ESCANABA - There were no major surprises in Thursday's Great Northern Conference cross country meet as the Escanaba boys and Marquette girls kept their titles as expected.
The Esky boys defended their crown with 51 points, followed by Menominee 62 and Kingsford 68.
"Menominee and Kingsford ran well today," said Esky coach Jake Berlinski. "This is as well as I've seen them run all season. This wasn't a great meet for us, although we ran smart."
Holly Richer | Daily Press
Andrew Stenberg of Escanaba and Daniel Kulas of Kingsford battle for first during the Great Northern Conference cross country meet at the Escanaba Country Club Thursday. Kulas won the event with a time of 16:50, with Stenberg following at 16:57. The Eskymo team won the event with 51 points.
The Marquette girls gained their 13th straight championship by placing seven runners in the top 14. They had 29 points.
"We're very pleased," said Marquette coach Dale Phillips. "I thought everybody ran well on all the teams. We're getting healthy, and now it's a matter of keeping everybody healthy for the U.P. (Division 1) FInals. We have the Marquette County Relays coming up on Monday, which will help us for the Finals."
This marked the first time the GNC meet had been held at the Escanaba Country Club since the 1980s when former Esky coach John Prokos was among the main organizers.
Escanaba 51, Menominee 62, Kingsford 68, Marquette 70, Stephenson 113, Gladstone 155.
Top 10 - 1, Dan Kulas, Kingsford, 16:50; 2, Andrew Stenberg, Escanaba, 16:57; 3, Connor Cappaert, Stephenson, 17:02; 4, Lance Rambo, Marquette, 17:07; 5, Davey Luplow, Menominee, 17:19; 6, Eric Cousineau, Escanaba, 17:22; 7, Jordan Ogren, Escanaba, 17:33; 8, Gunther DeDamos, Menominee, 17:42; 9, Aaron Maas, Menominee, 17:47; 10, Nate Carey, Kingsford, 17:56.
Marquette 29, Escanaba and Menominee 49, Gladstone 120, Kingsford 134, Stephenson 163.
Top 10 - 1, Lindsey Rudden, Marquette, 19:16; 2, Kameron Burmeister, Menominee, 19:53; 3, Calla Martysz, Marquette, 20:09; 4, Aimee Giese, Escanaba, 20:28; 5, Aubree Peterson, Escanaba, 20:55; 6, Shayla Huebner, Menominee, 20:58; 7, Callie Heller, Escanaba, 21:01; 8, Lilly Johnson, Menominee, 21:05; 9, Abby Potts, Marquette, 21:06; 10, Nichole Mackey, Marquette, 21:10.
Runner-up Esky and Menominee scored 49 points apiece Thursday, with the Eskymos edging Menominee on a tie-breaker for the third time this year.
"The likelihood of that happening is so small," said Berlinski. "We keep preaching to our kids, every place counts and the girls gave it their all. When you ran as well as we did, you can't complain. Marquette has a great team. They're well coached and they have a lot of talent."
Marquette freshman Lindsey Rudden dominated, covering the 3.1-mile course in 19 minutes. 16 seconds. She was followed by Menominee junior Kameron Burmeister (19:53) and Marquette sophomore and defending GNC champion Calla Martysz (20:09) on this sunny, chilly and breezy day.
"This wasn't my best race," said Rudden. "Although, this was a good day for running. It felt like Calla was pushing me. She's a great runner, and she ran an excellent race. There's a lot of pressure knowing our school has won the GNC so many years in a row. It's also a great motivator. We know we have to work hard to keep the title."
Esky sophomore Aimee Giese placed fourth (20:28) and junior teammate Aubree Peterson was fifth (20:55).
"It was a good race," said Giese. "It was a little cold and windy, and my hands were cold at the mile mark. The cold weather is also a motivator because it makes you want to get done faster. I really like this course. It's nice and flat and the hill at the two-mlie mark isn't too bad."
This was a successful return for Peterson, who's battling a hip problem and didn't run in last week's Gladstone Invitational.
"I was nervous about running today," she said. "I haven't actually run since the Esky home meet (Golden K Kiwanis Invite on Sept. 29). I didn't know what to expect. I just ran as hard as I could. We were really going for first, but we can't complain about second. It's incredible it came down to a tie-breaker between us and Menominee for the third time."
Sadie Strasser was Gladstone's leader in 18th (21:51).
"Sadie was sixth at the mile," said Braves' coach Gary Whitmer. "But she had a side stitch and was really hurting at two miles. Overall, the kids did the best they could."
Kingsford senior Dan Kulas retained his title in 16:50, followed by Esky senior Andrew Stenberg (16:57) and Stephenson sophomore Connor Cappaert (17:02).
"I thought I ran a strong race, and I felt good in the end," said Kulas. "This gives me confidence for the U.P. Finals, which I think will be a good race. I just have to be aggressive. Anything can happen."
Stenberg stayed with Kulas for two miles before the Flivvers' pacesetter began to gain a little separation.
"I think we both slowed down a little in the last mile," said Stenberg. "He just had a little more left in the end. I live only a few blocks away from here, yet I had never been on this course (before this week). It's really a nice course. It's way bigger than I thought it was."
And Cappaert found a way to recover from a slow start.
"I slipped and fell on my knees right after the start," he said. "I was a little down the first mile, but was able to pick it up in the second mile. This was my last race with Dan and Andrew, and it has been a pleasure running with them. This was a good tester for the U.P. (Division 2) FInals. My goal is to place in the top three, and I knew I was going to have to work for it. Lance (Rambo) was right behind me."
Rambo paced Marquette in fourth (17:07), with Menominee's Davey Luplow fifth (17:19).
In the jayvee races, Esky's Hunter Duglas topped the boys (18:36) and Marquette's Martha Storm was the girls' winner (21:47).