FELCH - The anticipation of a tight race for the Skyline Conference boys' track championship turned into reality Friday as Forest Park escaped with its fourth straight title.
Forest Park, which secured its victory by winning the 1600-meter relay, scored 112.5 points. The Trojans were followed by North Dickinson 107, Rapid River 106.5 and Bark River-Harris 104.
"This is always about bragging rights," said Forest Park coach Erich Ziegler. "We didn't score as much as we needed in a few events, yet we had some pleasant surprises in others. We had a good (Division 3) regional and conference meet. I think we have some momentum going into the U.P. Finals (June 2 at Kingsford)."
Bark River-Harris’ Trevor Cochrane hits the tape ahead of North Dickinson’s Tim Hruska, Forest Park’s Tyler Lovato and Rapid River’s Riley Pajnich during the 110-meter high hurdles at Friday’s Skyline Conference track and field championships. (Iron Mountain Daily News photo by Theresa Peterson)
North Dickinson, which led by a half-point (104-103.5) heading into the final race, placed fourth in the day's final race. BR-H was runner-up and Rapid River took third.
"I was very pleasantly surprised by that," coach Mike Lindholm said about the Nordics holding a narrow lead so late in the meet. "We placed in some events we weren't supposed to according to the way we were seeded. We had only one hurdler when we went to the Rapid River Invitational (May 10). Now, we have three and they all placed. Those things make a difference. This is always a good meet. It always goes smooth."
Junior Derek Aberly, who anchored the winning 1600 relay, also helped the Trojans win the 3200 relay.
"Every time we run the 1600 relay, we tell ourselves we can do it," said Aberly. "And today we needed it. We're all close and that's what makes running in the last relay so much fun."
Seniors Alex Takala and Jake Devine also helped both relays, with Takala winning the 200 (24.12) and Devine taking the 800 (2:12.68).
Rapid River got firsts from junior Robert Metter's leap of 12 feet, six inches in pole vault, senior Brett Bryant in the 400 (53.12) and freshman David Hough in the 3200 (12:02.97).
BR-H senior Cody Londo was runner-up in pole vault (11-6), but then dislocated his shoulder during an attempt at 12 feet and was taken to an area hospital for treatment.
The Broncos were led by senior Trevor Cochrane, who won the 110 hurdles (15.8) and 300s (41.89) and helped win the 800 relay.
"Our seniors had their graduation and all-night party last night (Thursday)," said BR-H coach Al Bellefeuille. "They came here pretty tired, but still did wonderful. We knew this was going to be a close meet. Only, we didn't realize North Dickinson was that close. There's good talent all the way around. These teams are so close. You don't know what's going to happen from one meet to the next."
Mid Peninsula junior Brett Branstrom won shot put with a school-record heave of 47-1/2 and discus (140-3 1/4).
"I've been working pretty hard in shot and it's paying off," said Branstrom. "My disc has been consistently in the 140s, but I would like to get that up into the 150s. I think I've been putting too much pressure on myself. I need to relax a little more and have fun with it."