REMUS – If you had told Chippewa Hills girls track and field coach Sally Schafer that her program would go on to win 14 consecutive conference titles following her second season, cementing itself as one of the state’s best, she’d have good reason to question you. After all, the Warriors finished last in their conference in Schafer’s first year (2000).
“It was kind of devastating. I thought, ‘Well, I guess there’s nowhere to go but up,’” Schafer said. “I knew I had good people that I was coaching with and I just decided okay, here we go. We’ve got to turn this around.”
Turn it around they did.
Since 2002, the Warriors have become a powerhouse, winning 92 consecutive conference dual meets, 14 straight conference championships, one MHSAA state title and a pair of Michigan Interscholastic Track Coaches Association state crowns.
“It’s always in our mind and we’re always thinking about it,” said senior Joelle Humpula, on the dual meet winning streak. “We come to practice thinking we’ve got to keep this streak going and we do what we have to do.”
After years of conference and regional domination, the Warriors finally broke through on the state scene in 2014, winning the MHSAA Division 2 championship and back-to-back MITCA Division 4 titles (2014, 2015).
With winning comes the expectation of continued success, something sophomore Payton Ethridge says the Warriors thrive on.
“I think it pushes us really hard to keep the expectation,” she said. “It’s really enjoyable when you see other teams and they say, ‘Oh, that’s Chip Hills. They’ve won two state championships."
The Warriors opened their year by capturing their division at Morley Stanwood’s Mohawk Relays on Saturday.
Chippewa Hills continues its league season Tuesday in a Central State Activities Association dual meet at Tri-County.