10 to Remember from 2011-12
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
July 11, 2012
Second Half's mission in this, its first school year, was to tell the best stories behind the scores and highlights of MHSAA competition.
Of course, every score and especially every championship has a story behind it. The MHSAA awarded 127 team and many more individual championships in 2011-12. Obviously we can't reflect on them all. But these 10 performances were loaded with prestige, drama and accomplishment that made them incredible stories for high school sports fans regardless of hometown or allegiance.
10. Grand Ledge gymnasts earn No. 5
The Comets had to fend off a charge by Canton, but won their fifth-straight MHSAA team title by 0.825 of a point with a final score of 149.400. The fifth-straight title tied the record set by Ludington from 1975-79 and extended Grand Ledge's first-place streak to 75 consecutive events. The next day, senior Christine Wilson and junior Sara Peltier swept the Division 1 and 2 individual titles, respectively.
9. West Bloomfield's Erin Finn joins elite
The Lakers junior said after her Division 1 cross country win that she'd dreamt of winning that title since she learned how to walk. She finished fourth as a sophomore before winning the championship by a little more than a second. After establishing herself as one of the top distance runners in the country in competitions over the winter, Finn finished the school year by winning the 3,200-meter run at the Division 1 Track and Field Final.
8. More and more Morley Stanwood
The Mohawks girls pulled off a rare feat this school year -- after winning their second MHSAA volleyball title in the fall, they added a first-ever girls basketball championship. Both efforts were keyed by seniors Alexis Huntey and Bailey Cairnduf, who had the most and second-most kills in the Class C Volleyball Final and then combined for 45 points and 25 rebounds in the basketball championship game.
That argument was made after Lansing Sexton claimed its second-straight Class B boys basketball championship in dominant fashion. The Big Reds finished 27-1, their only loss by a point to Detroit Pershing, and have won 74 games over the last three seasons -- tied for sixth-most in MHSAA history for that long of a stretch. Guards Denzel Valentine (Michigan State), Anthony Clemmons (Iowa) and Bryn Forbes (Cleveland State) all signed to play at Division I colleges this fall, with junior Jalen Hayes and freshman Trevor Manuel likely joining them in a few years.
Coyotes junior Sami Michell established herself as one of the top hurdlers in MHSAA history at the Division 3 Final by becoming the first Lower Peninsula girl to win four events at a championship meet since Mason County Eastern’s Maria Shoup in 1979. She set Division 3 records in the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and long jump, and her 300 time also was the best in MHSAA Finals history, regardless of division or class. She also won the 200.
Top-ranked Grand Haven's latest run at an MHSAA championship seemed all but over when Grosse Pointe South led the Class A final by 18 points with just under 10 minutes to play. But Shar'Rae Davis' fullcourt sprint and score that began with 12 seconds to play gave the Buccaneers a 54-53 win and their first title. It was the third-longest comeback in MHSAA Girls Basketball Finals history.
Livonia Ladywood had been a favorite to win its first MHSAA title all season -- with four-year pitcher Briana Combs in the circle. But when Combs couldn't finish the Semifinal because of an injury, rarely-thrown sophomore Lauren Hayes stepped in. All she did was finish that game and throw a three-hitter against Saginaw Swan Valley in the Final, while also getting three hits and driving in two of the team's four runs in the championship win.
St. Johns senior Taylor Massa finished off one of the most celebrated careers in MHSAA wrestling history with his fourth championship and not one loss during his high school career. Massa claimed the title at 171 pounds this year to go with others at 145, 152 and 160. He became the 15th in MHSAA history to win four titles, ranks 20th with 221 wins and seventh in the national record book for consecutive victories.
Grosse Pointe South's girls running teams had arguably the most dominant school year in MHSAA history, first winning the Division 1 cross country title before doing the same this spring in track and field. And the Blue Devils did it with mostly the same nucleus contributing to both -- particularly juniors Hannah and Haley Meier, sophomore Kelsie Schwartz and freshman Ersula Farrow. Those four combined to run a national record time of 8:48.29 in the 3,200 relay at the Division 1 Final this spring.
