Clawson girls track and field swept the Macomb Area Conference Bronze league with a perfect 5-0 record in dual-meets and a first-place finish at the divisional meet.

Clawson girls track and field swept the Macomb Area Conference Bronze league with a perfect 5-0 record in dual-meets and a first-place finish at the divisional meet.

Photo provided by Clawson Athletics

Clawson’s Liford and Ketepa return to states, capture MAC Bronze

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Royal Oak Review | Published June 3, 2024


CLAWSON — Two of Clawson High School girls track and field’s best weren’t ready to call it quits just yet.

After leading the Trojans to an unbeaten 5-0 Macomb Area Conference Bronze record, winning both the dual-meet and divisional meet championships, seniors Lovelyn Ketepa and Evie Liford took care of business at the regional meet to secure their second-straight Division 3 state finals qualification.

On May 16 at Clawson City Park, Ketepa won the regional championship in the 400-meter and earned second in long jump while Liford was crowned regional champion in both shot put and discus.

Liford said she made it her mission to return to the state finals stage and said one particular area of improvement helped her accomplish the feat.

“I believe I have improved with my consistency this season,” Liford said. “Last year while throwing, I was able to gain many (personal records) but have only achieved one this season. However, I have stayed consistent with my results and always continue to strive to do better each meet.”

Liford’s consistency followed her to the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 3 state finals on June 1 at Kent City High School as she placed 21st in discus to put a final stamp on her high school career. Liford also finished 28th in shot put, while Ketepa took 20th in the 400-meter and 29th in long jump.

Ketepa was as consistent as it gets all season for Clawson, and Liford said she’s the kind of teammate everyone can count on.

“She is our sprinter and our rock,” Liford said. “When asked to do something, she does it and does it to her best potential with no complaint. She dominates on the track and her teammates expect nothing less.”

Also aiding Clawson in its fourth-straight sweep (dual-meet and divisional titles) of the MAC Bronze were sophomore Alyssa Cohen, sophomore Charly Werenka, sophomore Lucy Thomson, junior Calleigh McMillan, freshman Aniyah Keith, and senior Morgan Kleiner, who qualified for states last year.

Werenka, Thomson, McMillan and Cohen teamed up to earn a state qualification in the 4x800 relay this year, earning 28th, but will be fired up for next season as a group with state finals experience already under their belts.

While Clawson graduated a state finals qualifier last year along with some other talented athletes, Liford said the team’s atmosphere keeps the team a constant threat in the league.

“Although we lose some pretty amazing athletes each year, like our seniors, we stick back together,” Liford said. “We help the newcomers find their own rhythm while also trying to match ours, as the returners continue to push their limits.”

The Trojans will once again be tasked with filling the void of another strong senior class with Liford, Ketepa and Kleiner all set to graduate, but the Trojans have shown in the past that they have the means to make it happen.

A slew of their young runners were able to progress and dig their heels into varsity competition, so another year of experience should show itself next season for the young core.

“I think this team will shape up very well next season,” Liford said. “We have a younger boys team, but they have really stepped up their game this year and it shows, and I can only imagine what they will bring to the table next year. Our girls team also has some younger girls who are not afraid to try new events, some even expanding from the track events to the field events. This creates a promising future of growth, and I know they will not disappoint.”