MUNISING - The Escanaba girls stepped up when it counted most Saturday, earning runner-up honors in the Upper Peninsula Division 1 Cross Country Finals with 62 points.
Calumet, as expected, won for the third time in four years with 41. Third-place Sault Ste. Marie had 84, with defending champion Marquette fourth at 96.
"We talked to the girls about believing this could happen," said Esky coach Jake Berlinski. "It takes that one special day for something cool to happen, and our seven girls figured out a way to have that one special day. That's a memory as a coach that I'll probably never forget. At least three ran their best times of the year and others were very close. It's such a pleasant surprise we were able to walk out of there with a trophy. It's almost surreal."
Paul Gerard photo
Manistique freshman Holly Blowers runs in a backdrop of fallen leaves during the U.P. Cross Country Finals at Munsing Saturday.?Blowers was Manistique’s leader, finishing 10th at 22:04
Calumet senior Tara Kiilunen became the first girl to be crowned U.P. champion for the fourth consecutive year, covering the 3.1-mile course at Pictured Rocks Golf & Country Club in 19 minutes, 44 seconds on this sunny and seasonably cool day.
"Tara is a great runner and Calumet proved they're that good," said Berlinski. "It's hard to run with expectations of coming in as a favorite, but they handled it very well."
Marquette freshman Lindsey Rudden, who came in as the pre-meet favorite, led by as much as 30 seconds during the race. The Great Northern Conference champion, however, got dizzy and passed out after 2 1/2 miles and needed to be helped off the course.
Calumet 41, Escanaba 62, Sault Ste. Marie 84, Marquette 96, Menominee 101, Houghton 127, Negaunee 203, Gladstone 210, Kingsford 252, Gwinn 267.
Top 15 - 1, Tara Kiilunen, Calumet, 19:44; 2, Leah Kiilunen, Calumet, 19:50; 3, Kameron Burmeister, Menominee, 19:53; 4, Aimee Giese, Escanaba, 20:07; 5, Calla Martysz, Marquette, 20:20; 6, Abbey Helppi, Calumet, 20:31; 7, Wyleen Kniola, Negaunee, 20:33; 8, Rachel Poyhonen, 20:41; 9, Savanna Pinkowski, Sault Ste. Marie, 20:51; 10, Ashley Laux, Houghton, 20:53; 11, Callie Heller, Escanaba, 20:59; 12, Rebekah Wickman, Menominee, 21:03; 13, Aubree Peterson, Escanaba, 21:07; 14, Missy Zenker, Sault Ste. Marie, 21:08; 15, Nichole Mackey, Marquette, 21:10.
Newberry 50, Ironwood 52, Hancock 79, L'Anse 112, Norway 118, Westwood 122, Stephenson 129. West Iron County, Ishpeming and Manistique NTS.
Top 15 - 1, Jessica Gering, Ironwood, 20:40; 2, Hannah Palmeter, Ironwood, 21:27; 3, Rebekah Serbinski, West Iron County, 21:31; 4, Natalie Beaulieu, Newberry, 21:40; 5, Bridgette Stoetzer, Newberry, 21:41; 6, Tori Harris-Hoogenboom, West Iron County, 21:47; 7, Erin McKenzie, Hancock, 21:49; 8, Anna Meese, Hancock, 21:56; 9, Gabrielle Young, Newberry, 22:02; 10, Holly Blowers, Manistique, 22:04; 11, Caitlyn Havelka, Stephenson, 22:06; 12, Gabrielle French, Westwood, 22:11; 13, Alexis Kallenbach, Norway, 22:14; 14, Katie Piispanen, Ironwood, 22:21; 15, Allison Koskinen, L'Anse, 22:59.
St. Ignace 40, Dollar Bay 74, Rudyard 81, Munising 89, Cedarville 101, Painesdale Jeffers 104, North Central 208. Bessemer, Brimley, Carney-Nadeau, Big Bay de Noc, Superior Central and Pickford NTS.
Top 15 - 1, Sarah Cullip, St. Ignace, 19:36; 2, Lily Calcaterra, St. Ignce, 20:47; 3, Leah Jarvie, Rudyard, 20:53; 4, Kaylee Hoolsema, Rudyard, 21:26, 5, Emily Chartrand, Brimley, 21:32; 6, Heidi Hugen, Pickford, 21:47; 7, Brooklyn Chambers, St. Ignace, 21:54.2; 8, Carli Daavettila, Dollar Bay, 21:54.3; 9, Cami Daavettila, Dollar Bay, 22:07; 10, Emily DesJardins, Munising, 22:16; 11, Meeghan Randall, Painesdale Jeffers, 22:18; 12, Taylor Perkins, Cedarville, 22:19; 13, Tara Smith, Cedarville, 22:21; 14, Maria Halonen, Painesdale Jeffers, 22:27; 15, Katie O'Rourke, St. Ignace, 22:29.
"It's too bad what happened there," said Berlinski. "We feel so bad for Lindsey. The consolation prize is she gets to come back three more years."
Calumet freshman Leah Kiilunen (Tara's sister) was runner-up (20:50), followed by Menominee junior Kameron Burmeister (20:53) and Esky sophomore Amy Giese (21:07).
"I wanted to go out fast," said Giese. "There were a lot of potholes and puddles (due to recent rainfall) on the course and many runners went around them. I wanted to go right through them. I didn't want to waste any time going around them. Otherwise, it was a good day for the races. The temperature was perfect. Having already run on this course helped. We knew where to go and what to expect."
Esky freshman Callie Heller placed 11th (20:59) and junior Aubree Peterson was 13th (21:07).
Sophomore Josie Gardner was Gladstone's leader in 30th (22:00).
Newberry was crowned U.P. champion for the first time in its school history, edging Ironwood 50-52 for the D-2 title. Third-place Hancock scored 79 points.
Ironwood junior Jessica Gering gained her first title in 20:40, followed by senior teammate Hannah Palmeter (21:27) and West Iron County senior Rebecca Serbinski (21:31).
Manistique freshman Holly Blowers placed 10th (22:04) and senior Darby Demers was 17th (23:14).
In D-3, St. Ignace also captured its first crown with 40 points. The Saints were followed by Dollar Bay 74 and Rudyard 81.
St. Ignace senior Sarah Cullip, a two-time D-2 champion, added a D-3 title in 19:36. She was followed by teammate Lily Calcaterra (20:47) and Rudyard senior Leah Jarvie (20:53).
Carney-Nadeau's Casey Charlier was the area's pacesetter in 27th (23:17).