Performance of the Week: Oak Park's Nonah Waldron

April 29, 2022

Oak Park trackNonah Waldron ♦ Oak Park
Track & Field ♦ Junior

Waldron has won every hurdles race she’s run for Oak Park  – and that streak likely won’t be broken any time soon. Waldron ran a season-best 42.91 seconds in the 300-meter hurdles and also won the 100 hurdles in 14.35 at Saturday’s Dexter April Showers meet. She’s the reigning Lower Peninsula Division 1 champion in both races and also has a win in the 400 meters this season.

Oak Park has won the last three LPD1 girls team championships and six of the last seven, and Waldron also ran on the runner-up 800 and fourth-place 400 relays at last season’s Finals. After high school season ended, she won the 100 hurdles at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in Oregon. Waldron tried basketball growing up and then moved into cheer, gymnastics and power tumbling before beginning in track in seventh grade.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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2021-22 Honorees

April 21: Theryn Hallock, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central soccer - Report
April 14: 
Kaitlyn Pallozzi, Farmington Hills Mercy softball - Report
April 7:
Mason Docks, Williamston basketball - Report
March 24:
Mya Petticord, Ypsilanti Arbor Prep basketball - Report
March 16:
Charley Bayer, East Grand Rapids diving - Report
March 9:
Ja'Marcus Smith, Detroit Mumford wrestling - Report
March 2:
David Schaberg, Holt bowling - Report
Feb. 24:
Adelaide McRoberts, Kingsford swimming - Report
Feb. 17:
Christopher Kavanaugh, Petoskey hockey - Report
Feb. 10:
Ira Jenkins, Whitehall wrestling - Report

Feb. 3: Emma Stewart, Salem gymnastics - Report
Jan. 28:
Tyler Ray, Pinckney swimming - Report
Jan. 21:
Elle Craven, Traverse City Central skiing - Report
Jan. 14:
Nevaeh Williams, Mount Clemens basketball - Report
Dec. 2:
Lucas Dunn, Chelsea football - Report
Nov. 25:
Riley Nugent, Plainwell swimming - Report
Nov. 18:
Harper Murray, Ann Arbor Skyline volleyball - Report
Nov. 11:
Abby VanderKooi, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian cross country - Report
Nov. 4:
Arianne Olson, Holland West Ottawa cross country - Report
Oct. 28:
Jack Guggemos, Okemos soccer - Report
Oct. 21:
Sachiv Kumar, Northville tennis - Report
Oct. 14:
Kate Brody, Grand Blanc golf - Report
Oct. 7:
Lilly Nelson, Negaunee tennis - Report
Sept. 30:
Stella Chapman, Ann Arbor Pioneer swimming - Report
Sept. 23:
Riley Hough, Hartland cross country - Report
Sept. 16:
Josie Bloom, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep volleyball - Report

PHOTO Oak Park's Nonah Waldron crosses the finish line first during a 2021 Final. (Photo by Ike Lea/Run Michigan.)

Finals Title Next Step for Versatile Swan Valley Record-Breaker Kuhn

By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com

May 22, 2024

Sydney Kuhn’s habit for smashing school records at Saginaw Swan Valley has forced the track & field program to start taking cost-cutting measures.

Bay & Thumb“We stopped changing out the records on our record board,” Swan Valley coach Dave Dawson said. “We just figured, she has another year and she’ll break it again, so we figured we’re going to save money this way.”

Kuhn, a junior, owns the school records in the 200, 400, 800 and 1,600 meters. She also has the program record in 60 meters, an indoor track event. She’s run the school’s second-fastest 300 hurdles time, and one of the top five 100-meter times. The 1,600-meter relay team she’s part of with Mackenzie Morgan, Grace Spear and Mackenzie Powell is close to setting a record, as well, and has qualified for the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 2 Finals on June 1.

“Her ninth-grade year, everybody knew, depending on what happens and her attitude, they knew she could be something special. There was potential there,” Dawson said. “Lauren Huebner, she graduated in 2016 and went to SVSU and was a two-time Division II national champion, she had eight records on the board. Sydney feeds off that. Especially now that Lauren is helping coach, she’s definitely been pivotal in this.”