1. Short walk, championship run
Second Half was created as a place to tell great stories, Cass Tech made it easy on the first day of the Football Finals. The Technicians arrived at Ford Field after a short walk from their school. They had never played in a Final before and were unranked entering the postseason. They arrived with a strong group of seniors, but also a freshman quarterback named Jayru Campbell who ended up throwing five touchdown passes in a 49-13 win over No. 2 and perennial powerhouse Detroit Catholic Central.
PHOTO: The Morley Stanwood girls basketball team prepares to celebrate as the final seconds tick off in the Mohawks' Class C Final win. (Click to see more photos from High School Sports Scene.)
Preview: LP Girls Finals Welcome Back Stars, Hopefuls Ready to Join Them
By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor
June 1, 2023
The MHSAA Lower Peninsula Girls Track & Field Finals have showcased plenty of stars over the years, and Saturday’s meets will celebrate more with returning competitors owning a combined 22 individual championships won over the last three seasons.
But this season’s field also sticks out because of several hopefuls who appear on the verge of greatness as well, many of whom we highlight below.
All four LP Finals will again be contested at Grand Rapids-area schools, with pole vault and long jump beginning at 9 a.m., race semifinals and the 3,200 relay at 10 a.m. and the rest of the running finals starting at noon. Tickets cost $11 and are available digitally only via GoFan.
MHSAA.tv will live-stream all four meets beginning at 10 a.m., viewable with subscription.
Following is a glance at team contenders and individuals to watch in all four divisions:
LP Division 1 at Rockford
Team forecast: After winning three straight LPD1 team titles, Oak Park finished second last season to Detroit Renaissance – which had finished second twice in a row before claiming its first title since 2007. Those two are the likely favorites again, and Renaissance won their Regional matchup two weeks ago 135½-108 as they combined to post the top two times in three relays from all LPD1 Regionals. Oak Park continues to surge with one of the top hurdler groups in recent memory, while Renaissance’s depth in elite sprinters has been unmatched despite graduating one of the all-time greats last spring. All of that said, keep an eye on Ann Arbor Huron too. The River Rats finished third last season, are paced by an elite sprinter and have the potential to pick up points in a variety of events.
Jayla Dace, Detroit Renaissance sophomore: After qualifying in the 200 and running on the winning 800 relay last season, Dace enters this weekend after running the fastest 100 (11.91) and fourth-fastest 200 (24.95) at LPD1 Regionals while also slated to run on two contending relays.
Arianne Olson, Holland West Ottawa senior: Last season’s 3,200 champion and 1,600 runner-up enters with the third-fastest 3,200 (10:48.40) from LPD1 Regionals and also again will run the 1,600 and on a contending relay.
Mackenzie Robinson, Ann Arbor Huron senior: She finished second in the 100 and 200 last season and ran on champion and runner-up relays, and she could be in for an even bigger finish after posting the second-fastest LPD1 Regional 100 (12.11) and 200 (24.74) and running on the third-fastest 400 relay two weeks ago.
Morgan Roundtree, Oak Park junior: Her sophomore-year Finals included a 300 hurdles title and runner-up finishes in the 100 hurdles and 800 relay. She enters this weekend with the fastest LPD1 Regional time in the 300 (41.86), third-fastest in the 100 hurdles (14.14) and running on two contending relays again.
Abigail Russell, Allen Park junior: She swept the throws as a sophomore and could be in line to do the same this weekend with the top LPD1 Regional throw in discus (148-3) by more than 12 feet and the second-farthest shot put (42-5) behind only Howell senior standout Sophie Daugard.
Kamryn Tatum, West Bloomfield freshman: She enters her first Finals having run the fastest 200 (24.70) and 400 (56.08) times in any LPD1 Regional, with those times fast enough to have finished third in those races at last year’s Finals.
