Williams named best in U.P. for 3rd time

MARQUETTE – Senior Sam Williams of Marquette Senior High School has won his third straight Upper Peninsula Swimmer of the Year award.

Williams, 17, was chosen along with Gladstone junior Katie Stephenson for Female Swimmer of the Year by the U.P. Swim Coaches Association, the group announced on Wednesday.

Williams won two individual and had a hand in two relay victories for the U.P. champion Redmen at Saturday’s MHSAA U.P. Swimming and Diving Finals.

In the process he smashed U.P. Finals and pool records in the boys’ 200-yard individual medley with 1 minute, 57.11 seconds, 100 breaststroke in 58.02 seconds and 100 freestyle in 48.36 as the leadoff swimmer of the school’s winning 400 free relay. His fourth win came in the 200 free relay.

Williams is a six-time U.P. champion and has been undefeated over the last two years in all events ranging from sprints to distances. He finished his high school career with U.P. records in five events.

Stephenson, 16, won the girls 50 free in 25.72 and 100 backstroke in 1:04.17 at the finals, as well as leading her team’s 400 free and 200 medley relays to wins. It was her second consecutive U.P. title in the back.

Keith Freeman of Kingsford, who announced his retirement at the coach’s meeting, was named the U.P. Coach of the Year in honor of his many years of service.

The following athletes were named All-U.P. swimmers:


Marquette – Allison Halpin, Lyndsey Welch, Lauren Clement and Lauren Rotundo

Gladstone – Katie Stephenson, Sydney Herioux, Jessie Flath, Claire Tembruell and Kirsten Williams

Hancock – Hannah Heikkinen

Houghton – Samantha Olson and Theresa Meyer

Kingsford – Peyton Johnson, Toni DeMerse, Ailie Schoenborn and Hailey Johnson

Rudyard – Trista MacDowell


Ishpeming-Negaunee – Peter Leppanen, Ethan Wallner and Walker Chapman

Marquette – Sam Williams, Ben Luke, Matt Kurin, Andrew Kilpela, Matt Nykanen and Ryan Glover

Gladstone – Matt LeClaire

Houghton – Peter Jaszczak

Sault Ste. Marie – Leevi Olson, Gage Komarnizki and Drake Perez


Girls – Valerie Lachapelle, Westwood; Ellie Raffaele, Sault Ste. Marie, and Kieren Storer, Houghton

Boys – Ricky Vermeulen, Marquette; Kevin Boucher, Sault Ste. Marie; and Erik Finley, Sault Ste. Marie

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.