Newberry Claims Close Race in UPD3

By John Vrancic
Special for

May 31, 2015

KINGSFORD — Prior to Saturday, the Newberry girls track program had gone 24 years without an Upper Peninsula championship.

The Indians, competing in Class C at that time, ended that drought by edging Brimley 64-58 for their first Division 3 title. Ontonagon and Lake Linden-Hubbell tied for third with 48 points apiece.

Newberry junior Natalie Beaulieu won the 800-meter run in a school-record 2 minutes, 26.63 seconds and the 1,600 (5:23.45), and was runner-up in the 3,200 (12:09.09).

“I gave it my all in the 800 and 1,600,” said Beaulieu, who won the U.P. Division 2 title in the 3,200 last year. “I really focused on those races. When I heard that I had a 1:10 in the first lap of the 800, I felt I had a chance. I was really tired in the 3,200. It still went okay, but I didn’t have much left. I’m happy overall.”

Newberry’s Taylor Bryant won the 100 in 13.6 seconds, edging Stephenson’s Haley Truitt by one hundredth of a second, and placed fourth in the 300 hurdles (50.04). Bridget Stoetzer took second in the 400 (1:03.42) and fifth in the 800 (2:34.67).

Cedarville sophomore Emma Bohn took first in the 3,200 in a U.P. and school-record 11:49.16, topping the previous U.P. meet record (11:51.06), set by Erica Johnson of North Dickinson in 2011.

“My goal was to stay with Natalie as long as I could (in the 3,200),” said Bohn. “The pace was pretty good for me, and I passed her in the sixth lap. I thought about passing her a few times before that, but I wasn’t sure it would work out. You try to pace yourself for the whole meet, although that can be a pretty big challenge. I felt good today and ended up running two of my best times. The weather was perfect.”

Bohn placed second in the 1,600 (5:30.3) and third in the 800 (2:32.11).

Brimley’s runner-up finish was unexpected, according to coach Joyel Hyrvainen.

“This is a nice surprise for us, especially after placing extremely low at the (Superior) Dome at the beginning of the season,” she said. “Our weight events gave us some big points, and our hurdler (Kerri Chartrand) is a big part of our sprint relays. I’m very proud of the effort our girls gave today.”

Brimley junior Alyssa Hyrvaninen captured shot put at 35 feet, six inches and discus with a season-best toss of 104-8. Teammate Anne Archambeau placed second in shot (35-4) and third in disc (97-8).

“I just tried to stay relaxed,” said Alyssa. “I was pretty nervous before the meet. I just prayed about it and calmed down. I had good speed in the circle today. I’m more motivated now. I’m going to work hard at it all summer. This was one of the colder meets this year. I’m pleased with my distances, considering.”

Chartrand was runner-up in the 300 hurdles (48.77) and helped the Bays place third in the 400 relay.

Ontonagon junior Paige Blake won the 400 in a personal-best 1:03.1 and long jump (14-11¾), took fourth in the 200 (28.32) and fifth in the 100 (13.68). Classmate Lori Wardynski was runner-up in 100 hurdles (16.89) and third in the 300 (48.8).

“I wanted to get the school record in the 400,” said Blake. “I came up short today, but still have another year. Having so much competition here really helped me today. The Lake Linden girls are good competition, which really helps push me to the times I’m getting. It’s not always about yourself. I couldn’t do it without them. Having Lori here also helps. We push each other in practice. Otherwise, you’d never know what you could really do.”

Lake Linden-Hubbell’s Sarah Audette and Munising sophomore Michaela Peramaki both cleared a U.P. meet-record 10 feet, ¼ inch in pole vault, with Audette getting the victory on a tie-breaker. Their efforts topped the previous best (10-0) set by Lauren Marshall of Rapid River in 2007.

St. Ignace freshman Linnee Gustafson qualified for high jump only, but won that at 5-1.

“I cleared 5-2 last week (at the Eastern U.P. Conference meet at Pickford on May 21). Our school record is 5-2½. I’ve attempted 5-3, but it hasn’t worked out for me yet. I mostly had to keep telling myself that I can do it. I went for 5-3 again today. I was able to get over the bar, but I kept hitting it on my way down.

“I really don’t think this is different from any other meet. There’s just more competition here.” 

Bessemer’s Valerie Rowe was a double winner, taking the 100 hurdles (16.51) and 300 (48.09). She added a second in the 200 (28.1) and third in pole vault (9-0).

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Elk Rapids' Schulte Sisters Splitting Finals Weekend Between Tennis, Track

By Tom Spencer
Special for

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.

Northern Lower PeninsulaThey’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.

Brynne Schulte sets to start a track relay. 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.

he Schultes helped the Elks to their first two Regional titles in tennis, including their second straight this spring.“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 SpencerTom 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.)