Ontonagon's Team Effort Nets 3 Relay Wins, 3rd Team Title in 6 Seasons

By John Vrancic
Special for MHSAA.com

June 5, 2022

KINGSFORD — The Ontonagon girls withstood the challenge of retaining the Upper Peninsula Division 3 track & field title here Saturday, winning for the second straight year with 74 points.

Stephenson edged Munising 62-60 for the runner-up trophy.

“When you come to the Finals, everybody can do something special,” said Ontonagon coach Brian Amos. “This is our third title in six years. We have a bunch of good kids who do what’s asked of them. We’re super proud of the girls. That’s a team effort.”

The Gladiators won the 400-meter relay in 52.84 seconds, 800 (1:52.68) and 1,600 (4:28.41) on a sunny and warm day.

“We’re pretty excited right now,” said senior Kiirsa Kolpack, who anchored the 400 relay. “Our handoffs and chemistry are real good. Being in sync with each other makes a big difference. We had a breeze kind of drifting on the south end of the field, which kind of cooled us off a little.”

Ontonagon’s Lilly McIntyre won the 100-meter dash in 13.7 seconds, edging Dollar Bay’s Ashlea Datto by one tenth of a second.

Kolpack was runner-up in the 100 hurdles (17.36), and Violet Amos placed second in the 400 (1:01.58).

Stephenson’s Jada Kuntze took high jump at 4 feet, 10 inches, and second in the 800 (2:34.99), and Daisy Grinsteiner added a first in pole vault (8-0).

Rock Mid Peninsula track“This is our first U.P. trophy since 1993,” said Stephenson coach Kate Kuntze. “This is a young team, and these girls like winning. Hopefully, we can take the next step next year. We have work to do.”

Munising opened with a victory in the 3,200 relay (11:23.25), and Monique Brisson took second in the 3,200 (13:15.72).

Purdue Northwest recruit and Rock Mid Peninsula senior Landry Koski gained her third straight 1,600 title in a season-best 5:31.74 and added firsts in the 800 (2:32.19) and 3,200 (12:52.73).

“The weather was nice all day, then it got hot in the 3,200,” she said. “The wind definitely swirled throughout the day – although, I’m real happy with how today turned out. The 400 could have been a little better. That’s not really my race, but it’s good speedwork. I’ll take the three firsts any day, and my times were real good. This is a good stepping stone for collegiate running. Running is such a mind game. It can be so stressful.”

Lake Linden-Hubbell freshman Emily Jokela won the 400 in a school-record 1:00.45 and 300 hurdles (47.78), and placed third in the 100 (13.78).

Teammate Abi Codere added a first in the 100 hurdles (17.19) and second in pole vault (8-0).

Brimley’s Grace Hill took shot put (34-10) and second in disc (101-1).

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Ontonagon's Alli Bobula approaches the finish line first in the 800 relay Saturday. Other members of the winning team were Lilly McIntrye, Kiirsa Kolpack, and Senia Kolpack. (Middle) Rock Mid-Peninsula's Landry Koski celebrates crossing the finish line just ahead of Rudyard's Tristin Smith in the 1,600. (Click for more from Cara Kamps/Run Michigan.)

Lake Linden-Hubbell, Stephenson Share in UPD3; Jokela Joins Elite Club

By Jason Juno
Special for MHSAA.com

June 4, 2023

KINGSFORD – Lake Linden-Hubbell got to the top with first-place power. Stephenson won only two events. 

But there are multiple ways to win an MHSAA Finals championship in track & field. And the Lakes and Eagles tied for the Upper Peninsula Division 3 girls title Saturday. 

Norway's Taylor Adams wins the 800. Lake Linden-Hubbell got a little assist from two-time reigning champion Ontonagon in the final event, the 1,600 relay. The Lakes led in the standings by eight points, but they didn’t have a 1,600-meter relay team. Stephenson could have won the team title with a win in that event, but Ontonagon’s relay team proved solid again and forced the Eagles to settle for the runner-up spot in the race and the eight points that come with it.

The Lakes last won team Finals titles during a three-year run from 2017-19. For Stephenson, it had been since 1993 when the team competed in Class C. The Eagles were runners-up last year.

Lake Linden-Hubbell sophomore Emily Jokela entered with the fastest Regional times in all four of her events, and she won all four of them Saturday – the 100, 200, 400 and 300 hurdles. She became just the sixth female to win four individual events at an MHSAA Finals.

The only one she didn’t win a title in last year was the 100 dash; she has that now. The only school record she didn’t have going into Saturday was in the 200; she has that now as well. She broke it by one tenth of a second.

“It feels great,” Jokela said. “I was very worried about running today because it was so hot.”

Her 300 hurdles time of 45.63 seconds set a UPD3 Finals record. Ontonagon’s Lori Wardynski had the record before (47.27).

Stephenson's Jada Kuntze crosses the finish line first in the 3,200 relay.Teammate Abi Codere repeated in the 100 hurdles, and their 400 relay team (Codere, Rebecca Lyons, Isabella Tampas and Cleo Milkey) also won.

Stephenson’s wins came in the 3,200 relay (Faith Cappaert, Joelle Beaudo, Kayela Putnam and Jada Kuntze) and the long jump (Sarah Labs).

Ontonagon also won the 800 relay (Lilly McIntyre, Alli Bobula, Kylee Uotila and Makennah Uotila).

“I’m sad we didn’t get a title this year, but the past two back-to-back U.P. titles we had made my entire career,” senior Makennah Uotila said. “I’ve enjoyed it so much. The relays were a big part of our U.P.  titles, so to still have strong relays is very important.”

Newberry’s Kaylen Clark won the 1,600 and 3,200 runs. She was the runner-up at the UPD3 cross country meet in the fall and in both events at the UPD2 track meet last season. Taylor Adams of Norway won the 800.

In the field, Mariska Laurila of Carney-Nadeau was the champion in the discus, Rudyard’s Alicia Cheney won the high jump, Dollar Bay’s Nora Keranen won the pole vault after winning long jump in 2022, and Brimley’s Grace Hill repeated in the shot put.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Lake Linden-Hubbell's Emily Jokela, second from right, wins the 400 on Saturday. (Middle) Norway's Taylor Adams wins the 800. (Below) Stephenson's Jada Kuntze crosses the finish line first in the 3,200 relay. (Photos by Cara Kamps/RunMichigan.com.)