Nonah Waldron, Oak Park senior: She’s finishing a career that’s included the last two 100 hurdles championships and a 300 hurdles title as a sophomore. She enters this weekend with the fastest LPD1 Regional time in the 100 hurdles (13.61), second-fastest to Roundtree in the 300 (42.70) and likely to run on the same two contending relays as that teammate.
LP Division 2 at Ada Forest Hills Eastern
Team forecast: The last five Finals have seen five schools win Division 2 once and three more schools finish second at least once. East Grand Rapids nearly doubled up the field last year, however, and power in distance races and relays could have the Pioneers on track again. New Boston Huron was fourth last season behind the scoring of Elizabeth Anderson and could follow her into contention, and Dearborn Divine Child has qualifiers in all but pole vault and a pair of relays expected to do exceptionally well.
Elizabeth Anderson, New Boston Huron senior: She won the 200 and 400 and was runner-up in the 100 last season to score 28 of her team’s 29 points, and she could take that over 30 this weekend entering with the fastest LPD2 Regional times in the 200 (24.93) and 400 (56.62), the second-fastest in the 100 (12.34) and as part of one of the fasted 1,600 relays.
Camryn Bodine, East Grand Rapids senior: Last season’s 800 champion ran the fastest LPD2 Regional time in that race (2:13.14) two weeks ago by nearly four seconds and will also run on two contending relays after helping hers to first, second and seventh places in 2022.
Janae Hudson, Marysville junior: She could move up substantially after placing third in discus and 10th in shot put last season, coming off the top LPD2 Regional shot put (41-4½) and second-longest discus toss (125-5).
Ella Jenkins, Warren Regina senior: The reigning champion in the 300 hurdles and runner-up in the 100 hurdles ran the fastest LPD2 Regional time in the 100 hurdles (15.14) and second-fastest in the 300 (47.55).
Drew Muller, East Grand Rapids junior: The reigning 1,600 champ and 800 fifth-place finisher – and LPD2 cross country champion in the fall – ran the fastest 1,600 LPD2 Regional time (5:03.32) and fourth-fastest 800 (2:17.88) and will also run on two contending relays after hers finished first and second last year.
Keyanna O’Tey, Sturgis sophomore: She qualified for the 100 in LPD1 as a freshman and could play a starring role Saturday entering with the fastest LPD2 Regional time in the 100 (12.10), second-fastest in the 200 (25.49) and as part of two contending sprint relays.
Natalie VanOtteren, Grand Rapids Christian junior: She finished seventh in the 3,200 and ran on a runner-up relay a year ago and enters this weekend with the fastest LPD2 Regional time in the 3,200 (11:09.76) and second-fastest in the 1,600 (5:07.06).
Jordyn Wright, Tecumseh senior: The reigning pole vault champion by a foot posted the top LPD2 Regional height (11-9) two weeks ago and is expected to run two relays as well.
LP Division 3 at Kent City
Team forecast: Hart and Pewamo-Westphalia both have won two championships over the last five seasons, and Hart was first and P-W second a year ago. Hart again has the mix of sprint, distance, field event and relay standouts to finish first, and P-W has nearly the same amount and variety. But they’ll have company. Lansing Catholic has strong contenders in five races and two relays, Olivet could score big in relays, field events and hurdles; and Onsted could jump up with a handful of potential winners as well.
Ryan Finstrom, Grayling junior: Last season’s discus champion and fourth-place shot put finisher returns this weekend looking for a discus repeat after throwing the fourth-farthest LPD3 Regional toss (119-1).
Addison Hovey, Hart sophomore: She played a big role in last year’s title run with runner-up finishes in high jump and as part of the 400 relay, and she’ll return this weekend with the top LPD3 Regional time in the 100 (12.38) and top high jump (5-3) plus as part of two relays.
