Preview: Stars Say Good-Bye, Others Just Getting Started
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
June 4, 2021
The Upper Peninsula track & field community will say good-bye to some memorable standouts during Saturday’s Finals at Kingsford High School – but also welcome the start of what should be some dynamite championship runs over the next four years.
Six past individual champions will be concluding their careers, including UPD1 Finals shot put record holder Emily McLean of Sault Ste. Marie. But many will be watching intently as well as freshman favorites like Lola Korpi of Ishpeming and Danica Shamion of West Iron County make their debuts.
Events begin at 10 a.m. (EDT) and tickets to attend can be purchased online only at GoFan. The meets also will be broadcast on MHSAA.tv and viewable with subscription.
Below is a glance at team contenders and individuals to watch in all three divisions.
Top Regional scores: Houghton 69, Marquette 57, Sault Ste. Marie 51.
Team forecast: Marquette edged Sault Ste. Marie at their Regional and will be looking to add a second-straight Finals championship and 11th over the last 13 seasons. Houghton could be in for a historic finish as well as it has posted only one top-two Finals team placing, coming in as Class C runner-up in 1982. The story is similar for Sault Ste. Marie, which is seeking its first Finals title in this sport since 2001 and last finished among the top two in 2011. Marquette has the top seeds in seven events, but Menominee is right there with five top seeds and Sault Ste. Marie has the depth to match Marquette.
Emily McLean, Sault Ste. Marie: The senior thrower is seeded first both in the shot put (45-4) and discus (112-11) and set the UPD1 Finals record in the shot put of 39-2 as a sophomore. She also won that throw as a freshman in 2018.
Ingrid Seagren, Houghton: The Gremlins junior is seeded first in the 3,200 (12:28.29) by 16 seconds and second in the 1,600 after placing in both as a freshman in 2019. She finished third in UPD1 cross country in the fall (in a race won by teammate Paige Sleeman, who is seeded first this weekend in the 800 and third in the 1,600).
Baux Truckey, Marquette: She could be climbing the podium four times in her first Finals. The sophomore is seeded first in the 100 (13.4) and 200 (27.6) and is part of the top-seeded 400 and 800 relays detailed below.
Makenzie Wellner, Menominee: The Maroons’ senior standout also is lined up for four championships as the top seed in the 100 hurdles (16.5), 300 (47.3) and long jump (16-6) and as part of the top-seeded 1,600 relay (4:12.89). She won the 100 hurdles as both a freshman and sophomore.
Marquette 400 and 800 relays: Both could make a run at meet records. Truckey anchors a 400 relay with juniors Ava Jones and Maria Millado and sophomore Julia Ott that ran 51.48 at the Regional – and the UPD1 Finals record is 51.22. She anchors Jones, Millado and senior Clarissa Remillard on an 800 relay that ran 1:49.87 at the Regional – with the UPD1 Finals record in that race 1:46.34.
Top Regional scores: West Iron County 81, Ishpeming 59½, St. Ignace 50.
Team forecast: St. Ignace won the last three Division 2 championships before COVID-19 struck last spring, and the Saints this weekend also will be seeking their 10th title over the last 12 seasons (with the 2013 championship coming in UPD3). West Iron county was the champ in 2013 and runner-up in 2014 and 2015, and Ishpeming also is regularly in the mix with back-to-back titles in 2015 and 2016 and the runner-up finish in 2019. The Wykons enter with top seeds in seven events; the Hematites have top seeds in five. The Saints don’t have a top seed but 16 individual entries and all four relays racing.
Lola Korpi, Ishepming: The Division 2 cross country runner-up in the fall as a freshman, Korpi heads into her first Track Finals as the top seed in the 800 (2:39.5), 1,600 (5:38.89), 3,200 (12:28.12) and as part of the top-seeded 3,200 relay (11:10.35).
