Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Rowe, Engler, Joki among multiple winners at 36th Kraemer Invitational

IRONWOOD - West Iron County finished in first place in the girls division, while Ashland took home the gold on the boys side at the 36th annual Jack Kraemer Invitational Track Meet at Longyear Field on Monday.

It was the third straight Kraemer title for both the Wykons and Ashland, not counting the 2013 meet which was canceled due to poor weather conditions.

Weather has played a major role in disrupting recent Kraemers. In its first 19-years of existence, the Kraemer was never plagued by a weather cancellation. But there were five cancellations from 1994-2013.

And there were other Kraemer meets that were postponed and later turned into "mini-Kraemers" with fewer teams competing.

Monday's Kraemer had temperatures in the low-to-mid 60s with enough abundant sunshine that fans in the stands needed to break out their shades.

"The meet had good competition, it was well-run and the weather was fantastic," Hurley coach Dan Rye said. ""You couldn't ask for a better day."

Ashland used four first place finishes and good depth in the field events to accumulate 104 points and out-distance second place Bessemer and South Shore/Washburn with 70 points.

Nathan Krueger (2:05.00) edged Wakefield-Marenisco's Sam Dean in the 800 meter run, Jon Litersky won the 110 meter hurdles in 17.10, Shane Tutor was a beast in the shot put, winning with a throw of 50-00 and Tom Sandberg was tops in the discus (116-00).

"We were four points ahead most of the meet," Ashland coach Clay North said. "But we came on strong at the end. And our strengths are distance and the weights."

Zack Mazurek had a hand in 24 of Bessemer's 70 points as he lost two close races in the 1600 and 3200 runs to his friendly rival Jared Joki and anchored the first place 4x800 (9:07.15) meter relay with Brayden Tomes, Lance Berwald and Tim Buerger in .

The Speedboys won the 4x400 relay (3:54.32) with Tim Rowe, Berwald, Tomes and Jess Mazzon on board.

Berwald and Tomes were second and third respectively in the 300 hurdles and Mazzon took second in the rugged 400 dash.

"There were good competitive races today and beautiful weather," Bessemer coach Mark Mazzon said. "The milers, Zack and Tim Buerger, really pushed today and so did the relay teams. Valerie Rowe was outstanding. She won three events and is really stepping up as a senior. Lance and Brandon did well in the hurdles. It was a very well-run meet"

Wakefield-Marenisco and Hurley finished with a surprisingly-strong 69 points and tied for fourth place. W-M found gold in the 4x100 relay as Shane Cole, Jacob Suzik, Kevin Lane and Caleb Greenough ran to a personal best of 47.88 and the four-some took a second in the 4x200 relay.

Kevin Lane won the high jump in 5-10. Sam Dean was second in the 800 run.

Hurley picked up first-place finishes from Dakota Rice in the 400 dash (56.10), Luke Marczak in the 300 hurdles (45.27) and Kris Bluse in the long jump (18-4). Bluse was also the runner-up in the 100 hurdles. Rice was also third in the pole vault in 10-6.

Rice had an interesting 400 dash.

""I lined up and I heard some Bessemer kids say,'Jess Mazzon is in the race,'" Rice said. "'He can run a 54 and is the fastest in the heat'. The 400 is the second toughest race. I had to run a great race. Jess was right behind me and I knew I had to stay ahead. It was a great race."

Ironwood took 6th place with 64 points. Junior Issac Aukee jumped to first place in the pole vault in 11-6 and Jared Joki won two thrilling races (1600 run-4:38.00) and the 3200 run 10:25.0). Joki defeated Mazurek by about two seconds in the 1600 run.

"Zack went out first and I was hoping my legs would come alive," Joki said. "At the end of the first lap, I almost tripped on the back of Zack's shoe. On the last lap, I knew I had to pass him on the back straight-away, but I worried about him catching me like in Drummond."

The 3200 run wasn't as close as Joki outran Ashland's Maury Miller by five seconds and Mazurek by 10 seconds.

West Iron County's Emmy Kinner led the Wykons to a Kraemer win with one impressive performance. She blazed to first place in 400 dash (1:03.34) and was a runner on 4x400 relay team. She was second in the 100 dash (13.81) and the 200 dash (28.41).

WIC racked up 99 points to enter the winner's circle followed by South Shore/Washburn with 77 and Mercer with 67.

Mercer senior Lexi Engler had another big day at the track with first place finishes in 100 dash (13.53) and 200 dash (27.75) and a second place finish in the 4x100 relay (57.9) and a third in the long jump (13-7.25).

"We've been having three meets a week, so I was out here to have fun," Engler said. "And to get ready for the regionals and sectionals. My favorite event is the 200, because it's my strongest event. Our team goals are to get the 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams back to state and individually to go to state in the 100, 200 and triple jump."

Sophomore Sydney Thompson led Mercer's field events with a first place 113-02 discus throw and a shot put toss of 36-08 that was good for second place.

The Bessemer Speedgirls were fourth with 56 points and Valerie Rowe served notice she's planning on having a terrific senior track season. She had three firsts at the Kraemer, broke 9-0 in the pole vault for the first time this year and came across the finish line in 100 meter hurdles with a smile that showed how satisfied she was with her performance.

Lori Wardynski probably would have had two victories at the Kraemer, but she finished second behind Rowe in the 100 hurdles (16.93) and the 200 hurdles (48.81).

"I think I can be a lot better than last year," Rowe said. "I've really worked out hard at SNAP Fitness. I thought she had a chance to catch me, but I wasn't as tired as usual and I pushed it through."

Ironwood placed seventh but won two big relays that surprised even them. Junior Rachel Hudacek, sophomores Vanessa Nasi and Taylor Makinen with freshman Samantha Bratu took first place in the 4x100 (57.6) and 4x200 relays (2:00.88) and were very excited about it.

"That's our first two wins," Nasi said. "We usually finish third or fourth. We practice a lot and being at home was helpful. We even held off Lexi."

Hudacek said the girls had done a lot of work on handoffs.

Hudacek also finished second in the high jump (4-10).

Hurley was eighth with 39 points.

Dani Irons was Hurley's top individual finisher in the pole vault by taking second place with a vault of 7-6.

"We were not too hot and not too cold," Hurley coach Melissa Oja said. "There was good competition today and we had some personal bests."

Wakefield-Marenisco scored 28 points and finished ninth.

It's top performance came from the 4x200 relay team which finished second. W-M has a very young girls team and Evelyn Hokans (eighth grade), Lauren Grace (junior), Ebanie Delich (freshman) and Hannah Plemons (freshman) were timed in 2:02.13.