Records Fall as Marquette Rises Again

By John Vrancic
Special for

May 31, 2015

KINGSFORD — Marquette junior Lindsey Rudden had a hand in three record-setting performances Saturday, helping the Redettes earn their fifth consecutive Upper Peninsula Division 1 track title with 154 points.

Second-place Calumet scored 71, and third-place Sault Ste. Marie had 67. 

Rudden set a U.P. and school record in the 800-meter run at two minutes, 13.94 seconds and helped the Redettes establish U.P. records in the 1,600 relay (4:00.15) and 3,200 relay (9:30.25). She also won the open 1,600 (4:56.31) on this partly sunny, breezy and cool day.

“The wind made it hard on the backstretch,” she said. “It was hard physically, but most of it’s mental. I just wanted to get under five minutes in the 1600. I was trying to pace myself for the entire meet.”

These were the third straight 800 and 1,600 titles for Rudden. 

Junior Holly Blowers, who transferred from Manistique last summer, led off both record-setting relays.

“It’s such a special feeling to be part of the U.P. Finals,” said Blowers, who captured the 800 and 1,600 titles in Division 2 a year ago. “This really opened my eyes after not being able to run cross country last fall. The atmosphere is so powerful. We’re all best friends. Being able to achieve this together makes it so special. You can never take high school sports for granted.” 

Also part of those relays were the Huebner sisters. Shayla, a senior, won the 400 (58.71) and took third in the 200 (26.64). Amber, a sophomore, won the 3,200 (11:42.71) and placed third in the 400 (1:00.5).

Blowers added a second in the 800 (2:22.54) and third in the 1,600 (5:23.74). 

“We scored points all the way across the board,” said Marquette coach John Peterson. “In the U.P. Finals, you never know what’s going to happen. We had a lot of good efforts by a lot of kids. The girls have worked real hard all year. This is probably the most balanced team I’ve had.”

Sophomore Hannah Detmers also provided a first in the 300 hurdles for the Redettes, who gained at least a share of the U.P. title eight of the past nine years. She was clocked at 47.57, edging Escanaba junior Sunny Martineau on a lean. 

“I just went out real hard,” said Detmers, who was nearly overcome with emotion after her victory. “I’ve been working real hard and tried to mentally prepare myself. Sunny has done an amazing job all year. We’ve gone back and forth both years and she had beaten me all of this year. She has been my number one competition both years. This is an amazing boost for me. This was definitely my best race.”

Martineau won 100 hurdles (16.19) and helped the Eskymos win the 800 relay. 

“My whole family is here to cheer me on, and the weather’s nice,” said Martineau. “My start wasn’t real good, but I caught up in the middle of the race. It took a lot of determination and faith, but I also had a lot of supporters.

“Our handoffs went real well in the 800 relay. Marquette usually takes first, but today they took fifth. We were really surprised by that. We were very pumped up for that relay.” 

Calumet senior Chelsea Jacques had a hand in four firsts, taking long jump with a personal-best leap of 16-6, retaining her titles in the 100 (12.69) and 200 (26.23) and anchoring the winning 400 relay, which nipped Marquette at the wire.

“This is bittersweet now that track is over,” Jacques said. “A few people have been helping me in long jump, and I decided to take a more aggressive approach. This being my first year in long jump, I’m finally getting the hang of it, and today I hit the board well. 

“I thought my start in the 100 was better than it had been and I probably had one of my best ones in the 200. This feels great. I was kind of worried that maybe it wouldn’t go well.”

Marquette’s Izzie Peterson was runner-up in the 100 (13.0) and 200 (26.62).

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Marquette's Hannah Detmers (left) edge' Escanaba's Sunny Martineau during the U.P. Division 1 300 hurdles final. (Middle) Calumet's Chelsea Jacques leads the field toward the finish during one of her two championship sprints. (Photos courtesy of Cara Kamps.)

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

By Paul Costanzo
Special for

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.)