Did you see that?

May 21, 2012

Track and field, tennis and lacrosse teams have begun their marches toward MHSAA championships, but a number of sports are making offseason news as well.

Here's our sampling of some of the most intriguing from all over the state last week. 

Track and Field

Setting up a showdown: In perhaps the most notable race of last week’s Regionals, Birmingham Seaholm’s Aubrey Wilberding edged Southfield’s Latipha Cross in the 400-meter dash in Division 1 at Farmington. Wilberding ran the race in 56.48 seconds, 19 hundredths of a second faster than Cross, who set an all-Finals record in the race in 2011. Click the link next to each Regional site for results. (MHSAA)

Soccer

Shooting for 67: Lake Fenton sophomore Jordan Newman scored a combined eight goals in the semifinal and championship games of the Genesee Area Conference tournament to lead her team to the championship. She has 54 goals this season – only 13 shy of the MHSAA single-season record with Districts beginning next week. (Tri-County Times) (Flint Journal)

KVA belongs to Kalamazoo Christian: The Kalamazoo Valley Association soccer championship came down to two of the top teams statewide in Division 4 – and No. 2 Kalamazoo Christian edged No. 3 Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Central 1-0 in the final. The two were flip-flopped in the rankings heading into the game. (Kalamazoo Gazette)

Athletes of the Year

Pinning down a major award: St. Johns wrestler Taylor Massa and Rochester Hills Stoney Creek's Gabby Yurik received the annual Michigan Student-Athlete of the Year Awards from the Detroit Athletic Club, from a group of nominees including Holland's Courtney Bartholomew, Birmingham Marian's Jaynie Pulte, Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett's Madison Ristovski, Plainwell's Lauren Saar and Charlotte's Raychel Wolever, and Grand Blanc's Zachary Carroll, Saginaw Heritage's Evan Chiplock, Bay City Western's Matt Costello, Lowell's Gabe Dean and Oxford's Prescott Line.

Golf

Plymouth rocks: The Wildcats topped a field that included 17 state-ranked teams in claiming the East Lansing Invitational with a two-round score of 595. The tournament was played at Michigan State University’s Forest Akers West and East. Scroll to the bottom of link for full results. (Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association)

Tennis

Match points: Five of the top seven ranked teams in Division 2 emerged from two suburban Detroit Regionals to advance to the Division 2 Finals: No. 1 Birmingham Marian, No. 2 Bloomfield Hills Andover, No. 3 Birmingham Seaholm and co-No. 7s Bloomfield Hills Lahser and Farmington Hills Marcy. Click next to each Regional site to see who qualified for their respective Finals. (MHSAA)

Softball

Perfect, again: Breckenridge’s Sam Willman threw her fifth perfect game this season, striking out 18 and 64 for the day as her team won the Montrose Snowball Tournament on Saturday. She also threw a perfect game two days before. (Midland Daily News)

Stacking numbers: Decatur senior pitcher Erika Southworth won her 100th game last week, then notched her 1,000th strikeout two days later. (Kalamazoo Gazette)

Basketball

Detroit mourns coach: Southeastern High girls coach Lisa Blackburn died Saturday at the age of 52. She was a former Detroit Pershing star who went on to play at the University of Detroit. (Detroit News)

Stolz legacy ends: Longtime Okemos boys basketball coach Dan Stolz retired with a record of 428-99 and a winning percentage of .812 in 18 seasons at Okemos and five at Williamston. Stolz took over the Chieftains program from his father Stan, who coached the varsity from 1968-93. (Lansing State Journal)

Wrestling

New coach at St. Johns: The reigning three-time Division 2 MHSAA team champion now will be coached by assistant Derek Phillips, who was promoted last week to take over for the recently-resigned Zane Ballard. (Lansing State Journal)

Media

Longtime editor announces retirement: The state’s print media will wave good-bye to another valuable member when longtime Escanaba Daily Press sports editor Denny Grall retires in two months. He’s been putting pen to paper for 42 years and is especially legendary across the Upper Peninsula. (Escanaba Daily Press)

Editor's note: Did we miss something? Comment below and tell us about it. Is there an event coming up that we should make sure to note? Comment or e-mail [email protected].

Finals Title Next Step for Versatile Swan Valley Record-Breaker Kuhn

By Paul Costanzo
Special for MHSAA.com

May 22, 2024

Sydney Kuhn’s habit for smashing school records at Saginaw Swan Valley has forced the track & field program to start taking cost-cutting measures.

Bay & Thumb“We stopped changing out the records on our record board,” Swan Valley coach Dave Dawson said. “We just figured, she has another year and she’ll break it again, so we figured we’re going to save money this way.”

