Saints Surge to 3rd Straight Finals Win

By John Vrancic
Special for

June 2, 2019

KINGSFORD – The St. Ignace girls achieved a three-peat in convincing fashion here Saturday, taking their third consecutive Upper Peninsula Division 2 track title with 130 points.

They were followed by Ishpeming with 61 and Bark River-Harris at 54.

St. Ignace grabbed seven firsts, including a trio by Libby Becker.

The senior distance ace captured the 800-meter run in two minutes, 23.1 seconds; 1,600 (5:20.63) and 3,200 (12:13.88).

"It was really hot," said Becker, who plans to run track and cross country at Michigan State in 2019-20. "The heat kind of got to me. My main goal was just to win the 3,200. I was pretty happy with my 800 and 1,600. Madeleine (Peramaki) really helped me with those."

Peramaki, a senior from Munising and Cedarville (Ohio) University recruit, was runner-up in the 800 (2:27.32) and 1,600 (5:40.86).

St. Ignace freshman Ally Schultz captured the 200 (27.05) and 400 (1:02.24) and placed second in the 100 (13;18).
"I usually run a negative (200) split in the 400, but today I got a positive split," said Schultz. "Often you're feeling good, then you get to the last 100 and your legs start to tighten up. You just have to push through it."

Junior Heather Lamb, who was battling hip problems, provided the Saints with a first in long jump at 15 feet, 10½ inches, and freshman Brooke Brandstrom won high jump (5-1).

"Libby is amazing in all her events," said Saints' coach Trudy Olsen. "Ally also had an amazing day. Heather did well for having hip problems, and Sarah Lamb had a real good day."

Although this wasn't Heather's longest jump, she was happy with the victory.

"My PR (personal record) is 16-5¾," she said. "My sister helped me count my steps. I tried to get as far as I could on my first jump and make adjustments when needed. I hope to break the school record (17-7½), but I have a ways to go. I have to practice in the offseason."

Gwinn senior Emily Curtice took the 100 (12.95) and anchored the Modeltowners to a U.P. Finals record in the 400 relay at 52.34, shaving two hundredths of a second off the previous best by Manistique run in 2010.

Junior teammate Marissa Delmont added a first in shot put (37-0).

Sophomore Rebekah Loman provided Ishpeming with its lone first, in discus (104-7).

BR-H senior Hailee Demers won the 300 hurdles (47.66) and anchored the winning 800 relay (1:54.82).

"We practiced a lot on handoffs," she said. "This was a perfect time to have good handoffs. This was one of our better times."

Manistique senior Ashley McDonald retained her pole vault title (7-6) and helped the Emeralds establish a school record in the 1,600 relay (4:25.67) and take the 3,200 relay (10:52.86).

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) St. Ignace’s Libby Becker checks the clock as she approaches the finish line in the 800 on Saturday. (Middle) The Saints’ Ally Schultz, far left, wins the 200. (Photos by Cara Kamps.)

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. 

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.

Norway's Taylor Adams wins the 800. 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).

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. (Photos by Cara Kamps/