Preview: Historic Collection of Contenders Setting Bar High for UP Girls Finals

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

May 31, 2024

Lineups filled with past champions and emerging stars in all three divisions could make Saturday’s Upper Peninsula Girls Track & Field Finals an event we recall for years to come.

Headlining the day, Lake Linden-Hubbell junior Emily Jokela will attempt to win four individual events for the second straight season and bring her career Finals title total to 11, while fans will watch one last time as nine-time individual event winners Danica Shamion from West Iron County and Lola Korpi from Ishpeming complete their careers.

All three divisions will again be contested at Kingsford High School, with preliminaries leading off the day at 9 a.m. local (Central) time. Tickets cost $11 and are available digitally only via GoFan. will live-stream the meets beginning at 9 a.m. (CDT)/10 a.m. (EDT), viewable with subscription. Check out the Girls Track & Field page for meet information and lists of all qualifiers. Those described as "seeded" below have received those seeds based on Regional performances.

Following is a glance at team contenders and individuals to watch in all three divisions:

Division 1

Team forecast: After Marquette dominated most of the last decade, the Sentinels and Negaunee have taken turns winning Division 1 and finishing runner-up most of the last six seasons. Marquette was first last year by 34 points ahead of the Miners. But Gladstone and Sault Ste. Marie have several high seeds heading into Saturday – and a team title won by either would be the first not claimed by Marquette or Negaunee since Escanaba shared the 2007 championship.

Ella Fure, Marquette sophomore: She made her Finals debut last season by winning the 3,200 and finishing third in the 800, and she’ll run those two races and also is seeded first in the 1,600 (5:37.84).

Danielle Lund, Manistique senior: She’s seeded first in both discus (101-11) and shot put (35-8) and will run on two relays after winning shot put and finishing third in discus, and running on the winning 400 relay and runner-up 1,600 relay in Division 2 a year ago. She also won Division 2 shot put as a sophomore.

Lexi Olson, Ishpeming Westwood junior: The reigning champion in the pole vault will again compete in that event and the high jump, and also run on the 800 relay.

Madison Pekrul, Negaunee junior: After winning the 100 hurdles and finishing second in the 300 as a freshman, she flipped those results with a 300 title and 100 hurdles runner-up finish last spring. She’s seeded second in the 300 (49.43), third in the 100 hurdles (17:37) and will run on the 1,600 relay.

Tessa Rautiola, Houghton sophomore: Her Finals debut in 2023 included championships in the 1,600 and 3,200 relay and a third place in the 3,200 run, and she’s slated to run all three events again with the top seed in the 3,200 (12:28.02) and second in the 1,600 (5:38.85).

Faith Spiroff, Ishpeming Westwood junior: She’s won the high jump the last two seasons and also won long jump and finished fifth in the 100 as a sophomore. She’s top-seeded in the long jump (17-1¾) and high jump (5-4) and will also run the 100 and 800 relay.

Jacie Tuljus, Gladstone junior: She’s seeded first in the 100 (12.73), 200 (27.06) and 400 (1:02.33) and as part of the 400 relay (51.50) after finishing third in the 100 and 200 as a sophomore.

Division 2

Team forecast: Bark River-Harris has won the last two championships, last year 13 points ahead of runner-up Ishpeming. The Broncos will again turn to a pair of standouts this weekend among several others. But the Hematites again feature a big points scorer in the distance races in Lola Korpi, and West Iron County boasts the same potential in the sprints with Danica Shamion – which could make for another tight race at the top.

Mya Hemmer, Ishpeming sophomore: Her Finals debut last season included a championship in the long jump and runner-up finish in the shot put, and she’ll compete in those two plus long jump and also run on the 800 relay.

Mckenzie Hoffmeyer, Bark River-Harris senior: After winning long jump as a freshman and sophomore, she finished second to Hemmer in that event last spring but was also third in the 100, second in the 200 and added a second relay championship to her career total. She’s seeded first this weekend in the 100 (13.19), 200 (26.83) and long jump (13.19) and will run on the top-seeded 800 relay (1:52.43).

Lola Korpi, Ishpeming senior: Regardless of what happens Saturday, she’ll graduate as one of the most accomplished distance runners in U.P. Finals history after already winning the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 her first three years and running on winning relays two of those seasons. She enters this time as the second seed in the 800 (2:33.18), top seed in the 1,600 (5:40.23) and 3,200 (12:28.98) and running on the top-seeded 3,200 relay (11:24.83).

Danica Shamion, West Iron County senior: Shamion is to sprints what Korpi is to distance, having won the 100, 200 and 400 all of her first three seasons and setting the UPD2 Finals records in the 200 and 400. She enters Saturday seeded fourth in the 100, fifth in the 200, but first in the 400 (59.95) and also fifth in the high jump after finishing runner-up in that field event a year ago.

Lauren Zawada, Bark River-Harris senior: Another major scorer for the reigning team champ, Zawada has been on winning relays the last two years – including two in 2023 when she also was second in the 300 hurdles and fifth in the high jump. She’s top-seeded in the high jump (4-10), 100 hurdles (17.61), 300 hurdles (50.76) and will run on the top-seeded 1,600 relay (4:25.07).

Division 3

Team forecast: Lake Linden-Hubbell and Stephenson shared the championship last season, breaking Ontonagon’s two-year hold on the title. Four-event winner Emily Jokela is back for Lake Linden-Hubbell after scoring 40 of her team’s 72 points a year ago, but the standings also could see some shifting with St. Ignace moving in from Division 2 and Newberry showing several high-seeded qualifiers across the meet.