Kuhn qualified for the Finals in the three events she ran at last week’s Regional: the 200, 400 and 1,600 relay. She will be the No. 1 seed in the 400, and has run the fastest time in the state regardless of division, at 55.11 seconds. She’s the No. 2 seed in the 200, where her personal best of 24.89 is the fifth-fastest time in the state this year, regardless of division. She finished third and sixth, respectively, at the Finals in the events a year ago.

“I feel good,” Kuhn said. “I’m just getting ready. It’s been a good year, it’s been going smoothly. The 400 looks pretty good, and the 200 there will be some good competition. Freshman year, I got fifth, then third (as a sophomore) in the 400, so hopefully this year is first.”

She did not run the 800 at the Regional, as it was decided it was too close in the meet order to her other events. She’s run 2:12.75 in the event, the fourth-fastest time recorded in the state this season.

That could be where she has the most potential, however, as it’s a race she had never run competitively until her sophomore season. The first time she ran it in a varsity meet, she recorded a 2:21, setting the school record.

Kuhn anchors a relay during the Tri-Valley Conference Red meet May 8 at Frankenmuth.“(Coach) Andrew Wendler put a bug in her ear, ‘If you’re running this fast in the 400, think of what your 800 would be,’” Dawson said. “She says, ‘Yeah, I’ll try it.’ So, in one of our first conference meets, she ran against a girl that’s pretty good in the 800 and we just said to follow her – stick with her and see what you can do. With 200 meters left, she just took off and broke the school record the first time she ran it.”

A year later, they tried the same thing with the 1,600. And again, Kuhn responded by running 5:12.73 in her first try, setting the school record. She’s since run 5:06.45.

“The first time I ran the 800, I ran against Mary Richmond from Frankenmuth who is really fast, and I sort of paced behind her the first 400, then the last 300 I took off. Same thing with the 1,600. I felt like staying behind her, I wasn’t really racing, so I could just go, I thought.”

Richmond is a three-time all-state finisher in both the 1,600 and the 3,200, as well as a four-time all-state cross country runner. 

With Kuhn’s instant success in every race she’s tried, the logical next question is, what about the 3,200?

“My coach mentioned that,” Kuhn said with a laugh. “But I usually just shake my head. You never know.”

There is a real question, however, about what event, or events, Kuhn is best suited for moving forward. She said that she would like to shift some focus to the 800 for her senior year, and several college coaches who have been in contact with her have indicated that’s where she could land.

“The pattern typically is they would probably turn her into a half-miler or a miler,” Dawson said. “Some college coaches want her for the heptathlon with her hurdle experience, and she is not a stranger to the weight room. That’s the fun part about this, she tries something and it’s usually pretty fun. It’s usually a positive experience.”

Kuhn is ready for whatever is thrown at her.

“They’re mostly like 800, 1,500, those types of races,” she said. “Some of them just say whatever you like best. One coach mentioned the steeplechase – I don’t know about that. One coach did mention (heptathlon). I’d be open to whatever is best.”

While she’s taken some unofficial visits, she said she’s in no hurry to choose a college. Her focus remains on winning a Finals title at Swan Valley, and a series of times she’s set as goals for herself: 24.4, 54.9, 2:09.9, 4:59.9.

They’re all saved on her phone screen, where they’re easy to change as she reaches them. And at no cost.

“Every time I look at my phone, I see the times I want to get,” she said. “I’ve changed my screen saver a lot when I do break it.”

Paul CostanzoPaul Costanzo served as a sportswriter at The Port Huron Times Herald from 2006-15, including three years as lead sportswriter, and prior to that as sports editor at the Hillsdale Daily News from 2005-06. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron, Tuscola, Saginaw, Bay, Arenac, Midland and Gladwin counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Saginaw Swan Valley’s Sydney Kuhn runs toward the finish during the Korf/Schultz Saginaw County Invitational on May 10 at Hemlock. (Middle) Kuhn anchors a relay during the Tri-Valley Conference Red meet May 8 at Frankenmuth. (Photos by Eagle Eye Photography.)