ESCANABA - The Escanaba Eskymos added to their trophy collection Saturday, sweeping to top honors in both ends of the Golden K Kiwanis Invitational cross country meet.
Esky's boys captured their third straight large-school title with 26 points.
The Eskymos, crowned champions for the sixth time this season, were followed by Kingsford 52 and Rogers City 82 on Saturday.
Paul Gerard photo
Eric Cousineau of Escanaba sprints toward the finish at Luding Park Saturday morning. Cousineau finished third at 17:18.
Holly Blowers of Manistique runs during the Golden?K Kiwanis Invite at Ludington Park Saturday. Blowers finished third with an early career-best 21:29.
The Esky girls won for the second time this year with 21 points, followed by Gladstone 81 and Rogers City 106.
"Our girls ran real well," said Esky coach Jake Berlinski. "Our boys didn't have their best today. But good teams find a way to win and the guys certainly did that. We had a good day, but not a great day."
Esky sophomore Aimee Giese earned her first varsity victory, covering the 3.1-mile course at Ludington Park in 20 minutes, 25 seconds. She was followed by junior teammate Aubree Peterson (21:05) and Manistique freshman Holly Blowers in a season-best 21:29.
Escanaba 26, Kingsford 52, Rogers City 82, Negaunee 83, Gwinn 129, Gladstone 158. Manistique 167.
Top 10 - 1, Dan Kulas, Kingsford, 17:04; 2, Andrew Stenberg, Escanaba, 17:09; 3, Eric Cousineau, Escanaba, 17:18; 4, Keenan Gantz, Negaunee, 17:22; 5, Paul Williams, Rogers City, 18:07; 6, Jordan Ogren, Escanaba, 18:31; 7, Brad Derouin, Escanaba, 18:38; 8, Gabe Ostrenga, Escanaba, 18:49; 9, Nate Carey, Kingsford, 18:58; 10, Matt Moilanen, Gwinn, 19:36.
Stephenson 49, Norway 59, Munising 61, North Central 108, Marquette North Star Academy 123, Rudyard 127, Big Bay de Noc 137.
Top 10 - 1, Connor Cappaert, Stephenson, 17:32; 2, Brett Hannah, Munising, 18:01; 3, Izaak Mahoski, Munising, 18:16; 4, Ken Truitt, Stephenson, 18:21; 5, Mike Zygiel, Norway, 18:44; 6, Steve Raboin, Norway, 18:54; 7, Sam MacArthur, Munising, 19:04; 8, Adam Graber, Rudyard, 19:34; 9, Jacob Wetsel, Norway, 19:45; 10, Justin Anderson, Norway, 19:48.
Escanaba 21, Gladstone 81, Rogers City 106, Negaunee 108, Kingsford 118, Manistique 135, Gwinn 139.
Top 10 - 1, Aimee Giese, Escanaba, 20:25; 2, Aubree Peterson, Escanaba, 21:05; 3, Holly Blowers, Manistique, 21:29; 4, Wyleen Kivioja, Negaunee, 21:33; 5, Callie Heller, Escanaba, 21:40; 6, Brittinie Larson, Escanaba, 22:00; 7, Joanie Stacey, Escanaba, 22:02; 8, Sadie Strasser, Gladstone, 22:20; 9, Clara Churchill, Negaunee, 22:27; 10, Isabelle Wellman, Escanaba, 22:29.
Rudyard 36, Munising 42, Stephenson 82, Norway 87, North Central 135, Big Bay de Noc 147, Forest Park 149, Marquette North Star Academy 174.
Top 10 - 1, Leah Jarvie, Rudyard, 20:58; 2, Caitlyn Havelka, Stephenson, 22:33; 3, Alyssa St. Amour, Munising, 22:47; 4, Anna Baij, Munising, 22:58; 5, Alexis Kallenbach, Norway, 22:59; 6, Kaylee Hoolsema, Rudyard, 23:06; 7, Casey Ponchaud, Forest Park, 23:17; 8, Becky Schwesinger, Rudyard, 23:29; 9, Molly Malaski, Rudyard, 23:35; 10, Emily DesJardins, Munising, 24:00.
"I was trying to get out fast and ahead of everybody," said Giese. "I got into a rhythm and made sure to keep a steady pace. We really wanted to win our home meet, and I think we did a pretty good job today. Our team mascot (senior P.J. Uhazie) coined our motto "Stay Classy."
The boys' race was close all the way, with Kingsford senior Dan Kulas retaining his title in 17:04, followed by Esky senior Andrew Stenberg (17:09) and teammate Eric Cousineau (17:18) on this sunny and mild day.
"It was a good race," said Kulas. "I felt good and had a good kick the last 100 meters. We just try to stay with each other and see who has the better kick in the end."
Stenberg had similar thoughts.
"We both sprinted in intervals off and on," he said. "Both of us were dying after the hill. But once you see the finish line, you always sprint. And he kicked it into a higher gear."
Berlinski was pleased with the effort put forth by both of Esky's frontrunners.
"Andy and Dan are really pushing each other," he said. "I think it will be tooth and nail between them until the end. And it was great to see Aimee get her first high school win. This is absolutely a nice confidence boost for her."
The twin victories were exciting for both teams as Peterson explained.
"Our guys are doing real well and we really worked well together today," she said. "I think we're realizing that we're all very competitive. This will be nice going into the GNCs (Great Northern Conference meet at the Escanaba Country Club on Oct. 11). We're right there. If we continue to work well together, we have a shot. Everybody wants to win equally, whether they're on jayvees or varsity."
Blowers was much happier after taking a spill and finishing 68th at Munising last week and placing 11th at the Stephenson Invitational on Sept. 22.
"I was sick of placing in double digits," said Blowers. "This was a race I really wanted to do well in. Deep down, I knew I could do better than 11th and 68th. My ankle is still a little sore, but I just have to run through it. This is a big confidence boost. This gives me incentive to want to do better."
Gladstone's leader was Sadie Strasser, who placed eighth (22:20).
"For our girls, this was a pretty solid performance," said Gladstone assistant coach Cindi Davis, who was filling in for head coach Gary Whitmer. "Escanaba is stacked. Most of our girls are getting personal bests every time out. They're running well. We had only five boys here today, but they also ran well. They're really working hard."
The Stephenson boys copped the small-school title with 49 points. Norway edged Munising 59-61 for the runner-up spot.
Stephenson sophomore Connor Cappaert won in 17:32, followed by Munising's Brett Hannah (18:01) and Izaak Mahoski (18:16).
"I missed the top guys (Kulas and Stenberg) out there a little," said Cappaert. "I wanted to go out hard, keep a nice spread and start stretching it out at the two-mile mark. This is my first varsity win, so this is very special for me. I thought our team also did well. We want to win our third straight U.P. (Division 2) title, which is a great motivator for us."
The Rudyard girls repeated as champions with 36 points, followed by Munising 42 and Stephenson 82.
Rudyard's Leah Jarvie won in 20:58, followed by Stephenson's Caitlyn Havelka (22:33) and Munising's Alyssa St. Amour (22:47).
In the jayvee races, Esky's Hunter Dlugas topped the boys (18:51), with Sarah Hook taking the girls' race (22:39).