Marquette Girls Prove Peninsula Power

By John Vrancic
Special for

June 1, 2013

KINGSFORD — Any questions?

The Marquette Redettes proved they're the Upper Peninsula's best girls track and field team beyond any shadow of a doubt Saturday, claiming their third straight Division 1 title with 145 points.

"We had a (triangular) meet in Escanaba on Tuesday, and it worked out well," said Marquette coach John Peterson. "I think it helped us keep our competitive edge."

Negaunee edged Escanaba 62½-54 for the runner-up trophy.

Freshman distance ace Lindsey Rudden set U.P. meet records in the 800-meter run in 2 minutes. 16.46 seconds, the 1,600 (5:05.5) and 3,200 (11:26.13) and helped the Redettes win the 3,200 relay.

Her effort in the 800 also was a school record.

"Three U.P. records in one day is pretty amazing," Peterson said. "Shayla Huebner running a 59-second quarter is also an excellent performance. We had so many kids do well today. They responded to every challenge in their way. This was just a fun day to see them compete."

Rudden's effort topped a pair of U.P. records from 2001, including a 2:21.3 clocking by Menominee's Mandy Long in the 800 and 11:38.2 by Sault Ste. Marie's Natalie Cahill in the 3,200.




Also falling by the wayside was the previous 1,600 record (5:19.73) by Iron Mountain's Kelly McClure in 2005.

"I felt great today," Rudden said. "Although I was also real nervous after what happened in the U.P. Cross Country Finals last fall. I have great teammates who will lift you when you're down. We all support and push each other. In the 3,200 relay, all the girls gave it their all. We were just nine seconds off the U.P. record."

Rudden, who went undefeated in all three distance events this spring, also was unbeaten going into the Cross Country Finals.

On that day, she was well ahead of the field with a half mile left in the 3.1-mile race at Munising when she became dehydrated, passed out and needed to be helped off the course.

"I'm realizing I need to become more serious about my running," Rudden said. "I need to be more focused. There's more pressure as it gets later in the season, especially when you're undefeated."

Huebner, who won the 400 at 59.29, added a second place in the 800 (2:21.32) and helped the winning 1,600 and 3,200 relays.

In the field events, sophomore Kirsten Iwanski won shot put at 31 feet, 4 inches, and Hunter Viitala took high jump (5-1).

"Marquette is getting some points in the field events," Peterson said. "It's so much fun to see the kids when they start in the spring and see how far they come. You can't beat the U.P. Finals. This is the best athletic event in the U.P., bar none."

Negaunee's leader was senior Ashley Veale, who won the 100 hurdles (16.57) and 300 (47.31).

Calumet sophomore Chelsea Jacques won the 100 (12.62) and 200 (26.62) and helped the winning 400 relay.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Marquette freshman Lindsey Rudden leads the pack during one of her three record-setting races Saturday. (Middle) The Redettes pose with their championship trophy after a third-straight Finals win. (Photos courtesy of Marquette High School.)

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.)