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).
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.)
BLISSFIELD – Last fall, June Miller raced for an MHSAA cross country title at Michigan International Speedway. During the winter she played in the Division 3 Basketball Final at the Breslin Center. In the spring, she competed at the Lower Peninsula Division 3 track & field championships in Kent City.
As she embarks on her senior year at Blissfield Community Schools in southeast Michigan, Miller isn’t concerned about an encore.
“I don’t worry about topping my junior season,” she said. “I don’t feel the need to. I’ll fight for it to the best of my ability, but if I don’t make it that’s okay. There were a lot of factors that went into last year, and I can’t control all of them this year.
“I’ll leave my best out there and know that I gave it my all, and in the end that’s the true accomplishment. If it takes me that far or further, then great. If not, that’s okay.”
Miller’s remarkable run to MHSAA Finals in three sports remains even more impressive when considering she had eight goals and five assists playing defense for the Royals soccer team.
“Shows up to work, busts her tail every practice, every game,” said Blissfield girls basketball coach Ryan Gilbert. “Never have to worry about June Miller.”
Miller is as steady an athlete as they come, never getting too high or too low in pressure situations. In basketball, Gilbert said Miller never met a shot she didn’t like. Miller started all 29 games last season, leading the team in 3-pointers.
Gilbert said Miller is even-keeled.
“It takes a while to get into the ‘June Miller circle,’ but I’m almost in,” he said. “This is her senior year; this is my year. She’s very funny when you get to know her and has a brilliant mind.
“She wants to win over everything,” Gilbert said.
Miller wasn’t the fastest runner on the cross country team last fall – that spot would belong to her younger sister, Hope. June has no problem with that.
“I love running with my sister,” she said. “She’s an amazing and incredibly kind person. Her dedication to running inspires me and keeps me fighting for it. We train together sometimes and she’s the one that pushes me, and I love that.
“I always knew she’d be faster than me someday, and I couldn’t be prouder of how fast she’s become and how much she’s achieved. (People might) think I’d hold some resentment for her beating me while I’m older, but she’s lived in my shadow for years and I’m so glad she’s been able to find her place that she can dominate.”
Blissfield is eyeing a big season in cross country after winning a Regional and just missing the top 10 at the Final a year ago. The Miller sisters are a big reason for the giddiness.
“I’m ready to leave it all out there,” Miller said. “It’s my senior season, and I want to go out strong. I think the end goal for all of us is to really push it this season and improve with each race so by the time we hit Regionals we’re in the best shape physically and mentally so we can leave it all on the course to get to states again.”
Because of her work schedule this summer, Miller missed some of the team workouts but was able to get the details from her sister and went out on her own time and trained to build up her mileage in preparation for the season.
“I think the experience from last year will give us something to fight for,” she said. “It allows us to look at the season with our end goal being the state meet. It gives us a passion and something to fight for.”
Blissfield cross country coach Ryan Bills called Miller a strong competitor.
“She is fun kid,” he said. “You never know which June you’re going to get – funny, chatty June or serious, no-nonsense June. Either way she always gives it her all during competition, which is why she has seen so much success the past year.”
The four-sport athlete spent the first couple of weeks of summer refreshing her body before kicking it into high gear.
She did take some time to reflect on all the places she got to play and compete last year and is grateful to be part of a team that helped her reach those places.
“It was a unique experience,” she said. “When I’m playing basketball or running track and cross country, I’m not focused on where I am physically – instead I’m in my head focused on what I need to do.
“Once you get to someplace, you stop thinking about getting there and you move on to the next step of being there and doing what you need to there.”
Miller is one of the top students in her class. She’s currently trying to decide whether she wants to pursue playing soccer in college. She wants to major in business and minor in sustainability, eventually getting a master’s degree in architecture.
“I want to be a sustainable design architect,” she said, “who can better the world through the art of architecture.”
Miller’s future looks bright, as does the outlook for this athletic year. In all three sports for which she reached the Finals last year, the Royals have enough returning talent to make lengthy runs again.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Miller said, about four days before the first cross country event of the season. “I want to make it to all those state tournaments again, but I want to do it with my teammates because they’re the ones that make it memorable and something to remember forever.”
Doug Donnelly has served as a sports and news reporter and city editor over 25 years, writing for the Daily Chief-Union in Upper Sandusky, Ohio from 1992-1995, the Monroe Evening News from 1995-2012 and the Adrian Daily Telegram since 2013. He's also written a book on high school basketball in Monroe County and compiles record books for various schools in southeast Michigan. E-mail him at [email protected] with story ideas for Jackson, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe counties.
PHOTOS (Top) Blissfield’s June Miller (750) races during a cross country meet last fall. (Middle) Miller pulls up for a jumper during last season’s basketball postseason run. (Cross country photo by Deloris Clark-Osborne; basketball photo by Gary Sullivan.)