Kaylen Clark, Newberry senior: After running to the 1,600 and 3,200 championships last season, and as part of second and fourth-place relays, she’s top-seeded in the 3,200 (12:53.95) and as part of the 3,200 relay (10:23.81), third-seeded in the 800 and fourth-seeded in the 1,600.

Abi Codere, Lake Linden-Hubbell senior: She won the 100 hurdles for the third time last season, and also was part of the winning 400 relay and runner-up in pole vault. She’ll run on 400 and 800 relays Saturday and is top-seeded in the pole vault (9-8).

Emily Jokela, Lake Linden-Hubbell junior: After winning the 100, 200, 400 and 300 hurdles last season – and the 200, 400 and 300 hurdles as a freshman in 2022 – Jokela is top-seeded in the 100 (13.35), 400 (1:00.75) and 300 hurdles (48.81) and third-seeded in the 200 (27.29).

Nora Keranen, Dollar Bay junior: Last year’s long jump champion will compete in that event plus high jump, pole vault and as part of the 400 relay.

Mariska Laurila, Carney-Nadeau junior: She won discus, was second in shot put and seventh in long jump as a sophomore, and returns as the top seed in the shot put (33-7) and competing in the shot put, long jump and this time as part of the 400 relay as well.

Avery Visnaw, St. Ignace sophomore: She made her Finals debut last season with the pole vault championship, a runner-up finish in the 100 hurdles, fifth place in the 300 and as part of the runner-up 400 relay in Division 2. This weekend she’s third-seeded in pole vault, fourth-seeded in 300 hurdles and fifth-seeded in 100 hurdles, and running on the top-seeded 400 relay (54.56).

PHOTO Ishpeming Westwood's Faith Spiroff competes on the way to winning the high jump at the Mid-Peninsula Conference championship meet May 22. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)

Performance of the Week: Onsted's Emmry Ross

June 6, 2024

Emmry Ross headshotEmmry Ross ♦ Onsted
Junior ♦ Track & Field

Ross became just the third girl in Lower Peninsula history – and one of eight statewide – to win four individual events at an MHSAA Track & Field Finals, as she finished first in the 400 (56.25), 800 (2:10.74), 1,600 (4:57.81) and 3,200 (10:55.27) on Saturday at the LP Division 3 championship meet at Kent City. She was the only member of her team to qualify for the Finals, but her 40 points earned in those races placed Onsted second in the team standings.

Her 400 time was a season-best, and her 800 and 3,200 times were personal records – which is saying even more considering she also won the 400 and 800 as a sophomore and the 400 (and ran on the winning 1,600 relay) as a freshman in 2022. Ross also runs cross country and finished fifth at the LPD3 Final this past fall.

@mhsaasports 🏃‍♀️‍➡️POW: Emmry Ross #trackandfield #onsted #letsgo #champion #running #part1 #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

@mhsaasports 🏃‍♀️‍➡️POW: Emmry Ross #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #nerdgummyclusters #culvers #austinandally #friends #emoji #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

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Past 2023-24 Honorees

May 31: Isaac Sturgess, Flint Powers Catholic baseball - Report
May 30:
Abby Russell, Allen Park track & field - Report 
May 23:
Isabel Thelen, St. Johns tennis - Report
May 16:
Ally Katinas, Novi lacrosse - Report
May 9:
Peter Roehl, Rochester Adams golf - Report
May 2:
Lilah Smith, Richland Gull Lake soccer - Report
April 25:
Mason Mayne, Lawton track & field - Report
April 18:
Alli Wright, Jenison softball - Report
April 11:
Chloe Wishart, Trenton soccer - Report
March 28:
Jenna Maki, Ishpeming basketball - Report
March 22:
Jaremiah Palmer, Niles Brandywine basketball - Report
March 15:
Leah Hodge, North Farmington gymnastics - Report
March 8:
Darius Marines, Detroit Catholic Central wrestling - Report
March 1:
Rylee Smith, Zeeland West bowling - Report
Feb. 22:
Caleb Lewandowski, Traverse City West skiing - Report
Feb. 15:
Jadin Mix, Onaway basketball - Report
Feb. 8:
Onalee Wallis, Cadillac skiing - Report
Feb. 1:
Abbey DeGraw, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek competitive cheer - Report
Jan. 25:
Ewan Todd, Riverview swimming - Report
Jan. 18:
Ashley Weller, Jackson Northwest basketball - Report
Jan. 11:
Michael Baldwin, Saginaw Arthur Hill wrestling - Report
Dec. 15:
Jena Fijolek, Fenton bowling - Report
Dec. 8:
Sophia Wagner, Escanaba gymnastics - Report
Dec. 1:
Isaiah Marshall, Southfield Arts & Technology football - Report
Nov. 24:
Sarah Bradley, Clarkston Everest Collegiate volleyball - Report
Nov. 17:
Kalieb Osborne, Waterford Mott football - Report
Nov. 10:
Tekalegn Vlasma, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Colton Kinnie, Birmingham Seaholm football - Report
Oct. 27:
Lauren Timpf, Macomb Lutheran North golf - Report
Oct. 20:
Alena Li, Okemos golf - Report
Oct. 13:
Seth Norder, Grand Haven cross country - Report
Oct. 5:
Paige Anderson, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer golf - Report
Sept. 29:
MacKenzie Bisballe, Lake City volleyball - Report
Sept. 22:
Jhace Massey, Gladwin football - Report
Sept. 15:
Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8:
Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1:
Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report

(Photo by Jamie McNinch/