Superior Dome Gives Jumpstart to Spring

By John Vrancic
Special for MHSAA.com

April 27, 2017

MARQUETTE — Most Upper Peninsula track coaches will tell anyone the weather always is perfect in the Dome.

After all, the temperature is constantly in the 70s and there’s no wind, rain or snow to contend with inside Northern Michigan University’s Superior Dome. And most people agree it was better than competing outdoors last week

Engadine junior Ashtyn Buss was among a group of student-athletes to get a taste of competing in both environments during the Superior Central invitational on April 17.

Buss won girls shot put at 37 feet, 5½ inches inside the Dome, but failed to place in discus, which took place in the great outdoors against a stiff breeze with temperatures hovering near 30 degrees.

“It was pretty important to get a meet in,” she said. “It was very much a relief to be in here for shot. It’s nice and warm in here, but it was sure cold out there for disc. My shoulder tightened up, and I scratched.

“I had good distance on some of my throws, but I kept throwing out of bounds. I can learn from this.”

Cedarville sophomore Caroline Freel, who anchored the winning 1600-meter relay, also stressed the importance of her school’s team getting a meet under its belt.

“This gives us a gauge of where we’re at,” she said. “It was very much a relief to be indoors. Track season up here is known for its unpredictability.”

Although most distance runners are used to running in the cold, Chassell sophomore Lela Rautiola was also glad to be running indoors.

“It helps to get this meet in,” said Rautiola, who won the 1,600 run in 5 minutes, 59.54 seconds. “My lungs are burning from the air, but it’s better than being outdoors today.”

Bark River-Harris coach Katina Demers was mostly thankful the Broncos had a chance to compete.

“It’s so important to get something under our belts in April,” she said. “This was a good learning experience for the younger kids. We’re also very thankful this was indoors. It was very cold outside. I’m surprised they held discus today because of the elements.”

Outside temperatures warmed to the upper 40s the next day (April 18). Rain, however, developed during the course of that day.

Many spectators attending the Marquette Invitational that next day commented about the weather conditions and were glad to have the opportunity to watch track & field competition indoors.

Some distance runners, however, may have preferred to be outdoors on a day during which conditions were more favorable than 24 hours earlier.

Sault Ste. Marie senior Aaron Kinsella may have been among them after winning the 3,200 in 11:12.67.

“That was a pretty good effort by Aaron,” said Sault boys coach D.J. Baars. “He was running all alone and he ran tough. We thought his time might have been a little faster. Aaron said it was hot in here.”

The series of indoor track meets at the Dome concluded with the Ishpeming Invitational on April 19.

Although the sun made an appearance, temperatures had dropped about 10 degrees from the previous day.

Manistique senior Kelsey Dehanke enjoyed the comforts of competing indoors while winning the girls high jump at 4-foot-10.

"It’s a relief to be indoors,” said Dehanke, who plans to attend Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay after high school to major in dental hygiene. “It’s just easier on the leg muscles. I don’t like sitting around in the cold.”

This marked the second meet this season for the Newberry girls, who were runners-up in an outdoor quadrangular meet at St. Ignace the day before.

“It’s important to get meets in this early, but the wind was so cold at St. Ignace,” said Newberry sophomore Madison Grigg, who led off the winning 800 relay. “It’s much better being in here.”

The Ishpeming boys and Munising girls were crowned champions among the Division 2 schools competing in the finale at NMU.

Marquette swept both ends of its invitational, which featured Division 1 schools, and the Bessemer boys and Lake Linden-Hubbell girls earned top honors among the Division 3 schools in the Superior Central Invite.

“Getting meets in early is huge, especially where we’re located,” said Bessemer coach Mark Mazzone. “We often don’t get outside until late April or early May."

PHOTO: Upper Peninsula athletes compete during an April meet at Northern Michigan University's Superior Dome during the start of the 2016 season. (Photo by Paul Gerard.)

Lawrence's Schuman Sets Example for Well-Rounded Success

By Pam Shebest
Special for MHSAA.com

December 14, 2022

LAWRENCE — If redshirting was a thing in high school, at least two coaches at Lawrence would stick that label on senior John Schuman.

Southwest Corridor“We don’t want to lose this kid ever,” said Derek Gribler, the Tigers’ first-year varsity football and baseball coach.

“If we could put a red shirt on this kid every year, we would.”

Athletic director John Guillean, who also coaches varsity basketball, agreed.

“He is what we strive to have all our student-athletes achieve: high GPAs, multi-sport athletes, good, overall well-rounded human beings,” Guillean said.

Schuman has participated in five of the seven boys sports Lawrence sponsors.

As a freshman and sophomore, Schuman played football, wrestled, ran track and played baseball.