Kuhn, a junior, owns the school records in the 200, 400, 800 and 1,600 meters. She also has the program record in 60 meters, an indoor track event. She’s run the school’s second-fastest 300 hurdles time, and one of the top five 100-meter times. The 1,600-meter relay team she’s part of with Mackenzie Morgan, Grace Spear and Mackenzie Powell is close to setting a record, as well, and has qualified for the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 2 Finals on June 1.

“Her ninth-grade year, everybody knew, depending on what happens and her attitude, they knew she could be something special. There was potential there,” Dawson said. “Lauren Huebner, she graduated in 2016 and went to SVSU and was a two-time Division II national champion, she had eight records on the board. Sydney feeds off that. Especially now that Lauren is helping coach, she’s definitely been pivotal in this.”

Kuhn qualified for the Finals in the three events she ran at last week’s Regional: the 200, 400 and 1,600 relay. She will be the No. 1 seed in the 400, and has run the fastest time in the state regardless of division, at 55.11 seconds. She’s the No. 2 seed in the 200, where her personal best of 24.89 is the fifth-fastest time in the state this year, regardless of division. She finished third and sixth, respectively, at the Finals in the events a year ago.

“I feel good,” Kuhn said. “I’m just getting ready. It’s been a good year, it’s been going smoothly. The 400 looks pretty good, and the 200 there will be some good competition. Freshman year, I got fifth, then third (as a sophomore) in the 400, so hopefully this year is first.”

She did not run the 800 at the Regional, as it was decided it was too close in the meet order to her other events. She’s run 2:12.75 in the event, the fourth-fastest time recorded in the state this season.

That could be where she has the most potential, however, as it’s a race she had never run competitively until her sophomore season. The first time she ran it in a varsity meet, she recorded a 2:21, setting the school record.

Kuhn anchors a relay during the Tri-Valley Conference Red meet May 8 at Frankenmuth.“(Coach) Andrew Wendler put a bug in her ear, ‘If you’re running this fast in the 400, think of what your 800 would be,’” Dawson said. “She says, ‘Yeah, I’ll try it.’ So, in one of our first conference meets, she ran against a girl that’s pretty good in the 800 and we just said to follow her – stick with her and see what you can do. With 200 meters left, she just took off and broke the school record the first time she ran it.”

A year later, they tried the same thing with the 1,600. And again, Kuhn responded by running 5:12.73 in her first try, setting the school record. She’s since run 5:06.45.

“The first time I ran the 800, I ran against Mary Richmond from Frankenmuth who is really fast, and I sort of paced behind her the first 400, then the last 300 I took off. Same thing with the 1,600. I felt like staying behind her, I wasn’t really racing, so I could just go, I thought.”

Richmond is a three-time all-state finisher in both the 1,600 and the 3,200, as well as a four-time all-state cross country runner. 

With Kuhn’s instant success in every race she’s tried, the logical next question is, what about the 3,200?

“My coach mentioned that,” Kuhn said with a laugh. “But I usually just shake my head. You never know.”

There is a real question, however, about what event, or events, Kuhn is best suited for moving forward. She said that she would like to shift some focus to the 800 for her senior year, and several college coaches who have been in contact with her have indicated that’s where she could land.

“The pattern typically is they would probably turn her into a half-miler or a miler,” Dawson said. “Some college coaches want her for the heptathlon with her hurdle experience, and she is not a stranger to the weight room. That’s the fun part about this, she tries something and it’s usually pretty fun. It’s usually a positive experience.”

Kuhn is ready for whatever is thrown at her.

“They’re mostly like 800, 1,500, those types of races,” she said. “Some of them just say whatever you like best. One coach mentioned the steeplechase – I don’t know about that. One coach did mention (heptathlon). I’d be open to whatever is best.”

While she’s taken some unofficial visits, she said she’s in no hurry to choose a college. Her focus remains on winning a Finals title at Swan Valley, and a series of times she’s set as goals for herself: 24.4, 54.9, 2:09.9, 4:59.9.

They’re all saved on her phone screen, where they’re easy to change as she reaches them. And at no cost.

“Every time I look at my phone, I see the times I want to get,” she said. “I’ve changed my screen saver a lot when I do break it.”

Paul CostanzoPaul Costanzo served as a sportswriter at The Port Huron Times Herald from 2006-15, including three years as lead sportswriter, and prior to that as sports editor at the Hillsdale Daily News from 2005-06. He can be reached at [email protected] with story ideas for Genesee, Lapeer, St. Clair, Sanilac, Huron, Tuscola, Saginaw, Bay, Arenac, Midland and Gladwin counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Saginaw Swan Valley’s Sydney Kuhn runs toward the finish during the Korf/Schultz Saginaw County Invitational on May 10 at Hemlock. (Middle) Kuhn anchors a relay during the Tri-Valley Conference Red meet May 8 at Frankenmuth. (Photos by Eagle Eye Photography.)