ISHPEMING, Mich. (WJMN) – For over 40 years Michelle Lexmond’s 1600m school record held strong. But records are meant to be broken and just last week, Ishpeming’s Lola Korpi re-wrote the record books.
Entering last week’s MHSAA Regional track meet at Ishpeming High school, junior Lola Korpi wasn’t expecting to make history.
Nothing could have prepared her for what was about to take place as she lined up to run the 1600m (1-mile) event.
“I didn’t expect it because it was the regional meet and I just needed to qualify,” said Korpi. “The weather it was all right, it was kind of cold but it was windy. The wind really affects your time a lot, so yeah, I wasn’t expecting it.”
Despite the unfavorable weather, Lola kept a record setting pace throughout her run.
“I was just really, really paying attention to my times and my dad, he was standing at the 200 mark,” said Korpi. “So, I was listening to him but I kind of just like drowned everybody else out. I didn’t hear like cheering or anything.”
Shay Korpi is Lola’s dad and cross country coach. His voice has guided Lola since she began competitive running in the 5th grade.
“He does a lot of the extra work,” said Korpi. “The behind the scenes lifting and other extra workouts. So, he makes me stand out I guess just because I have so much extra that he does for me.”
With her father cheering her on, Lola pushed for the finish line.
“Well I came down the home stretch and I saw 5.19 on the clock,” said Korpi. “I’ve never gotten to the home stretch and saw a time so low like that. There were so many emotions going in my head, like I knew I was going to cross the finish line and break the record by a lot more than I ever thought I would. So, I crossed the finish line and I just fell to my knee’s and I was crying because I was so happy and my sister ran up and gave me a hug, and my coaches. It was a really emotional moment for me.”
Lola’s official time was 5:25.79 almost seven seconds faster than Lexmond’s previous record time of 5:32.10. All of the work that Lola and her dad put in during the offseason paid off with a new school record.
“Yeah, I was looking for him after I crossed the finish line because I just wanted to give him the biggest hug ever,” said Korpi.
“I just congratulated her,” said Shay Korpi. “I got a little teared up. It was emotional for me. The amount of work that me and her have put in in the offseason together in cross country too, it just kind of all came together that one day and it was very, very special.”
Days after her record breaking performance, Lola received a very special gift.
“Michelle Lexmond sent me flowers,” said Korpi. “So, they called me down to the office and I just had this huge bouquet. It was so awesome.”
This wasn’t the first time Lola received support from Michelle.
“I was at the Congress [Pizza] one day and there was a note for her,” said Shay Korpi. “She was in there with friends and they were talking about Lola talking about possibly breaking the mile record which she held since 1980. She was kind enough to hand the lady the note that said, ‘Good luck, Lola. I’m your number one fan. I hope you do it.’ That was nice to see and Lola really, really appreciated that.”
Michelle’s support for Lola just goes the show the strength of the Hematite family.
“That just goes to Hematite pride and the community as a whole, this small-knit community,” said Shay Korpi. “We don’t know Michelle and she didn’t have to do that. That was just such a great gesture for somebody like that to do for Lola.”
Lola says she hopes one day she can return the favor.
“I would really like to see my record stand as long as hers did,” said Korpi. “If somebody does break it, I would like to give them a bouquet of flowers too.”