ESCANABA - Fresh from winning a Division 1 track regional at home last week, the Gladstone boys hope to carry their momentum into Thursday's Great Northern Conference meet in Marquette.
Also entered are Escanaba, Menominee, Stephenson and Kingsford.
Field events begin at 3 p.m., running events at 3:30.
The Braves captured their first regional crown in three years by scoring 64 points. Two-time defending champ Marquette was runner-up with 45.
"That was pretty exciting for the kids," said Braves' coach Gary Whitmer. "They really wanted to get the regional championship back. I think the GNC will be a good meet. That will be a good tune-up for the U.P. FInals."
Marquette is also two-time defending GNC champ.
Gladstone senior Kyle Arvan prevailed in the 3200-meter run at the regional, where less than two seconds separated first from third. Arvan was clocked at 10 minutes, 30.2 seconds, followed by Esky junior Andrew Stenberg (10:31.48) and Sault Ste. Marie's Sam Burtt (10:32).
Arvan also took the 1600 (4:43.87).
"There were a lot of season-best times in the 3200," said Whitmer. "We have a lot of confidence in Kyle. He's so strong and just outkicks everybody. I think he's looking forward to running the 1600."
The Braves also won a tight race in the 800 relay (1:34.03) Thursday, followed by Marquette (1:34.09) and Menominee (1:34.28).
"I'm not sure if (Marquette senior) Garrett Pentecost will be competing on Thursday," said Whitmer. "But Marquette and Menominee have good sprinters and Kingsford has some nice hurdlers. Escanaba is strong in the distances and Stephenson has some nice runners. It will be fun."
Gladstone junior Jared Vuksan is fresh from dominating the weight events, which included a school-record toss of 54-7 1/2 in shot put, with Justin Pedersen adding firsts in high jump and long jump last week.
The Marquette girls are after their sixth straight crown after dominating the regional with 69 points. Second-place Esky scored 35.
"Marquette is definitely the team to beat," said Esky coach Dan DeLong. "We had a pretty good performance in the regional. We qualified four relays and got all our field events in except shot put. We have a lot of depth, but so does Marquette. Other teams probably hurt us more than they hurt them."
Esky seniors Olivia Nash and Meredith Marlett hope to maintain the top two spots in high jump, where Nash is three-time defending champion. Junior Holly Ettenhofer is fresh from a regional title in pole vault at nine feet, with Lynsey Collins a winner in 300 hurdles.
"We may have to get Holly a new pole," said DeLong. "She's jumping well. Brett Young (volunteer assistant coach) has been working with her all season. We owe him a lot of credit for helping our pole vaulters."
Sophomore Aubree Peterson continues to be questionable for the Eskymos due to a hip injury. She ran the 400 on Thursday, falling just .01 second short of qualifying for the U.P. Finals.
"We're trying to get Aubree's legs back under her," said DeLong. "We'll try to tweak a few things and get ready for the Finals."
The Gladstone girls placed fourth in the regional with 24 points, with juniors Andrea Starr and Jessica Young providing firsts in the 100 hurdles and discus, respectively.
"I thought the girls did as well as they could in the regional," said Braves' coach Jim Murtha. "We improved everything and felt it was pretty competitive for second. It was a very competitive regional. Marquette is just a very deep team. They have everything covered pretty well. We're very healthy going into the GNC. The girls are feeling pretty good about themselves."