Marquette Girls Reclaim Championship Leaning on Sprint Superiority

By Jason Juno
Special for

June 4, 2023

KINGSFORD – After finishing runner-up to Negaunee last year, Marquette’s girls took back the championship Saturday at the Upper Peninsula Division 1 Track & Field Finals.

Marquette won with 130 points, Negaunee had 96, third-place Sault Ste. Marie 83 and fourth-place Houghton scored 69.

Negaunee's Madison Pekrul, left, edges Marquette’s Siena Lingle in the 300 hurdles.Marquette’s Julia Ott won the 100 and 200-meter dashes, defeating teammate Baux Truckey, the two-time reigning champion in both races. Truckey got the win in the 400.

Houghton’s Danica Ryynanen won the 100 hurdles, and Negaunee’s Madison Pekrul the 300 hurdles

Negaunee sophomore Aubrey Johnson repeated in the 800 run. Houghton’s Tessa Rautiola was first in the 1,600. And Marquette freshman Ella Fure became a U.P. champion in the 3,200.

“Today was the hottest weather I think I ever ran in,” Fure said. “It was brutal. They were splashing water on us and spraying us. It took a lot to keep going, but I’m glad I persevered.”

Temperatures were in the mid 80s with persistent sun until storms moved in and delayed the event briefly.

Negaunee senior Eliana Juchemich went from fourth last year in the discus to a title Saturday. But she didn’t win the shot put like in 2022; that honor went to Sault Ste. Marie’s Hannah Maurer. 

Negaunne's Olivia Lunseth hands off to Ellie Sundberg in the 800 relay.Westwood sophomore Faith Spiroff repeated as high jump champion and also won the Long jump this time, tying a U.P. Division 1 Finals record with a leap of 17 feet, 3½ inches. She now shares the mark with Houghton’s Adeline Grier-Welch.

Marquette also won two relays – the 400 (Hailey Bolf, Sophie Skytta, Bella Coleman and Ott) and the 800 (Meghan MacPhee, Seina Lingle, Skytta and Truckey).  

Escanaba took the 1,600 relay (Mari Bink, Ashley Foust, Annabelle Neumeier and Ava Getzloff) and Houghton won the 3,200 (Lily Ross, Tessa Rautiola, Claire Filpus and Ayla Miller). Lexi Olson of Westwood won the pole vault.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Marquette's Hailey Bolf starts the winning 400 relay Saturday. (Middle) Negaunee's Madison Pekrul, left, edges Marquette’s Siena Lingle in the 300 hurdles. (Below) Negaunne's Olivia Lunseth hands off to Ellie Sundberg in the 800 relay. (Photos by Cara Kamps/

Freshman Rewriting Whitmore Lake Record Book, Eyeing More Finals Success

By Doug Donnelly
Special for

May 21, 2024

The COVID-19 pandemic was a different, often difficult time for student athletes.

Greater DetroitIt also gave aspiring young athletes a little free time. Whitmore Lake’s Kaylie Livingston didn’t waste it.

Livingston, then in grade school, got serious about running – and it grew into a passion.

In the fall, the Whitmore Lake freshman finished second at the Lower Peninsula Division 4 Cross Country Final. She’s gearing up for the LPD4 track & field championship meet June 1 and enjoyed a remarkable day just over a week ago at the East Jackson Dome Classic when she set school records in the 1,600, 3,200 and as part of the 3,200 relay – the three longest races – all in the same day.

“She has the motor to do both (the 1,600 and 3,200),” said her coach and father, Casey Livingston. “She was really focused that day and posted a couple of really good times.”

Livingston won the 3,200 with a time of 10:46.29. She was second in the 1,600 with a time of 5:03.24. The 3,200 relay team finished second with a school record 9:43.57, which has since been lowered.

“It was a normal day for me running those events,” Kaylie said. “It’s a lot of fun to run as many races and run as fast as I can. I had a pretty good day.”

Livingston started running in elementary school. Her dad was the head cross country coach at Whitmore Lake, which was then a member of the Tri-County Conference. After the regular TCC meets had finished, the league held an “open” race where anyone could run. Most times, Kaylie would join the fun.

Livingston has qualified for the MHSAA Finals in two individual races and two relays.“That’s really the first time she ran competitively, if you can even call it competitive,” Casey Livingston said. “She really enjoyed running, especially with the older kids. She liked that.”

During the pandemic, Livingston said the family began running together.

“When COVID hit and we were shut down, we were outside trying to get exercise,” he said. “Obviously, track season was canceled that spring, but our league did some COVID games, where you would do different events and you would record it. She did that.

“Then, that summer, we started our summer training, and she would have been in fifth or sixth grade and started running our workouts. She kind of just took off with it.”

And then some.

“She’s been running times that had rivaled our records when she was in middle school,” added Livingston, who has coached basketball, cross country and track & field at Whitmore Lake. “I remember her saying, ‘I can’t wait to be a freshman so I can set some of those records.’”

This past weekend at her team’s Regional, Kaylie qualified for the Lower Peninsula Division 4 Finals in four events – the 1,600, 3,200 and as part of the 1,600 and 3,200 relays. She was the Regional champion in three of those races. Overall this season, she finished outside first place only five times – with four runner-up finishes and a third place in a relay.

She said those records have remained on her mind.

“I beat them by a pretty decent amount,” she said. “It was definitely one of the goals for the track season.”

The three-sport athlete (cross country, basketball, and track) enjoys track & field but says cross country is her favorite sport. She runs anywhere from 30 to 40 miles a week. Her individual runner-up finish in cross country helped Whitmore Lake win the LPD4 team title, and she has similar aspirations for her track & field team in two weeks.

“My goals are to continue to grow and always get faster,” she said. “Hopefully we could come in with a state title too.”

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) Kaylie Livingston runs one of her races this season as a freshman for Whitmore Lake. (Middle) Livingston has qualified for the MHSAA Finals in two individual races and two relays. (Photos courtesy of the Whitmore Lake athletic department.)