MERCER, Wis. — What used to be a battle between rivals Ironwood and Hurley has expanded to Bayfield County.
South Shore won the Indianhead Invite girls cross country race Thursday at MECCA Ski Trails in Mercer, Wis. The Cardinals totaled 48 points. Ironwood and Washburn tied for second with 54 points and Hurley was fourth with 57.
“It came down to a place or two,” Hurley coach Hope Bretting said. “Fourth girls just inching out No. 5 girls. No. 5 girls just inching out No. 6. We’ve got our work cut out for ourselves. It’ll be nice because conference championships are on our turf (Oct. 17 at the Hurley K-12 School).”
Ironwood coach Ben Schmandt said, “It is very tight. It’s going to be interesting down the road.”
Ironwood runners took both individual titles with Jared Joki winning the boys event in 16:17.7 and Jessica Gering taking the girls event in 16:31.5. Both won easily.
It was the debut of Wakefield-Marenisco’s cross country team, a self-funded program that brought three runners Thursday and is coached by Chris Twieten, who brought the Hurley girls to three straight WIAA state meets through the 2012 season. Sam Dean led the Cardinals with a 14th-place finish.
“It was nice to see kids from Wakefield there,” Schmandt said.
Bad weather moved through the area before the meet started and the prospect of more prompted officials to run the 4K middle school and varsity girls races together. Four middle school boys finished before any of the varsity girls.
“I don’t think it hurt them,” Bretting said. “They ran their race regardless. We didn’t get a chance to get on the course like we wanted to. It might have even pushed them a little bit more to have those kids in front of them or right there with them.”
Hurley’s Gabby Pecotte edged teammate Kayla Subert by .1 second for seventh place. Kirkie Pecotte was 7.1 seconds back in ninth place.
“Kayla, Gabby and Kirkie were fantastic,” Bretting said. “It was a good finish between Gabby and Kayla.”
After Gering, Ironwood’s next runner was Sarah Johnson in 14th place.
“I thought all the girls ran well,” Schmandt said. “Sarah Johnson ran well, coming in second for us.”
Schmandt said the goal is to stay healthy, keep working hard and running together as a back.
“If you can turn 10-12-15 (places) into 7-8-9, that would be fantastic,” he said.
Bessemer was led by Lily Wieringa’s 10th-place spot.
“Finishing in the top 10 as a freshman is fantastic,” Schmandt said.
Drummond easily won the boys race over second-place Washburn 36-62. Ironwood was third at 89 with Hurley fifth at 106 and Mercer seventh at 194.
Bessemer’s Zack Mazurek finished fourth in 17:26.1. Brad Vaara led the Hurley boys with a seventh-place finish.
“Brad Vaara was exactly where we’ve been practicing him to be,” Bretting said. “He’s been working to that. We were worried with the hills. It was a fast course with how hilly it was.”
After Joki, Michael Barto was Ironwood’s next finisher in 19th place.
A number of Red Devils had personal bests. That includes Adam Magdziak, who finished in less than 25 minutes.
“That was one of the top times of his career,” Schmandt said. “I’m very happy for Adam.”
Mercer’s D’kota Engler was 40th.
Ironwood goes to Stephenson Saturday and Hurley is headed to Northwestern Tuesday.
Team: 1. South Shore 48, 2. Ironwood 54, 2. Washburn 54, 4. Hurley 57.
Winner: Jessica Gering, Ironwood, 16:31.5.
Hurley: 7. Gabby Pecotte, 18:04.5, 8. Kayla Subert, 18:04.6, 9. Kirkie Pecotte, 18:11.7, 21. Rachel Fedora, 20:01.3; 24. Morgan Pinardi, 20:28.3, 25. Tori Colassaco, 20:54.8, 31. Natalie Moon, 23:16.3.
Ironwood: 14. Sarah Johnson, 18:59.2, 16. Katie Piispanen, 19:27.3, 19. Corissa Mattson, 19:48.8, 20. Neva Bentley, 19:56.4.
Bessemer: 10. Lily Wieringa, 18:13.2, 13. Rachel Mazurek, 18:56.0, 22. Molly Wieringa, 20:11.0.
Wakefield-Marenisco: 37. Lizzy Noble, 33:16.8.
Team: 1. Drummond 36, 2 Washburn 62, 3. Ironwood 89, 4. South Shore 103, 5. Hurley 106, 6. Butternut 110, 7. Mercer 194.
Winner: Jared Joki, Ironwood, 16:17.7.
Ironwood: 19. Michael Barto, 19:15.3, 24. Tim Lorenson, 20:20.6, 26. Colin Clausen, 20:50.7, 27. Jerad Hinds, 20:52.6, 34. Ryan Sobolewski, 21:21.5, 47. Adam Magdziak, 24:50.4.
Bessemer: 4. Zack Mazurek, 17:26.1.
Wakefield-Marenisco: 14. Sam Dean, 18:28.0, 30. Isiah Sturkel, 21:09.3.
Hurley: 7. Brad Vaara, 17:51.8, 20. Dakota Rice 19:16.3, 22. Cody Starkey, 20:16.5, 33. Luke Marczak, 21:20.8, 37. Adam Hendricks, 21:52.7.
Mercer: 40. D’kota Engler, 22:05.7, 44. James Reichard, 22:36.6, 45. Lucas Huybrecht, 22:42.5, 46. Kyle Lukes, 23:07.1; 49. John Klopatek, 26:15.1, 51. John Cassiani, 37:15.1.