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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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.)