MANISTIQUE - The Manistique Emeralds are light on numbers as they begin this cross country season.
Four boys and two girls represented Manistique in Tuesday's season-opening invitational on the Valley Spur Cross Country Trails at Munising, where it finished near the middle of the pack.
The boys were seventh among 12 teams and the girls placed seventh out of 11.
Senior Tyler Pomeroy took fifth in the boys' race, covering the hilly 3.1-mile course in 18 minutes, 28 seconds.
"Tyler loves cross country," said third-year coach Laurie Lindstrom. "He also likes track, but cross country is his sport. He likes to go out in the woods and run."
The Emeralds resume in Friday's Marquette Relays, which begin at 10 a.m.
The remaining schedule:
Aug. 24 - at Marquette; Aug. 30 - at Marquette.
Sept. 8 - at Ishpeming; Sept. 15 - at Newberry; Sept. 20 - Manistique Invitational; Sept. 22 - at Stephenson; Sept. 25 - at Munising; Sept. 29 - at Escanaba.
Oct. 4 - at Gladstone (Flat Rock); Oct. 11 - M-PC meet at Negaunee; Oct. 13 - at Rudyard; Oct. 20 - U.P. Finals at Munising.
Pomeroy, an All-Upper Peninsula Division 1 selection last season, was joined by senior Bryson Lawrence and juniors Ryan Ramey and Robert Ayotte on Tuesday.
"Bryson and Ryan ran together most of the race," said Lindstrom. "I know that's a very tough course, but I think they could have taken about 40 seconds off their time. Any of these kids are capable of being a standout by the end of the season."
Freshman Holly Blowers placed sixth (22:21) and senior Darby Demers was 10th (22:51) in the girls' race at Munising.
"Manistique is very flat, and Holly learned a lot from running on the hills," said Lindstrom. "Darby also looks strong. She's used to the hills and ran a steady race. I think Holly will be able to learn from her."
Lindstrom came away from Tuesday's meet impressed with Escanaba and Menominee, which occupied the top two spots in both varsity races. The Esky boys and Menominee girls were crowned champions.
"Their balance, strength and depth is what impressed me," she said. "The teams from both schools are very well trained. They put their time in during the off-season and they're ready. Division 1 will definitely be fun to watch."
The Emeralds, however, return to D-2 this fall after running in D-1 a year ago.
"That's an exciting development," said Lindstrom. "The Stephenson boys look strong, although we haven't had a real good look at the D-2 teams yet."
Manistique is also looking for more runners.
"This spring, we weren't sure if Manistique would still have a cross country program," said Lindstrom. "We didn't get a chance to meet with the kids or give them an opportunity to sign up for the team. For having so few kids, we're happy with the results from our first meet. We encourage other kids to come out. We should be able to pick up a few more after school starts. We appreciate the school board giving us the opportunity to go up there and run."