Petoskey Goes Distance Again for 1st Track Finals Win

June 6, 2021

ZEELAND – Petoskey went the distance again Saturday at the Lower Peninsula Division 2 Girls Track & Field Finals.

After claiming the Division 2 cross country championship in the fall, with senior Emma Squires the individual race winner, the Northmen were bolstered by Squires again in winning their first Finals title on the track.

Squires won the 800 (2:14) and 1,600 (4:55.05), finished second in the 3,200 and anchored the winning 3,200 relay (9:27.33) at Zeeland, which added up to 38 of Petoskey’s total 48 points. Parma Western was second with 29.

The Northmen’s only other top-two Finals finish had come in 1992, when they finished Class B runners-up.

“It definitely was a really hot, windy day, definitely not the best conditions, but we just had to gut through it,” Squires said. “It was definitely the hardest race and meet ever this season.

Allegan track“The past two weeks definitely we’ve all been stressing about it. But we tried to sleep well and eat well and train well, and it definitely worked out well. We all peaked at the right time.”

Squires was joined the on the 3,200 relay by senior Sarah Liederbach and juniors Noel Vanderwall and Caroline Farley. Vanderwall also joined Squires finishing fourth in the 1,600 and sixth in the 3,200, and Farley was right there with a seventh in the 3,200 as well.

“The distance girls won the state championship in cross country, and that’s where all of our points came from today,” Petoskey coach Karen Starkey said. “Throughout the year they worked hard, and we had some not-so-good weather, but everybody just worked together and it was positive. … They have a lot of guts, desire, and they’re a good group of girls and we’re going to miss them.

“I was pretty confident they would perform (Saturday) as they did all season long. It’s unusual to have goose bumps on an 88-degree day. And that happened several times today.”

Bridgeport junior Chaniya Madison was among those who powered through as well, as she won the 100 (12.36) and 200 (25.96) to score 20 of third-place Bridgeport’s 26 points. She previously had won the 100 as a freshman in 2019. Allegan senior Hannah Antkoviak was another double champ, claiming the titles in the 100 hurdles (14.94) and 300 (44.69).

Bridgeport trackBig Rapids’ senior Erika Beistle also gave a two-title good-bye to her high school career with a 20-foot win in the discus (147-5) while claiming the shot put championship (42-10) as well.

Belding freshman Brook Simpson, meanwhile, debuted by setting the LPD2 meet record in the high jump at 5-10, besting the 5-9 jumps by Sara Jane Baker of Mattawan in 2001 and Christine Krellwitz of Big Rapids in 2004.

Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood senior Kaya Freeman won the long jump (17-4), and Grand Rapids West Catholic senior Katie Clifford won the pole vault (12-0). Simpson also finished second in the 400 to Marysville junior Reese Powers, who crossed first in that race in 57.71 seconds. Linden won the 400 relay (50.36), Hudsonville Unity Christian won the 800 relay (1:47.14) and Dearborn Divine Child won the 1,600 relay (4:04.32).

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Petoskey’s Emma Squires outpaces the field during one of her championship runs Saturday at Zeeland. (Middle) Allegan’s Hannah Antkoviak, middle, works to stay just ahead of Cranbrook’s Kaya Freeman (left) and Stevensville Lakeshore’s Lynea Slayback. (Below) Bridgeport’s Chaniya Madison powers through the final strides of one of her sprint victories. (Photos by Dave McCauley/

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

By Jason Juno
Special for

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/