Title IX at 50: Braddock vs. Verdun Still Striding Among All-Time Sprint Matchups
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
April 26, 2022
The many who have attended second-floor meetings at the MHSAA Office in East Lansing over the years have at least walked past and hopefully noticed the artistic spin above on a past championship race.
Few may know it depicts one of, if not the most star-studded sprint rivalry in MHSAA track & field history.
On the left is Ann Arbor Pioneer’s Crystal Braddock, with Flint Central’s Patrice Verdun keeping stride. From 1987-89, they met five times in either 100 or 200-meter championship races at Lower Peninsula Class A Finals.
Verdun began her MHSAA Finals run as a freshman in 1986, tying for first in the 100 with Grand Haven’s Michelle Bishop at 12.05 seconds.
A year later, Braddock would join her in the championship heat of that race, finishing seventh (12.47) as Verdun won in 11.98 seconds. Braddock also finished third in 1987 in the 200 (25.12), while Verdun was on the winning 400 relay.
In 1988, the matchup took its first step toward being forever memorable, as Braddock was first and Verdun second in both the 100 and 200. Braddock tied the LP Class A Finals record in the 100 at 11.70, with Verdun just behind her at 11.76 and the next fastest racer at 12.08. It was Braddock first at 24.45 and Verdun second at 24.71 in the 200, with the next fastest after those two crossing the finish nearly a second later. Braddock also ran on the 400 relay champ as Pioneer as a team won its fourth-straight Finals title.
The pair would meet for the last times at an MHSAA Finals in 1989. Again, it was Braddock first and Verdun second in both the 100 and 200. This time the Pioneer sprinter won the 100 in 11.84 to Verdun’s 11.99, and the 200 in 24.90 to her rival’s 25.54. Braddock this time also ran on the winning 1,600 relay, and Pioneer extended its team title streak to five seasons of an eventual seven consecutive as LP Class A champion.
High school track was just the start for the speedy pair. Braddock went on to run at the University of Texas, earning All-America honors four times and helping set a relay record at the World University Games. Verdun earned All-America five times for Florida State University.
And add this in when considering the collective speed of those 100-meter MHSAA Finals races. The third-place finisher in both 1988 and 1989 was Detroit Cass Tech’s Trinette Johnson, who won long jump at both of those meets and also would go on to Florida State – where she was a six-time All-American, including four times in long jump.
Second Half's weekly Title IX Celebration posts are sponsored by Michigan Army National Guard.
Previous Title IX at 50 Spotlights
April 19: Holmes' Strikeout Record Rarely Approached, May Be Unbreakable - Read
April 12: Anticipation High as 45,000 Girls Return to Spring Sports - Read
April 5: Regina's Laffey Retiring as Definition of Legendary - Read
March 29: Edison's Whitehorn named 2022 Miss Basketball - Read
March 22: Carney-Nadeau Sets Girls Hoops Standard with 78-Win Streak - Read
March 15: Binder Among Voices Telling Our Story on MHSAA Network - Read
March 8: 29 Years, Thousands of Cheers - Read
March 1: Kearsley Rolls On Among Girls Bowling's Early Successes - Read
Feb. 22: Marquette Ties Record for Swim & Dive Finals Success - Read
Feb. 15: Jaeger's 2004 Winter Run Created Lasting Connection - Read
Feb. 8: Marian's Cicerone to Finish Among All-Time Elite - Read
Feb. 1: WISL Award Honors Builders of State's Girls Sports Tradition - Read
Jan. 25: Decades Later, Edwards' Legend Continues to Grow - Read
Jan. 18: Iron Mountain Completes Championship Climb - Read
Jan. 11: Harrold's Achievement Heralds Growth of Girls Wrestling - Read
Dec. 20: Competitive Cheer Gives Michigan Plenty to Cheer About - Read
Dec. 14: Evelyn's Game Had Plenty of Magic - Read
Dec. 7: Council Term Ends, But Leinaar Leaves Lasting Impact - Read
Nov. 30: Basketball Season Ready to Add to Rich Tradition - Read
Nov. 23: Marysville Builds Winning Streak Yet to be Challenged - Read
Nov. 16: Wroubel Has Championed Girls School Sports from Their Start - Read
Nov. 9: Pioneer's Joyce Legendary in Michigan, National Swim History - Read
Nov. 2: Royal Oak's Finch Leading Way on Football Field - Read
Oct. 26: Coach Clegg Sets Championship Standard at Grand Blanc - Read
Oct. 19: Rockford Girls Set Pace, Hundreds After Have Continued to Chase - Read
Oct. 12: Bedford Volleyball Pioneer Continues Blazing Record-Setting Trail - Read
Oct. 5: Warner Paved Way to Legend Status with Record Rounds - Read
Sept. 28: Taylor Kennedy Gymnasts Earn Fame as 1st Champions - Read
Sept. 21: Portage Northern Star Byington Becomes Play-by-Play Pioneer - Read
Sept. 14: Guerra/Groat Legacy Continues to Serve St. Philip Well - Read
Sept. 7: Best-Ever Conversation Must Include Leland's Glass - Read
Aug. 31: We Will Celebrate Many Who Paved the Way - Read
Lake Linden-Hubbell, Stephenson Share in UPD3; Jokela Joins Elite Club
By Jason Juno
Special for MHSAA.com
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.
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.
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/RunMichigan.com.)