Rebekah Loman, Ishepming: The Hematites senior won the discus in 2019 with a toss of 104-7 and is top-seeded in that throw this weekend at 106-9. She’s also the second seed in the shot put after finishing fifth in that event as a sophomore.
Ally Schultz, St. Ignace: Now a junior, Schultz is the reigning champion in the 200 and 400. She’s seeded second in the 100, third in the 200, fourth in the 400 and will run on the second-seeded 800 relay this weekend.
Jordan & Danica Shamion, West Iron County: The Shamion sisters could take this meet by storm. Jordan, now a senior, won the 100 hurdles in 2019 and is the top seed in that race (17.6), the 300 (50.7) and shot put (32-0¼) and will also run on the top-seeded 1,600 relay (4:38.58). Danica, a freshman, also will run that relay and is top-seeded in the 100 (14.1), 200 (28.3) and 400 (1:02.2).
Top Regional scores: Stephenson 95, Rapid River 64, Pickford 63.
Team forecast: Lake Linden-Hubbell won three straight championships prior to COVID, and Stephenson could be next up as it seeks its first team title since 1993. The Eagles have 25 individual entries and all four relays running, with sophomore Daisy Grinsteiner and senior Paige Cappaert top seeds in field events. Rapid River has fewer entries but three tops seeds and two second seeds.
Camaryn Crouch, Lake Linden-Hubbell: The pole vault champion as a freshman in 2019 is second-seeded in that event and also will run on the second-seeded 400 relay, and as part of the 800 relay.
Daisy Englund, Rock Mid Peninsula: She was part of two relay champions in 2019 and earned the Division 3 cross country titles this past fall and in 2017. She’s seeded third in the 100 this weekend, first in the 800 (2:34.6), fifth in the long jump and will run on the second-seeded 800 relay.
Ashton Hord, Felch North Dickinson: The Mountaineers junior sprinter is the top seed in the 100 (13.9) and 200 (28.8), the fourth seed in the 400, and also will compete in the long jump.
Jaylyne Lindemann, Baraga: The shot put champion in 2019 as a sophomore will attempt to add another championship in that event and should contend in the discus as well.
Landry Koski, Rock Mid Peninsula: She’ll look to add to 1,600 and 3,200 championships won in 2019 as a sophomore, competing this weekend in the 400, 1,600 and as the third seed in the 3,200, and she’ll also run on the second-seeded 800 relay. She was third in Division 3 cross country in the fall.
PHOTOS: (Top) Marquette's Maria Millado hands off to Clarissa Remillard in the 800 relay during the Marquette County Meet this spring. (Middle) Ishpeming’s Lola Korpi runs the 3,200 at the Marquette meet. (Phots by Cara Kamps.)
Elk Rapids' Schulte Sisters Splitting Finals Weekend Between Tennis, Track
By Tom Spencer
Special for MHSAA.com
June 2, 2023
Today began with a bye for Elk Rapids’ Jaida and Brynne Schulte as the Elks returned to the Lower Peninsula Division 4 Girls Tennis Finals in Kalamazoo.
They’re planning to say bye to their tennis teammates, though, when the first day of competition is over. The Elks will have to advance to Saturday without them.
That goodbye is just fine with tennis coach Keith Schulte. And, it will be more than fine with the Elk Rapids track & field team – which will be happy to say hello to the sister pair as they head to their LPD3 Finals in Kent City.
Regardless of how they fare today, the Schulte sisters will run Saturday.
Coach Schulte, who teaches strength and conditioning at Elk Rapids, is also the father of Jaida and Brynne. Today’s he’s beaming with pride, and not just for his tennis team’s success. He’s proud of all the student-athletes and their successes this spring, including the girls soccer team moving on to Regionals with a 2-0 win Thursday over Boyne City.
And while all this is going on, he should have a moment or two to just be Dad. Jaida and Brynne teamed up to win the No. 2 doubles title at their Regional as the Elks tied for first place with Traverse City St. Francis two weeks ago. Then the Schulte girls captured first place in the Regional track meet to qualify for Saturday’s Finals. Brynne won the 1,600 and 3,200, and Jaida’s 3,200 relay team took first to move on.
