TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City St. Francis girls track head coach Julie Duffing was named the Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association Division 4 Women’s Track Coach of the Year at the recent MITCA coaches clinic.
Last season Duffing led the Gladiators to the Division 4 state championship, coaching Holly Bullough to state titles in the 800 and 1,600, and Lauren Buckel in a championship in the 400. St. Francis also won a Division 4 regional title. She is entering her third year as head coach at St. Francis.
“Julie has been fantastic,” said St. Francis athletic director Tom Hardy. “She’s so deserving of the award, not just because of the success, but because of her relationship with kids. Are track numbers continue to grow and this year they’re getting even bigger with the number of kids that are going out for the sport. When she got here a few years ago we had nine to 10 kids out for the girls track team and this year we’re going to have 25-30 girls out. Kids just want to be around her. She’s one of those coaches that teaches more than just a sport.”
Aside from the coaching award, Duffing also was awarded a 15-year certificate from MITCA for her years of coaching. Other local recipients were Tom Brown, 30 years, of Traverse City West; Richard Lessard, 30 years, of Bellaire; Jeffrey Tousley, 27 years, of Frankfort; Stephen Braem, 25 years, of Frankfort; and Johnny Ensing, 15 years, of Forest Area.
BATTLE CREEK JUNIOR OPEN: Fourteen junior tennis players from the Grand Traverse Resort Junior Tennis Academy traveled down to Battle Creek to compete in the Battle Creek Junior Open at the Minges Creek Racquet Club.
The Academy had champions in the Girls 18, Boys 16 and Boys 12 divisions along with consolation champions in the Girls 16 and Boys 16 division draws.
Notable results include: Kitty Mast (Traverse City) defeated Christi Druskovich (Traverse City) in the Girls 18 finals by a score of 6-3, 6-1; Natalie Burke (Traverse City) defeated Shannon McDowell (Jackson) in the Girls 16 consolation final by a score of 6-1, 6-1; Skyler Norgaard (Traverse City) was defeated by Andrew Klein (Augusta) by the score of 6-3, 4-6, 1-0; CJ Shoults (Traverse City) defeated Jack Seymour (Williamsburg) by the score of 6-1, 6-0; Austin Wieland (Traverse City) defeated Ben Brow (Traverse City) in the Boys 16 consolation finals by the score of 6-2, 6-7, 10; and Mace Shoults (Traverse City) defeated Shrey Patel (Okemos) in the Boys 12 final by the score of 5-7, 6-2, 1-0.