Eventually, the sun will shine ...

April 25, 2013

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

We all believe that, right?

Rain – and snow for some – has been the buzzword of this spring sports season. Just about every newspaper is writing about it and every athletic director, coach, player and parent is dreading it on a now-daily basis.

But eventually, we expect the weather to clear up and teams to play catch-up. To that end, there are limitations teams in some sports face when attempting to make up their games – but also opportunities to take advantage of while trying to fill out their regular-season schedules.

  • Girls soccer and girls and boys lacrosse teams may play only three games during a week, Monday through Sunday. A weekend tournament – which generally includes 2 to 3 shortened games – counts as only one in this equation.
  • Baseball and softball teams can play as many games as they want in a week, but no more than two on a school day – and baseball pitchers must not pitch for two days following their 30th out in a week.
  • For tennis, an individual may not play more than three matches in one day – unless she or he is playing in a league championship tournament featuring more than eight schools for which a fourth match would decide the championship. That player also could not have played more than six sets that day heading into that fourth and final match.
  • Golf and Track and Field do not have weekly contest limitations. Track and field athletes can compete in only four events per day.

As expected, a number of teams – especially for baseball and softball – are scheduling to smash in as many contests as possible into the next four weeks. Postseason play for tennis and lacrosse begins May 16 – three weeks from today.

But teams do have options.

One rarely used but anticipated to be used more this spring is an opportunity to continue playing regular-season contests through the final day of the MHSAA tournament in that sport. For example, a baseball team can continue making up games through June 15, the day of the MHSAA Finals in Battle Creek. A tennis team can play regular-season matches through June 1, etc.

Also, the MHSAA Executive Committee approved Thursday to allow for this spring two additional multi-team tournament dates for soccer and lacrosse, which will give those teams an opportunity to get in a few more games. That means soccer teams will be allowed to play in four multi-team tournaments instead of two, boys lacrosse four instead of two and girls lacrosse five instead of three.

Teams will have to do some juggling, no doubt, and all other tournament stipulations still apply (games generally are shortened so more can be played, etc.). But with a little creativity, teams could at least get in a few of their make-up games in this way.

Also, the Executive Committee approved a motion to waive the four-contest MHSAA tournament entry requirement for all Upper Peninsula schools in all sports this spring. As of the weekend, snow still covered parts of the U.P.

Gaps shrinking

Much has been discussed about minimums for all four MHSAA classes for 2013-14, and how they are the lowest student totals in at least a decade.

It’s true. The floor in Class A is 893 (down from 911 this school year), Class B starts at 429 (down from 449), Class C at 207 (down from 217) and Class D at 206 (down from 216).

However, there is a better way to crunch the numbers: Consider the shrinking gaps between the largest and smallest schools in each class.

For 2013-14, the gap in Class A is 1,888 students – 261 students fewer than 2007-08 and nearly 900 students fewer than in 2005-06. The gaps between largest and smallest in Classes B, C and D also are trending smaller – which means each class actually includes schools more similar in size, instead of a perceived other way around.

SAC 2013-14 on the way

We’re thankful for a valuable group of students who help us throughout the school year – our 16-member Student Advisory Council, made up of eight seniors and eight juniors from all over the state who are  charged with providing feedback on issues impacting educational athletics from a student’s perspective, while also assisting at MHSAA championships and with special projects like the “Battle of the Fans.”

Selecting the next class to join is a highlight of every spring – but hardly an easy process.

A six-member selection committee, myself included, considered 62 sophomore applicants today from all over the Lower and Upper Peninsulas, representing all four of our classes and nearly every sport we sponsor.

Every candidate is impressive for a variety of reasons. That’s what makes this difficult – we could pick any number of combinations to make up our new SAC class, and no doubt leaders galore will emerge from another impressive group.

But there are only eight spots on the council. And we’ll announce who received them later next week.

PHOTO: A golfer attempts to keep warm during a round on a dreary day earlier this season. (Click to see more at HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)

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.)