Heidi Newhouse, Lawton junior: The reigning high jump champion also finished just outside scoring range in the 400 last season, and she’ll enter this weekend tied for the second-best LPD3 Regional high jump (5-1) and third-fastest 400 (59.76).
Ally Olszewski, Grand Rapids West Catholic senior: She won the pole vault last season by half a foot and her 10-3 LPD3 Regional vault two weeks ago was half a foot better than the field. She also posted the fourth-best LPD3 Regional long jump (15-9½) and will run the 200 and again on the 800 relay after helping the latter to fourth place a year ago.
Madison Osterberg, Jackson Lumen Christi junior: After finishing 800 runner-up and seventh in the 1,600 a year ago, plus running on the runner-up 800 relay, Osterberg enters with the fastest LPD3 Regional times in the 1,600 (4:59.62) and 3,200 (11:01.05), the second-fastest in the 800 (2:16.56), and she will also run on a contending 3,200 relay.
Emmry Ross, Onsted sophomore: Her Finals debut included championships in the 400 and as part of the 1,600 relay and a runner-up finish as part of the 800 relay. She returns with the top LPD3 Regional times in the 400 (57.07) and 800 (2:15.03) and as part of contenders in the 800 and 3,200 relays.
Gloria Stepanovich, Benzie Central senior: The reigning long jump champion will return seeking a repeat after placing second at her Regional but only 1¼ inches off the lead.
LP Division 4 at Hudsonville
Team forecast: A close race came down to just a few points last season, with Muskegon Western Michigan Christian edging 2021 champion Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart by four. This could be close again – but with a different collection of contenders. Fowler, fourth last season, may be back in the mix with elite relays leading the way. Frankfort is back after finishing third and bolsters a strong field events group to go with relay strength. Hillsdale Academy could follow a strong distance group into contention, and Buckley should put up some points with a pair of stars. Portland St. Patrick is another interesting possibility with runners all over the meet and three contending relays.
Molly Brown, Addison sophomore: She had an impressive debut last season with two top-five relay finishes, a 10th in the 100 hurdles and fifth in the 300 hurdles. But this could be even better as she brings in the top LPD4 Regional times in the 100 hurdles (16.03) and 300 hurdles (46.82), the second-fastest in the 100 dash (12.98) and the seventh-best long jump.
Olivia Findlay, Marlette junior: Last season’s runner-up in the high jump and fifth-place finisher in the long jump is a favorite in both with the top LPD4 Regional performances in both at 5-5 and 16-11¾, respectively. She also posted the sixth-fastest 100 hurdles time (17.12) to qualify.
Aiden Harrand, Buckley junior: She’s won the 1,600 the last two seasons, the 800 last year and finished fourth in the 3,200 as well, and was the LPD4 cross country champ in the fall. Her LPD4 Regional times in the 800 (2:19.15), 1,600 (5:06.52) and 3,200 (11:26.04) all topped those lists.
Anna Plum, Mount Pleasant Sacred Heart senior: She’s the reigning champion in the 300 hurdles and was part of winning and runner-up relays as well as a qualifier in the 100 hurdles last season. She could put up plenty of points again entering with the fourth-fastest LPD4 Regional times in the 100 (13.06) and 200 (26.75) and the third-fastest in the 300 hurdles (48.46).
Megan Roberts, Hillsdale Academy senior: After missing last season’s Finals with an injury, Roberts will get another chance to build on a sophomore debut that included a relay championship, two relay runner-up finishes and a sixth place in the 800. She will run on two relays that posted the fastest LPD4 Regional times in their respective races and also the 400 after racing to an LPD4 Regional-best 59.85 two weeks ago.
Natalie Wandrie, Indian River Inland Lakes senior: She finished seventh in the shot put and 11th in the discus last season but could be set for a big finish with the top LPD4 Regional discus toss of 124-3½ and the third-longest shot put (37-3). She’ll also run a relay.
PHOTO Oak Park’s Nonah Waldron leaps a hurdle during last season’s LPD1 Finals. (Click for more from RunMichigan.com.)