Guardians Earn All-State Honors at Track & Field State Finals

PETOSKEY – June 21, 2024 – St. Michael High School (SMHS), Northern Michigan’s only Classical Catholic high school, announced today that its Track & Field (T&F) teams completed another successful campaign earlier this month at the Division-4 (D-4) State Finals in Hudsonville. For the fourth straight season, Guardian distance runners ascended the podium, earning All-State honors.

First among the All-State performances was a tactically sound 800-meter effort from veteran junior Russell Vandermus.

After a patient first lap, he surged into the second, working his way around perhaps the stoutest field ever assembled for a D-4 800, and into medal contention. Although he faltered just a bit on the final stretch, Vandermus held on for eighth, the last rung on the State podium. His program record time of 1:59.3 was just 0.7 seconds out of fourth place and would have been sufficient to secure a State title many other seasons.

“Russell adhered to his race plan and delivered on his goals,” proclaimed Guardians Coach Larry Rudnicki. “It was a fitting conclusion to his best season yet. He is maturing into a fine runner and I see him as a contender to win the 800 next year.”

Next up was the Guardians’ biggest ‘upside surprise’ of the day – a brilliant, determined 3200 meters from sophomore Cody Bradley in his first-ever State Finals appearance.

There wasn’t much ‘patience’ here – Bradley went straight to the lead pack and settled there, content to let eventual winner, Kalamazoo Hackett’s Marek Butkiewicz, turn up the heat and string out the field. As it sorted out in the later laps, Bradley landed in third, but relentlessly dogged Mason County Eastern’s Alex Tyndall over the final ‘K’ and all the way through the line. Bradley’s third was just 0.2 seconds from Tyndall, breaking his own program record in 9:42.7.

“I loved Cody’s race because of its sheer grit,” commented Coach Rudnicki, “but also because he took on significant risk in vying for second, rather than more comfortably securing third. Had he ‘crashed & burned’ late in the race, there was a pack of guys not far behind, ready to gobble him up. Cody went for it!”

Finally, veteran junior Jane Manthei earned All-State honors in the 3200 for the second straight year, also taking third place. As is her way, Whitmore Lake’s Kaylie Livingston set a blistering early pace, stringing out the field on the first lap, with only Allen Park Cabrini’s Ava Teed willing to give chase. Manthei ended up ‘in space’ in third, easily in front of her pursuers, but unable to reclaim the ground lost early to Livingston and Teed.

“After yet another ‘break out season’ for Jane, that was a frustrating outcome,” conceded Coach Rudnicki. We tried to ‘race plan’ around such circumstances, but it didn’t play out as we hoped. Even so, we had a whole lot to celebrate this season and third place at State is a worthy accomplishment. We’re always proud of Jane.”

Full results from the D-4 State Finals can be found at

As is documented in a separate article, the Guardians qualified their largest-ever Ladies team to the T&F State Finals. That article is available at

The top race for the Guardians that didn’t ‘make the podium’ was the 400 meters where sophomore Charlotte Yanchulis set a new program record, placing 19th in 64.06, just in front of freshman teammate Veronica Paga, who was 20th in 64.14.

The 4×400 meter relay, consisting of Manthei, Paga, Yanchulis, and Marley Kern, placed 21st in 4:30.3.

The 4×200 meter relay, consisting of Kern, Hannah Ledy, Sydney Feagan, and Ella Nolan, placed 40th in 2:02.9.

“What a blessing it was to bring so many of our young ladies to the State Finals!” beamed Coach Rudnicki. “My hope is that the upward trajectory of our program continues and that many of these same ladies are ascending the State podium next spring.”

“I’d like to thank everyone who made our season successful and memorable! Assistant coaches and parents, thanks for your help, especially with transportation and words of encouragement! I’d also like to thank our generous benefactors, without whom we couldn’t do what we do. I’d also offer my thanks and a fond farewell to senior leaders and four-year runners Catherine Hayes and Sydney Feagan. Ladies, you were foundational to our program and you will be missed!”

“Finally, ‘thanks be to God’ for a season immersed in His goodness. May the Lord continue to richly bless us!”

St. Michael High School is High School with a Higher Purpose and a proud member of the Chesterton Schools Network. Established in 2013, the St. Michael mission is to nurture and elevate a new generation of joyful leaders educated in the Classical tradition and truth of the Catholic faith.  For information on SMHS, please visit the school website at

Scroll to Top