Beginning Another Tourney Journey

August 8, 2016

Below is the introductory commentary to the MHSAA's spring issue of benchmarks. Histories of MHSAA tournaments published in that issue have been appearing on Second Half every Tuesday and Friday. 

By Jack Roberts
MHSAA Executive Director

Concussions and cutbacks. Participation fees and part-time employment. Student safety and specialization. International students and interstate travel. Transfers and trials.

Through a myriad of issues which periodically cloud our mission, the foundation on which the MHSAA was built still shines brightest three times each year: Tournament Time!

It can be daunting and overwhelming to make a living at this business of interscholastic athletics these days, not to mention a tad confusing. Do we need legal degrees? Medical degrees? Business degrees? Marketing degrees? There seems to be no escape from threat of legislative mandates which continually change the landscape of our product and how it’s delivered. Demands pile up, resources dwindle.   

Add the daily challenges of scheduling issues, inclement weather and pleasing teenagers and their parents on a daily basis, and it’s easy to lose focus of the primary missions for the MHSAA and its member schools.

And then, scenes like this happen:

• Holly Bullough, a senior cross country runner from Traverse City St. Francis takes her second straight Division 3 championship, winning by 36.4 seconds ... with a stress fracture in her left foot.

• Detroit Martin Luther King QB Armani Posey directs a game-winning drive to give his school the Division 2 football championship ... a drive which started on his own 3-yard line with 37 seconds left and ended with a 40-yard heave to receiver Donnie Corley on the final play of the game.

• Leland sweeps the Class D volleyball title match 3-0 over Battle Creek St. Philip ... ending a string of nine straight titles for St. Phil, the 10th longest national streak in history.

• Davison’s Taylor Davis becomes only the fourth person in MHSAA Girls Bowling history to roll a 300 game in the Singles portion of the tournament ... and the first ever in the championship match.

• The Upper Peninsula’s Hancock HS wins the Division 3 ice hockey title in its first trip to the Final since 2000 ... a trip funded in part from a “Go Fund Me” web page that raised $6,620 from 99 donors in two days.

• Junior Kierra Fletcher of Warren Cousino carries her team to the Class A girls basketball championship with 27 points in the Final ... after scoring 37 of her team’s 60 points in the Semifinals and totaling 198 during eight tournament games.

That’s just a sampling of the magic from last fall and winter.

These moments shine through the current challenges and the unseen future that awaits us as they always have. The uniforms and faces are different, but the tournaments have always yielded the fruits of our labors, and the memories for our mental scrapbooks.

PHOTO: Leland's volleyball team hoists its Class D championship trophy last fall at Kellogg Arena. 

Lake Linden-Hubbell, Stephenson Share in UPD3; Jokela Joins Elite Club

By Jason Juno
Special for

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.

Norway's Taylor Adams wins the 800. 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.

Click for full results.

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/