NORWAY - There wasn't much company for Kingsford senior Dan Kulas and Florence senior Jenny Goeman during Monday's cross country opener as they dominated their respective races in the Norway Invitational.
Kulas retained his title by covering the 3.1-mile course at Strawberry Lake in 18 minutes, 19 seconds. He was followed by Norway's Steve Raboin (19:39) and Florence's Dan Jones (19:45) on this sunny and warm day.
"It felt good to get a meet in," said Kulas, who won the Lake Antoine Class 15-kilometer run at Iron Mountain earlier this month. "I ran a comfortable race, which gives me something to build on. I ran in a few road races and a cross country race at Flat Rock this summer, and I think helped me today. I wanted to get in front as soon as I could. Then, I just cruised once I got separated from the pack."
The Kingsford boys, placing five among the top nine, also repeated as champs with 27 points, followed by Norway 44, Florence 72, North Central 92 and Goodman-Pembine 94.
"For the boys, this was a good start," said Kingsford coach Dan Carey. "Dan looked real strong, but we need to move up our second through fifth guys."
Goeman won for the second straight year at 22:35. Norway's Alexis Kallenbach was runner-up (24:07), edging Kingsford's Meredith Campbell by two seconds.
Kingsford 27, Norway 44, Florence 72, North Central 92, Goodman-Pembine 94.
Top 10 - 1, Dan Kulas, Kingsford, 18:19; 2, Steve Raboin, Norway, 19:39; 3, Dan Jones, Florence, 19:45; 4, Nate Carey, Kingsford, 19:50; 5, Mike Zygiel, Norway, 20:14; 6, Keaton Parent, Kingsford, 20:18; 7, John Johnson, Norway, 20:30; 8, Tyler Beck, Florence, 20:35; 9, Keith Holmes, Kingsford, 20:37; 10, Justin Anderson, Norway, 21:04.
Kingsford 41, Norway 49, Florence 60, Goodman-Pembine 68, North Central NTS.
Top 10 - 1, Jenny Goeman, Florence, 22:35; 2, Alexis Kallenbach, Norway, 24:07; 3, Meredith Campbell, Kingsford, 24:09; 4, Teddy Reed, Goodman-Pembine, 24:32; 5, Angie Tripp, Kingsford, 25:36; 6, Sarah Bietila, Norway, 25:41; 7, Meghan Schultz, Norway, 25:47; 8, Hannah Allen, Kingsford, 26:23; 9, Brooke Soderberg, Florence, 26:43; 10, Fiona Reed, Goodman-Pembine, 26:59.
"I felt I could have done better," said Goeman. "I got little bit of a sideache halfway through the race, although It didn't really effect my pace. I've been running long distances during the summer, but I probably could have worked a little more on my speed."
The Kingsford girls edged Norway 41-49 for the title. They were followed by defending champion Florence 60 and Goodman-Pembine 68. North Central had no team score.
"Our girls are a work in progress," said Carey. "We're a very young team, but Meredith Campbell, Angie Tripp and Hannah Allen ran nice races."
Norway coach Rose Zygiel was pleased with the Knights' runner-up finishes.
"We'll take that," she said. "We're pleased with how we ran in our first meet, and I think we'll get better everytime. Although, we could use a few more runners. Hopefully, we'll pick up a few more after school starts."
North Central's Dillon Robinson placed 13th among the boys (21:44), with Sierra Carley 15th in the girls' race (29:06).
"I thought our young kids gave a good effort," said North Central coach Jerry Root. "We'll know more about our team after our first home meet."
North Central's boys ran without Trevor Ekberg, who's nursing a knee injury but hopes to return in three weeks.
The Jets are idle until Sept. 5 when they host their annual all-class invitational.
Kingsford and Norway are entered in Thursday's Marquette Invitational.