, is also the father of Jaida and Brynne. Today’s he’s beaming with pride, and not just for his tennis team’s success. He’s proud of all the student-athletes and their successes this spring, including the girls soccer team moving on to Regionals with a 2-0 win Thursday over Boyne City.
And while all this is going on, he should have a moment or two to just be Dad. Jaida and Brynne teamed up to win the No. 2 doubles title at their Regional as the Elks tied for first place with Traverse City St. Francis two weeks ago. Then the Schulte girls captured first place in the Regional track meet to qualify for Saturday’s Finals. Brynne won the 1,600 and 3,200, and Jaida’s 3,200 relay team took first to move on.
Coach Schulte hasn’t had much time to pause and soak in the moment of his daughters’ qualifying for two Finals competitions during the same season.
“I didn’t think much of it until now,” the fourth-year coach said. “I’ve always just challenged my kids to do something difficult and not be scared to fail.
“They’ve just kind of found the balance on making this stuff happen,” he continued. “It is a pretty cool opportunity if you can go to two state championships.”
Getting to today’s Tennis Finals is a story full of success. The Elks’ first year under Schulte was halted after a week of practice due to the pandemic. The second year saw the team looking at a season with just nine potential players, but recruitment efforts resulted in the 2021 Elks managing to qualify for the Finals for the first time in their history.
Elk Rapids went on to win the Regional championship in 2022. And then, after graduating six athletes, the Elks were able to repeat this spring with a valiant effort resulting in the co-championship with their conference rival St. Francis.
Dual-sport standouts, while rare, aren’t entirely unheard of – especially at the state’s smaller schools where athletes frequently are needed to fill rosters in multiple sports during the same season. In fact, the Schultes aren’t even alone on their tennis team – sisters Ryleigh and Haleigh Yocum also are playing doubles today but softball on Saturday.
The Yocums won the Regional title at No. 2 doubles and also are slated to be the Elks’ first two batters as they take on Mancelona as one of the favorites to win a Division 3 District title on the softball diamond.
“I do feel bad for them – it’s states,” said 14-year veteran softball coach Erin Merchant. “I do want them to have that opportunity.
“I hope they go far,” she continued. “But then deep down, I’m like, ‘We need them Saturday.’”
Tim Nance and Jesse Way are in their first year co-coaching the boys and girls track teams at ER. They’re pleased the Schultes are prioritizing track while enjoying tennis.
“I think it is remarkable how resilient, laid back and casual the girls are about their success,” Nance said. “I would say it hasn’t compromised their talent, hard work and success.
“I think it has worked out great,” he continued. “I am selfish and I want them to myself only, but I am happy they can have two successes.”
The Elks will have Ayva Johnstone at No. 1 singles, Kelly Minidis and No. 2, Morgan Bergquist at No. 3 and Jasmine King at No. 4 this weekend. They also will have No. 1 doubles Chloe Taylor and Caroline Best and No. 4 doubles Tessa Nico and Portia Beebe, in addition to the Yokums and Schultes.
Jaida Schulte is a junior. She’s one of the recruits who joined to help the Elks get to their first Tennis Finals in 2021. Bergquist and Beebe were recruits in 2022.
Tennis is the favorite sport today for those three, but track and cross country are right up there for Jaida thanks to the opportunity to run with her freshman sister Brynne.
Jaida is hoping to at least match her personal-record split of 2:36 in the 3,200 relay Saturday. But her goal was first to win all of her doubles matches Friday and see the tennis team finish top-five in its division.
“Brynne loves track, and I love the challenge of running,” Jaida said. “I don’t think I would have the experience of running track or cross country without Brynne.”
Coaches saw very little disruption, if any, with their track, softball and tennis teams this spring with the Yocums and Schultes dual-sporting. The Schultes were able to get track and tennis practice or competition most every day.
“I prioritized track,” Brynne said. “I also got a lot of hitting time in for tennis.
“I would go to track practice first, and as soon as I would be done I would run over to the tennis courts and hit with my sister for a half an hour before going home,” she continued. “It has been worth it.”
Tom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.
PHOTOS (Top) Elk Rapids sisters Brynne (left) and Jaida Schulte have teamed up at No. 3 doubles for the tennis team this season. (Middle) Brynne Schulte sets to start a track relay. (Below) The Schultes helped the Elks to their first two Regional titles in tennis, including their second straight this spring. (Photos courtesy of Jaclyn Schulte.)