Did You See That? (April 22-28)

April 30, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

The clouds finally began to break last week. And as expected, teams in every spring sport quickly got started catching up on what they'd had to put off most of this month. 

Read on for some of the top headlines from all over the state, plus our favorite story – which highlights a pair of officials who will be recognized this weekend for their dedication to high school athletics. 

Good Read of the Week

Father/Daughter rule the diamond: Ralph Burr will be among those celebrated by the MHSAA this weekend for 50 years of service as an official. But the past 20 have been his favorite – his daughter and umpiring partner Jackie will be recognized this weekend for her two decades of service. (Muskegon Chronicle).

Softball

McClure strikes again: Manchester pitcher Katie McClure moved into ninth in MHSAA history with 511 career strikeouts after totaling 27 more at Saturday’s Concord Invitational. Her team won the event by beating the host 3-1 in the final. (Jackson Citizen-Patriot)

One vs. One: In what has become arguably the best softball rivalry in the state, Stevensville Lakeshore swept Mattawan 4-2 and 9-4 on Thursday in a matchup of top-ranked teams. Lakeshore is ranked No. 2 in Division 2, while Mattawan holds the top spot in Division 1. (St. Joseph Herald-Palladium)

Another Clinton ace: That’s Cami Prater, who has taken over for graduated standout Tierney Nelson and no-hit the No. 5-ranked host at Saturday’s Springport Invitational. Prater hit a home run as Clinton won last season’s Division 3 championship game. (Adrian Daily Telegram)

Snowbirds down No. 1: Gaylord St. Mary scored in the bottom of the seventh inning to upset Division 4 No. 1 Onaway 2-1 a week ago before settling for a hard-earned split. (Gaylord Herald-Times)

Girls Lacrosse

“Play Day” perfection: Rockford hosted its fourth “Play Day” on Saturday, and the Division 1 top-ranked Rams finished it with wins over No. 2 Hartland and No. 3 Brighton. Grand Rapids Catholic Central, No. 2 in Division 2, also beat Hartland, along with Troy Athens and Division 2 No. 3 Ann Arbor Pioneer. (Grand Rapids Press)

Boys Golf

Upper hand, DCC: Detroit Catholic Central won what is one of the most competitive regular-season events every spring, claiming the Division 1 portion of the Traverse City Central Invitational by edging reigning champion Muskegon Mona Shores. Mona Shores finished third and DCC sixth at last season’s MHSAA Division 1 Final. (Traverse City Record-Eagle)

Baseball

Long time coming: Gladstone earned its first wins 4-3 and 5-0 over Negaunee on Friday, and those also happen to be the program’s first victories in more than a half century. The Escanaba Daily Press reports this as Gladstone’s first baseball team in 54 years. (Escanaba Daily Press)

East Lansing rises at Dow: East Lansing needed just about every one of its 16 runs over the final two games of Saturday’s Midland Dow Invitational, but came away with the championship after beating Division 3 No. 4 Saginaw Nouvel 8-7 in the final. East Lansing advanced with an 8-6 win over Dow. (Saginaw News)

Weisenberger throws no-no again: Sanford Meridian had three wins after Thursday, and two were no-hitters by pitcher Jonah Weisenberger. He threw his second in that night’s opener against Beaverton. (Midland Daily News)

Portage Northern rallies: The Huskies look like they could be an emerging force again from the Kalamazoo area, and moved to 5-2 by winning their home invitational Saturday. Portage Northern defeated Division 4 No. 2 Gobles in the championship game. (Kalamazoo Gazette)

Track and Field

Hornets buzz: Williamston’s boys, who tied for ninth at last season MHSAA Division 2 Final, won the Spartan Classic at Michigan State University, finishing eight points ahead of Division 1 power Rockford. Reigning Division 1 girls champion Grosse Pointe South won its side of the meet by a much more significant 51 points. (Playmakers.com (full results), Lansing State Journal)

All-Battle Creek is all Lakeview: Battle Creek Lakeview continues to dominate its city’s track and field scene, and again won its all-city meets Friday. The girls won despite not running standout Sarita Dotson, who was out with an injury. (Battle Creek Enquirer).

Football

Stoney Creek celebrates Fisher: A Rochester Hills Stoney Creek football coach remembered Thursday how Eric Fisher was 6-foot-1 and 150 pounds as a high school freshman. That night, Fisher was selected first in the NFL draft out of Central Michigan University by the Kansas City Chiefs. (Detroit News)

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.)