WAKEFIELD — The Bessemer boys and girls track teams swept the Porcupine Mountain Conference meet in Wakefield on Tuesday afternoon.
The Speedgirls built up point total leads in the hurdle events, the 200 meter dash and the 3,200 meter run as they cruised to an 86-69 win over the Cardinals. Watersmeet was third with seven points. The Cardinals shut out Bessemer in the long jump and put up big points in the 800 meter run.
On the boys side, Bessemer was strong in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meter run and shut down W-M in the 400 meter dash and the long jump as they out-pointed the Cardinals 84-71. Watersmeet followed with 19 points.
“Track and field is a numbers game and they have more bodies than us,” Cardinal coach Jim Engel said. “They’ve got the numbers and some quality and it gets you wins. But we put a little scare into them. Everybody did well and ran well and we’re peaking at the right time.”
Bessemer coach Mark Mazzon quickly pointed out that W-M also has some good quality athletes on its team.
“W-M has good quality,” Mazzon said. “But like we said before, the key is getting those third and fourth places in meets like this. The kids don’t understand that, but those points all add up. It was a great meet before the (U.P.) finals and we didn’t get any injuries. I’m proud of them all.”
W-M’s Paxton Wanink wasn’t feeling well due to allergies, but she ran a great anchor leg in the 400 meter relay as the Cardinals won at the wire. She said the meet had meaning for her team in more ways than one.
“Both the boys and the girls were neck and neck and we wanted to pull it out for the seniors,” Wanink said.
1. Bessemer 86, 2. Wakefield-Marenisco 69, 3. Watersmeet 7
Out of the 17 events on the girls side, Bessemer took first-place finishes in 10 of them.
Sophomore Valarie Rowe was a big winner with four victories, just like in last year’s PMC meet. She owned the hurdle races (100 and 300 meters), easily won the pole vault and was part of the winning 1,600 meter relay team. (Note: Names were not provided for the relay teams).
“It takes a lot of endurance and strength to do all four races, but I felt pretty good today,” Rowe said. “I had better times today and I was able to three-step the hurdles for the first time. I’m excited to be going to the U.P. Finals. I’ve looked at the sheets and I’m probably could be placing in the 300 meter hurdles.”
Brenna Bogacyk can be counted on for double wins in shot put and discus and she didn’t disappoint on Tuesday afternoon.
Julie Ahnen was a triple-winer in the sprint races of the 100, 200 and 800 meter relay. Her 400 meter relay team finished second. Ahnen has been a dual sport athlete competing in both track and field and soccer.
“Soccer and track can be draining,” Ahnen said.”But it’s fun, too. And we had a good day today.”
Ahnen is looking forward to the U.P. Finals and said it “should be fun and pretty competitive.”
Molly Wieringa ran a strong race and took first in the 3200 meter run and Kelsey Meinke finished first in the 400 meter dash.
W-M’s Bethany Engel has had a banner senior track season and she continued her winning ways. She picked up two individual wins in the high jump and long jump. She also ran to wins with the 3,200 meter relay team and took the 800 meters (2:54).
Engel has the look of a confident senior and both she and her coach (and dad) think she can get a medal (top 3 finish) at the U.P. Finals.
Freshman Kassidee Yon ran to victory in the 1600 meter run.
The Cardinal’s team took first place finishes 400 meter, 1600 meter and 3200 meter relays.
Frannie Zelinski of Watersmeet took seconds in the long jump and 100 and 300 meter hurdles.
1. Bessemer 84, 2. Wakefield-Marenisco 71, 3. Watersmeet 19
It was truly a team effort as Bessemer piled up points from a variety of different Speedboys.
In the field events, Taylor Smith (high jump) and Alex Smith (long jump) took first place.
Zack Mazurek (who won the John Jarvi Jr. Memorial Run on Saturday) was Bessemer’s double individual winner in the 1600 and 3200 meter runs.
Jess Mazzon (400 meter dash), Paul Buerger (800 meter run) and Arthur Rundell (pole vault) all ran or vaulted for the gold.
Buerger said he ran some of his best times ever, but he is still looking for more.
“It’s not bad, but I have another gear to tap into and I’m having a hard time doing that,” Buerger said. “Our team has high expectations and when we don’t meet them, we feel like we let a lot of people down. We’re hoping that brings out the best we can run.”
Bessemer’s relay teams in the 1600 meters and 3200 meters were victorious.
Engel is very pleased with his boy’s 400 and 800 relay teams who keep winning, and Engel is already looking ahead to the U.P. Finals on Saturday. The two teams consist of the same runners and they are Jacob Pikka, Eric Lane, Aaron Cook and Caleb Winkler.
“The two boy’s relay teams could grab a place at the U.P. Finals,” he said. “The teams did well and that’s fun to see. They’re looking good.”
Winkler edged out Alex Smith by the slightest of margins in the 100 dash and Winkler doubled his fun by besting teammate Aaron Cook in the 200 dash.
“I thought Alex might have me in the 100, but he came back and I pulled away,” Winkler said. “It was a pretty good day and this was the first time I’ve had four firsts. But I had a lot of help from my teammates.”
Young Colin Gagnon ran to a win in the 300 hurdles.
Lane (discus) and Pikka (shot put) threw well enough to finish first in those two field events.
Watersmeet’s lone first place finish came in the 100 high hurdles as Michael McGrath ran a fine race and won by two seconds.
Some team members and coaches will now turn their eyes to the east and to the U.P. Finals in Kingsford on Saturday. Engel has his two relay teams to go and likes the chances of Bethany Engel and Winkler.
And Mazzon has high expectations for the biggest event in U.P. Track.
“My expectations is for first or second, but there are three other schools right there,” Mazzon said. “We have to get PRs (personal records) from everybody and hope for the best. We’re capable of doing that.”
Full results will be in Thursday’s Daily Globe.