Once in a lifetime

Sami Michell breaks career state title record with four more titles

COMSTOCK PARK — Just when it didn’t seem possible that Sami Michell could top what she had already accomplished, she did it again. The remarkable Reed City senior athlete ended a four-year career in track and field Saturday at the Division 3 track and field finals with achievements that may never again be accomplished by any female in the state. When the meet was over at Comstock Park and the public address announcer called for the first and second place teams to take their trophies, it was a scene probably never viewed before at a state meet. Pewamo Westphalia with about 35 girls, went up to the podium to take their state title trophy. But before that, the announcement came of the runner-up team; Reed City High School. Michell, all by herself, was the only team member eligible for the meet and ran to the podium to accept the trophy for the second-place Coyotes Michell, for the second straight season scored 40 points. This time, it got her team second place and a state trophy. P-W took first with 54 points, but Michell’s 40 put Reed City in second ahead of third place Adrian Madison with 37. Michell scored more points than the Division 3 runner-up for the boys, Mason County Central with 31. “I was so excited,” Michell cried with a huge smile. “I’ve wanted to win a team trophy forever. I figured we needed more people to make it happen.” After the meet had ended, Michell’s father and co-coach, Brent, while waiting for the final standings, figured it was possible his daughter’s 40 got second place. He recalled that Tyrone Wheatley, who ran track for a Dearborn school before becoming an All-Big Ten sensation at Michigan, accomplished the same thing. “I thought about it before,” Sami said. “I didn’t think it would happen the whole meet. Then my dad came down and said, ‘you did it.’ I said ‘did what?’ He said ‘I think you took second.’ I’m so excited.” It marked the second straight year Michell claimed four individual event titles at the Lower Peninsula MHSAA Girls Track & Field Finals. She won the same four events, the 100 and 300 hurdles, long jump and 200 dash last year. The first person to win four individual event titles was Maria Shoup of Mason County Eastern, who took the 100-meter low hurdles, 200-meter low hurdles, 800-meter run and long jump at the Class D Finals in 1979. She was the only Reed City girl in the meet. “Four more golds, pretty amazing,” said Brent Michell. Michell said available information indicates that Sami, with 12 state track and field titles in her career, broke the state record of 10. “The former individual record was 10 and one girl, with a combination of relays and individuals, had 11,” Michell said. “From information we’ve been given, she’s broken all those records today and that’s pretty awesome.” Michell won the long jump to start the day at 17.3.25. But it was a big win for her. Coming off her ACL injury and surgery from last fall, it was the one event she hadn’t done much during the season. “I was nervous all week,” she said. “I came in nervous today. I got the winning jump my first jump, but I didn’t know. I thought I was second the whole time. When I finished my second jump, I realized I was actually first. I was on the verge of tears. I was so stressed out. After it was over and I won, I was so excited. The stress was off my shoulders.” Michell notes she jumps off the knee she injured. ‘”Eventually my knee will get back to completely normal,” she said. “I’ve only long jumped at four meets this year. I was at 17-7 once this year. There was a girl that could have been first and didn’t jump today. Her season PR was better than mine. You never know. I guess she’s injured. I felt awful for her. I know that feeling. It’s not fun.” Her second win came in the 100 hurdles, an event she had won all four season. Her time was 14.04 seconds compared to 15.15 for second “This year I was so nervous for everything,” Michell said. “I’m not usually like that at a state meet. It’s a good nervousness. I’m excited. I was so happy with it. It was my season PR by quite a bit. I can’t be upset with that. It’s a little windy.” The long jump and 300 hurdle state titles were her third straight. The 300 “was the worst time all four years I’ve been here,” she said. “I was nervous for that race too.” Michell was seeded to Brianna Dinneen of Buchahan, the girl that eventually took second, with times of 24.98 to 25.18 “Normally I have a race strategy but today it was just win,” she said. “That’s all I thought about. I felt good out of my blocks and around the curve. The Buchanan girl was ahead of me the whole way. I passed her and I said ‘I’m not losing this.’ I beat her by two-tenths.” Michell caught Dinneen with about 10 meters to go and reacted emotionally when the race ended. It would be final race of her storied high school career. “As soon as I crossed the line I was thinking ‘I don’t know how I did it,’” Michell said. “I was so excited. This was the worst year possible for that. I had knee surgery and six months of therapy. I missed all indoor track and volleyball The weather was awful, my shins were bothering me.” But all that was forgotten as Michell held the state runner-up trophy. What a team.