FLAT ROCK - The Escanaba boys continued to rule the cross country trails Thursday as they retained the Gladstone Invitational title with 34 points.
Esky, which has won 7-of-8 meets this season, was followed by Kingsford 80 and Marquette 94.
Kingsford had the individual winner, however, as senior Dan Kulas covered the 3.1-mile course at Beauchamp's Grove 16 minutes, 55 seconds. He was followed by Esky senior Andrew Stenberg (16:59) and Marquette freshman Lance Rambo (17:07) on this mostly sunny, breezy and seasonably warm day.
"I kind of pulled away in the last mile," said Kulas. "It helped having the wind pushing on your back in the end. We just had to push a little harder into the wind. This gives me confidence giong into the GNC (Great Northern Conference) meet. I'm looking forward to running on a new course (Escanaba Country Club on Oct. 11). It should be fun."
The leaders, however, temporarily cut back on their pace while heading into the wind shortly before the two-mile mark.
"This was an interesting meet," said Stenberg. "We kind of just jogged into the wind because we were trying to save a little bit for the end. But some of the other guys started catching up, so Dan and I decided we better pick up the pace. We also held back a little at the start while a couple other guys went out real hard."
Escanaba 34, Kingsford 80, Marquette 94, Menominee 98, Gwinn 132, Munising 140, Gladstone 177, Manistique 186, Carney-Nadeau 247, Marquette North Star Academy 264, Ishpeming 283. Big Bay de Noc and North Central NTS.
Top 10 - 1, Dan Kulas, Kingsford, 16:55; 2, Andrew Stenberg, Escanaba, 16:59; 3, Lance Rambo, Marquette, 17:07; 4, Eric Cousineau, Escanaba, 17:13; 5, Brett Hannah, Munising, 17:28; 6, Jordan Ogren, Escanaba, 17:33; 7, David Luplow, Menominee, 17:37; 8, Gunther DeDamos, Menominee, 17:47; 9, Tyler Pomeroy, Manistique, 17:52; 10, Brad Derouin, Escanaba, 17:59.
Marquette 31, Escanaba and Menominee 57, Gladstone 107, Munising 159, Kingsford 175, Gwinn 201, North Central 262. Big Bay de Noc, Carney-Nadeau, Manistique and Ishpeming NTS.
Top 10 - 1, Lindsey Rudden, Marquette, 18:57; 2, Kameron Burmeister, Menominee, 20:08; 3, Calla Martysz, Marquette, 20:19; 4, Aimee Giese, Escanaba, 20:36; 5, Holly Blowers, Manistique, 21:00; 6, Nichole Mackey, Marquette, 21:19; 7, Sadie Strasser, Gladstone, 21:24; 8, Lilly Johnson, Menominee, 21:25; 9, Abby Potts, Marquette, 21:27; 10, Joanie Stacey, Escanaba, 21:30.
Esky sophomore Eric Cousineau placed fourth (17:13), with junior teammate Jordan Ogren sixth (17:33), Manistique senior Tyler Pomeroy ninth (17:52) and Esky senior Brad Derouin 10th (17:59).
"Eric ran his best time this season," said Esky coach Jake Berlinski. "I think he's starting to figure out the sport and has really come on the past couple meets. He really wants to be among the top runners."
The Marquette girls also repeated as champions with 31 points. Esky and Menominee had 57 each, with the Eskymos gaining second place on a tie-breaker.
"Our girls ran strong and our boys did well," said Marquette coach Dale Phillips. "The boys are working harder in practice and it's paying off. Our freshman ran his best time all year and is ready to pop into the 16s."
Marquette freshman Lindsey Rudden was the girls' winner at 18:57, followed by Menominee junior Kameron Burmeister (20:08) and Marquette sophomore Calla Martysz (20:19).
"This wasn't my best race," said Rudden. "Going into the wind was probably little bit of a factor. It felt like I was going faster than I really was. We also didn't get a chance to walk the end of the course because the jayvee race was starting. We really didn't know what to expect."
Martysz, who won last year's race, is glad to have Rudden as a teammate.
"Lindsey is a great runner," said Martysz. "I like having her on the team because she makes everybody faster."
Esky sophomore Aimee Giese placed fourth (20:36) and Manistique freshman Holly Blowers was fifth (21:00).
"I felt I ran pretty good," said Giese. "I got a little tired after the second mile. The wind made it a little hard, although it was nice when we were running in the woods. I've been running with shin splints. I don't notice it during the races, but then they start to hurt afterward."
For Blowers, this marked a personal-best time for the second straight meet.
"I think running against the bigger schools will help me for the M-PCs (Mid-Peninsula Conference meet at Negaunee on Oct. 11)," she said. "I'm getting used to the distance. It keeps getting easier. I seem to be getting better with each meet."
Gladstone's leader was Sadie Strasser in seventh (21:24).
"Sadie is really coming on," said Braves' coach Gary Whitmer. "Josie (Gardner) also ran real well and Iris (Robare) is coming along. Our fifth runner is on medication for an infection and was way back. Otherwise, our girls did well. I think this was a good meet. We had an awesome turnout."
Esky's Joanie Stacey placed 10th (21:30). Teammate Aubree Peterson, however, didn't run due to a hip problem.
"We decided not to run Aubree to keep her healthy for the conference meet," said Berlinski. "We had an excellent day. All the girls ran so well. They put forth the effort we needed, especially when you consider we needed another tie-breaker to beat Menominee. That again shows the importance of the sixth and seventh runners."
In the jayvee races, the Esky boys grabbed 15 of the top 17 spots, led by Tyler Hardwick (18:38). Marquette's Kendra Palomaki paced the girls (22:58).