He had wrestled since he was 4, and went from the 119-pound weight class as a freshman to 145 the following year. That sophomore season he qualified for his Individual Regional. But as a junior, he traded wrestling for basketball.

“My older brother wrestled at Lawrence, so I would come to practices,” he said. “I quit for a couple years (in middle school) because I liked basketball, too. It was hard to do both. Obviously, in high school, I still struggled with choosing,” he added, laughing.

John GuilleanGuillean is thrilled Schuman made the switch.

“He’s 6-(foot-)4, he’s super athletic, defensively he’s a hawk, offensively he can put the ball in the bucket. But really, aside from his skills, just that positive attitude and that positive outlook, not just in a game, but in life in general, is invaluable,” the coach said.

Last season, Schuman earned honorable mention all-league honors in the Berrien-Cass-St. Joseph Conference, averaging 9.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.

Lawrence left the BCS for the Southwest 10 Conference this year, joining Bangor, Bloomingdale, Hartford, Decatur, Comstock, Marcellus, Mendon, Centreville, White Pigeon and Cassopolis. Schuman and senior Tim Coombs will co-captain the Tigers, with Guillean rotating in a third captain.

At a school of fewer than 200 students, Schuman will help lead a varsity team with just nine – joined by seniors Andy Bowen and Gabe Gonzalez, juniors Christian Smith, Noel Saldana, Ben McCaw and Zander Payment, and sophomore Jose Hernandez, who will see time with the junior varsity as well using the fifth-quarter rule.

“I attribute a lot of (last year’s successful transition) to my coach, helping me get ready because it wasn’t so pretty,” the senior said. “But we got into it, got going, and my teammates helped me out a lot.”

Great anticipation

Gribler is one coach already looking ahead to spring sports after seeing what Schuman did during football season.

In spite of missing 2½ games with an injury, the wide receiver caught 50 receptions for 870 yards and 11 touchdowns.

“I just like the ability to run free, get to hit people, let out some anger,” Schuman laughed.

Derek GriblerGribler said the senior is “an insane athlete.

“On top of his athletic ability, how smart he is in the classroom (3.88 GPA), he helped mold the culture we wanted this year for football. He got our underclassmen the way we wanted them. He was a big asset in many ways.”

Schuman earned all-conference honors for his on-field performance in football as well.

“I would say that my main sport is football,” the senior said. “That’s the one I like the most, spend the most time on.”

In the spring, Schuman competed in both track and baseball, earning all-conference honors in both.

“Doing both is tough,” he said. “I have to say my coaches make it a lot easier for me. They help me a lot and give me the ability to do both, so I really appreciate that.

“Throughout the week you’re traveling every day, it seems like. Baseball twice a week and track, but it’s worth it.”

Schuman’s commitment is so strong that he made a special effort not to let his teammates down last spring.

“He qualified for state in the long jump and did his jumps up in Grand Rapids, then he drove all the way to Kalamazoo to play in the District baseball game,” Guillean said. “That speaks volumes about who this kid is. He did his jumps at 9 a.m. (but did not advance) and made it back to Kalamazoo for a 12:15 game.”

Big shoes to fill

As the youngest of four children of Mark and Gretchen Schuman, the senior was following a family tradition in sports.

Oldest brother Matthew played football, basketball and baseball as well as competed in pole vault and wrestling.

Middle bother Christopher competed in football, wrestling and baseball.

Sister Stephanie played basketball, volleyball and softball.

“I like to say they blazed a pretty good trail for me at this high school,” Schuman said.

As for feeling pressure to live up to his siblings, “I used to when I was younger, but now I feel like I’ve made my own way and done enough things to be proud of that I’m happy with it.”

His own way led him to achieve something none of the others did.

He was named the Tigers’ Male Athlete of the Year, just the third junior to earn the boys honor over the last 25 years.

“I was very honored to win that as a junior,” Schuman said. “There were good athletes in the grade above me. I guess hard work pays off.”

Guillean said while Schuman is “darn good at every sport here,” an athlete does not have to be a “top dog” in every sport.

“Learn how to take a back seat,” he said. “Learn how to be a role player. That will make you a better teammate and a well-rounded human being.

“Johnny has that work ethic, in the classroom, on the field, on the court, on the track. It doesn’t go unnoticed and, obviously, he’s reaping the benefits now.”

Pam ShebestPam Shebest served as a sportswriter at the Kalamazoo Gazette from 1985-2009 after 11 years part-time with the Gazette while teaching French and English at White Pigeon High School. She can be reached at pamkzoo@aol.com with story ideas for Calhoun, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Lawrence’s John Schuman has participated in five varsity sports during his first 3½ years of high school. (Middle) Lawrence athletic director John Guillean. (Below) Lawrence football and baseball coach Derek Gribler. (Action photos courtesy of John Schuman; head shots by Pam Shebest.)