Coach Schulte hasn’t had much time to pause and soak in the moment of his daughters’ qualifying for two Finals competitions during the same season.
“I didn’t think much of it until now,” the fourth-year coach said. “I’ve always just challenged my kids to do something difficult and not be scared to fail.
“They’ve just kind of found the balance on making this stuff happen,” he continued. “It is a pretty cool opportunity if you can go to two state championships.”
Getting to today’s Tennis Finals is a story full of success. The Elks’ first year under Schulte was halted after a week of practice due to the pandemic. The second year saw the team looking at a season with just nine potential players, but recruitment efforts resulted in the 2021 Elks managing to qualify for the Finals for the first time in their history.
Elk Rapids went on to win the Regional championship in 2022. And then, after graduating six athletes, the Elks were able to repeat this spring with a valiant effort resulting in the co-championship with their conference rival St. Francis.
Dual-sport standouts, while rare, aren’t entirely unheard of – especially at the state’s smaller schools where athletes frequently are needed to fill rosters in multiple sports during the same season. In fact, the Schultes aren’t even alone on their tennis team – sisters Ryleigh and Haleigh Yocum also are playing doubles today but softball on Saturday.
The Yocums won the Regional title at No. 2 doubles and also are slated to be the Elks’ first two batters as they take on Mancelona as one of the favorites to win a Division 3 District title on the softball diamond.
“I do feel bad for them – it’s states,” said 14-year veteran softball coach Erin Merchant. “I do want them to have that opportunity.
“I hope they go far,” she continued. “But then deep down, I’m like, ‘We need them Saturday.’”
Tim Nance and Jesse Way are in their first year co-coaching the boys and girls track teams at ER. They’re pleased the Schultes are prioritizing track while enjoying tennis.
“I think it is remarkable how resilient, laid back and casual the girls are about their success,” Nance said. “I would say it hasn’t compromised their talent, hard work and success.
“I think it has worked out great,” he continued. “I am selfish and I want them to myself only, but I am happy they can have two successes.”
The Elks will have Ayva Johnstone at No. 1 singles, Kelly Minidis and No. 2, Morgan Bergquist at No. 3 and Jasmine King at No. 4 this weekend. They also will have No. 1 doubles Chloe Taylor and Caroline Best and No. 4 doubles Tessa Nico and Portia Beebe, in addition to the Yokums and Schultes.
Jaida Schulte is a junior. She’s one of the recruits who joined to help the Elks get to their first Tennis Finals in 2021. Bergquist and Beebe were recruits in 2022.
Tennis is the favorite sport today for those three, but track and cross country are right up there for Jaida thanks to the opportunity to run with her freshman sister Brynne.
Jaida is hoping to at least match her personal-record split of 2:36 in the 3,200 relay Saturday. But her goal was first to win all of her doubles matches Friday and see the tennis team finish top-five in its division.
“Brynne loves track, and I love the challenge of running,” Jaida said. “I don’t think I would have the experience of running track or cross country without Brynne.”
Coaches saw very little disruption, if any, with their track, softball and tennis teams this spring with the Yocums and Schultes dual-sporting. The Schultes were able to get track and tennis practice or competition most every day.
“I prioritized track,” Brynne said. “I also got a lot of hitting time in for tennis.
“I would go to track practice first, and as soon as I would be done I would run over to the tennis courts and hit with my sister for a half an hour before going home,” she continued. “It has been worth it.”
Tom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.
PHOTOS (Top) Elk Rapids sisters Brynne (left) and Jaida Schulte have teamed up at No. 3 doubles for the tennis team this season. (Middle) Brynne Schulte sets to start a track relay. (Below) The Schultes helped the Elks to their first two Regional titles in tennis, including their second straight this spring. (Photos courtesy of Jaclyn Schulte.)