Saints Win Close to Finish Drive for 5

By John Vrancic
Special for

June 1, 2014

KINGSFORD — Returning to Division 2 didn’t hinder the St. Ignace girls Saturday as they were crowned Upper Peninsula track and field champions for the fifth straight year.

The Saints, who won in D-3 a year ago, edged defending champion West Iron County 116-107 for the D-2 title this time. Third-place Newberry scored 75 points.

St. Ignace senior Rachel Hetherington was a triple-winner, taking the 100-meter dash in 13.08 seconds, 200 (26.86), anchoring the winning 800 relay and placing second in the 400 (1:02.15).

“It took me a long time to get in shape for the 400,” said Hetherington. “I tend to struggle with the strategy for that race, but it definitely helps me for the sprints. West Iron County is definitely major competition. The relay victory was exciting. It was huge for us to beat them in that relay because it meant more points for our team.

“I definitely came out strong out of the blocks and kept focused. I was really excited when I looked at the seedings and saw I had a chance.”

The Saints scored 36 points in the weight events. Senior Kelley Wright won discus at 107 feet, 2 inches and placed second in shot put (34-11¼). Junior Sarah Smith took shot (35-0¼) and fourth in discus (90-9).

Junior Autumn Orm added a first in long jump (15-3 1/2) for the Saints, who outscored West Iron 47½-20 in the field events.

“On paper, it didn’t look like we were supposed to win,” said St. Ignace coach Trudy Olsen. “We told the girls not to worry about places, but go for time, height and distance. Rachel came up big for us and our field events were huge. We didn’t have a lot of girls, but they worked hard.”

West Iron’s Emmy Kinner won the 400 (1:00.98), helped the winning 1,600 relay and took second in the 200 (27.42). Cassilyn Pellizzer also ran in that relay and won the 300 hurdles (48.19) and placed second in high jump (4-10).

Newberry sophomore Natalie Beaulieu captured the 3,200 (12:21.37) and helped the winning 3,200 relay and placed second in the 800 (2:31.55) and 1,600 (5:28.71).

Manistique sophomore Holly Blowers won the tightly-contested 800 (2:31.29), with Newberry sophomore Bridget Stoetzer third (2:31.62) and Westwood sophomore Katie Etelamaki fourth (2:35.56). Stoetzer also ran in the 3,200 relay.

Blowers also took the 1,600 in a school-record 5:26.3 and placed third in the 400 in a personal-best 1:02.4.

“I’ve been chasing the 1,600 record for three years,” said Blowers, who will be moving to Marquette with her family this summer. “Natalie, Bridget and Katie really pushed me in the 800. This is my last day as an Emerald. I’m going to miss running with them a lot. They’re great runners and quality people. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the support of my family. I’m just happy to make my parents, brother and sister proud.”

The Emeralds scored 19½ of their 63 points in pole vault, with senior Elisa MacGregor leading the way in second at 8 feet. 

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PHOTO: St. Ignace's Rachel Hetherington (center) crosses the finish line first in the 100 meters at the U.P. Division 2 Final on Saturday at Kingsford. (Click to see more from

Multi-Sprint Champ Racing to Finish Huron Career Ahead of the Rest Again

By Keith Dunlap
Special for

May 25, 2023

NEW BOSTON – If there was one thing Elizabeth Anderson took pride in elementary school, it was simply showing that she could outrun everyone in sight. 

Greater DetroitIn fact, Anderson has an explanation for all the success she had in those playground races.

“Dominance when you are in elementary school,” Anderson quipped. “I don’t think I ever had a nickname. I just think everyone knew I was fast.”

Years later, pretty much everyone who follows track & field in the state of Michigan can attest to that. 

A senior for New Boston Huron, Anderson has been faster than most other competitors in the state during her three-year high school career (with her freshman season in 2020 canceled due to COVID-19). 

Last year, Anderson won titles at the Lower Peninsula Division 2 Finals in the 200-meter (25.07) and 400-meter (56.28) dashes, and was runner-up in the 100-meter dash (12.23). 

Often, top sprinters focus on one or two of those three races. But Anderson is certainly a different breed of sprinter because she does all three.

In fact, she holds school records in all three of those events, and if all that weren’t enough, Anderson is a part of all three sprint relay teams. 

“It is hard to give her events off,” said New Boston Huron head girls track coach Danielle Lobato.

Despite the different styles the 100, 200 and 400-meter dashes present, Anderson said there usually isn’t much adjusting when she goes from one of those races to another.

Anderson, middle, outpaces the field to also win the 200.The strategy is simply, “Let’s beat the other girls to the finish line.”

“I don’t really go into each race changing up how I would run,” she said. 

While enjoying and succeeding in all three races, Anderson said she actually does have a favorite among them.

“I would say the 400 is probably my favorite,” she said. “Even though it hurts, it’s satisfying to see how much you can get your time down in the 400 compared to any other race.”

Anderson said she started running track in sixth grade, but really got serious about it during the summer after her sophomore season, when she was invited to run for a local club. 

Eventually, that led to her competing over the winter in indoor events.

She lived and breathed track so much that last fall, she decided to not run cross country so she could focus on a weightlifting regimen aimed at developing more leg strength.

“Once I started doing summer track, I realized I wanted to be doing this all the time,” she said. 

Lobato said oftentimes in practice, Anderson is a de facto coach, given there is no better person she can think of for the younger runners on the team to learn from.

“I can’t always demonstrate these things I’m trying to teach,” she said. “You get to see it in real life (from Anderson), not in a YouTube video.”

After winning the 100, 200 and 400-meter dashes at her Regional meet last week, Anderson has her sights set on achieving the same trifecta of titles at next Saturday’s Finals in Grand Rapids. 

Anderson has signed to run track at Michigan State, but has been plenty motivated to keep producing this spring in her final high school season.

“I’m really looking to defend my titles,” she said. “That is what is really motivating me to keep going. I want to keep in shape for the college season. I don’t want to lose any of the progress I have made. Ultimately, I just love running track.”

And since elementary school, Anderson has loved — and succeeded in — outrunning everyone else to the finish line. 

“We knew we were getting something special,” Lobato said of when Anderson arrived in high school. “But you never expect this. All that she has accomplished is amazing.”

Keith DunlapKeith Dunlap has served in Detroit-area sports media for more than two decades, including as a sportswriter at the Oakland Press from 2001-16 primarily covering high school sports but also college and professional teams. His bylines also have appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, the Houston Chronicle and the Boston Globe. He served as the administrator for the Oakland Activities Association’s website from 2017-2020. Contact him at [email protected] with story ideas for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties

PHOTOS (Top) New Boston Huron's Elizabeth Anderson clears the finish line during last season's LPD2 400 race. (Middle) Anderson, middle, outpaces the field to also win the 200. (Click for more from