Local runners fare well at U.P. Finals
HARVEY — It was a solid day for Gogebic Range cross country runners Saturday as three placed among the top five in their respective divisions at the Upper Peninsula Finals.
The St. Ignace boys gained their first D-2 championship with 57 points. Hancock edged Ishpeming 67-69 for the runner-up trophy and Ironwood placed fourth at 81 at Gentz’s Homestead Golf Course.
Joki dominated the field of 51 runners, covering the 3.1-mile course in 17 minutes, nine seconds. He was followed by St. Ignace’s Brad Gustafson (18:18) and Andrew Sjogren (18:23) on this sunny and seasonably cool day.
“I had a pretty good idea I would have a decent lead,” said Joki, who was also crowned Indianhead Conference champion Thursday at Hurley. “Although, I was mildly surprised by the margin of victory. I tried to follow a conservative approach.
“I ran a moderate race at conference, so it didn’t effect me too much today. I really like this course and the atmosphere of being at the Finals.”
Ironwood’s Michael Barto placed 10th at 19:25.
The Hancock girls captured their first title since 1990, topping the D-2 standings with 43 points. The Bulldogs were followed by St. Ignace 60 and defending champion Newberry 69.
Norway and Ironwood scored 117 points each, with the Knights taking fourth on a tie-breaker.
Hancock senior Abbey Tembreull was the individual winner at 21:04, followed by St. Ignace’s Lily Calcaterra (21:12), Newberry sophomore Natalie Beaulieu (21:25), Norway sophomore Kyra Johnson (21:30) and Gering (21:37), who was crowed D-2 champion a year ago.
“I think our whole team was feeling it from Thursday,” said Gering, a four-time Indianhead Conference champion who’s interested in running in college. “We were all fairly sore and stiff. We did some stretching on Friday, which seemed to help a little. I wanted to take it easy in the conference meet, but there was a girl from Washburn (sophomore Ketzel Levens) who was really close.”
The North Central boys edged Pickford 66-68 for their first D-3 crown. Third-place Cedarville had 109 points. Bessemer, Wakefield-Marenisco and two-time defending champ Munising didn’t field complete teams.
Stephenson junior Connor Cappaert won in 17:39, followed by Mazurek (17:57) and North Central freshman Seth Polfus (18:18).
“I wanted to stay with the frontrunners and pace off them as much as possible,” said Mazurek, who placed third at Hurley. “Connor had a great race. He went out and took it. Had the conference meet been a little earlier in the week, I think I could have had a faster time. Although, I’m still happy with the way it turned out. Now, I know where I stand for next year.”
Sophomore Sam Dean was W-M’s highest finisher in 11th (19:03).
“Sam had a solid race, too,” said Mazurek. “The weather was perfect. It wasn’t too hot or too cold.”
Munising sophomore Brett Hannah, last year’s D-3 champ, dropped to 10th this time (19:02).
The Munising girls earned their first D-3 title with 43 and Cedarville squeezed past Dollar Bay 54-55 for runner-up honors.
Junior Kayee Hoolsema became the first Rudyard girl to earn a U.P. title in 20:32. She was followed by Munising freshman Marissa Immel (21:16) and Cedarville’s Emma Bohn (21:19).
Freshman Carli Gratopp, the first girl from Paradise to run cross country, placed fifth (21:32).
Bessemer’s Lily Wierenga was the top area finisher in 10th (22:28).
The Marquette girls, as expected, dominated D-1 with 27 points. They were followed by Calumet 89 and Escanaba 112.
Senior Kameron Burmeister became the first Menominee girl since 1980 to be crowned U.P. champion. She completed a perfect season by running a 19:36. She was followed by Marquette sophomore Lindsey Rudden (19:42) and freshman Amber Huebner (19:56).
The Marquette boys also won with 42 points, followed by Esky 75 and Houghton 86.
Marquette sophomore Lance Rambo won at 16:56, followed by senior teammate Cole Rieboldt (17:07) and Houghton junior David Jazsczak (17:22).