Anne Somerville Besanceney
Anne (Somerville) Besanceney was an all-around great athlete, but she excelled in running. She graduated from Luther L. Wright High School in Ironwood with 12 varsity letters total, including letters from basketball, volleyball, track, and cross country. She was part of seven Upper Peninsula Champion Red Devils’ teams—four in track, two in cross country and one in volleyball. Her senior year (1998) was the fifth consecutive year that the Red Devils Girls track team won the Class C U.P. title. During this competition, Besanceney won the 800-meter run, 1600-meter run and helped win two relays. She still holds the Class C record for the 800 meter run, 2:21.27. At one time, Besanceney held six Red Devil Girls Track records. In both 1997 and 1998, Besanceney was named both Runner of the Year at the Dennis Simpson Track and Field Meet in Superior, Wisconsin, and Most Valuable Player for track by the West Pac Conference.
Besanceney only ran cross country for two years at L.L. Wright High School, 1996 and 1997. During those years, she led the team to two U.P. titles by winning the individual championships. She was also named Runner of the Year in 1997 by the U.P. Cross Country Coaches and was a U.P. Dream Team member.
Besanceney played on the varsity basketball team for four years and the varsity volleyball team for three. Basketball and cross country were both fall sports, so Besanceney had to do her training for cross country all on her own. She only competed in those meets that did not interfere with basketball. She also received the Ironwood High School Scholar Athlete Award for both the 1996-1997 and 1997-1998 academic years.
Besanceney received a scholarship to run cross country and track at Michigan State University and competed at the collegiate level from 1998 to 2003. Besanceney led the MSU Cross Country team to their first Big Ten Championship since 1981 in 2001. She earned All-Big Ten and All-NCAA Great Lakes Regional Team honors in 2000 and again in 2001. Ann is one of five women who competed for Michigan State to earn All-American Honors in both cross country and track. She was named Big Ten Athlete of the Week four times during her time at MSU.