FLAT ROCK - A tight race for the girls' team championship may be in store in today's Gladstone Invitational cross country meet at Beauchamp's Grove.
The meet starts at 4 p.m. with the combined jayvee race, followed by the girls' varsity, boys' varsity and junior high events. High school races are 3.1 miles. Junior high runners go approximately two miles.
Menominee is fresh from taking the large school girls' title in Saturday's Golden K Kiwanis Invitational in Escanaba, edging Gladstone on a tie-breaker and Esky by four points.
"I think it will be just as close this time," said Gladstone coach Gary Whitmer. "It's a matter of catching the runner in front of you. We've been reminding the kids that every place is important."
Gladstone edged Menominee on a tie-breaker for the title at the North Central All-Class Invitational on Sept. 4 and Esky took three tie-breakers from the Maroons a year ago.
Other schools entered include Manistique, Big Bay de Noc, Munising, Superior Central, North Central, Carney-Nadeau and Stephenson.
Menominee senior Kameron Burmeister, fresh from dominating at Esky, is a solid favorite again today.
"She (Burmeister) ran tough on that course," said Whitmer. "She went out strong and was way out in front at the mile."
The race for the runner-up spot, however, could be interesting with Esky junior Aimee Giese, Gladstone freshman Leigha Woelffer and Manistique sophomore Holly Blowers, all top five finishers on Saturday, in hot pursuit.
Among those to watch is Munising freshman Marissa Immel, who won the small school race in 21:13 on Saturday, and teammate Anna Baij who placed third.
Esky senior Aubree Peterson and junior Isabelle Wellman didn't run Saturday. Peterson was battling sinus problems and Wellman was out with a back problem.
Gladstone lost junior Josie Gardner to a broken foot Sept. 24 at Munising and freshman Alyssa Polley has been battling a cold and sinus problems, but placed ninth at Esky.
The Esky boys will try to carry their momemtum into today's meet after earning their fourth straight Golden K crown.
Esky is led by junior Eric Cousineau, who was runner-up on his home course. The Eskymos also occupied fifth through ninth place, with freshman Joey Wolfe leader of that pack.
Others to watch are Menominee's Davey Luplow and Gunther DeDamos, Stephenson junior Connor Cappaert, Munising sophomore Brett Hannah, Shelter Bay Home School's Grady Kerst, Superior Central senior Nick Maki, North Central sophomore Bryce Holle and freshman Seth Polfus and Carney's Dionte Blahnik.
Luplow and DeDamos placed 3-4 in the large school division Saturday and Hannah edged Cappaert by four seconds for the small school crown.
Gladstone has run in recent meets without senior Chris Sedenquist, who's nursing a foot injury.
"Our third runner, Chad Parks, had a nice race on Saturday," said Whitmer. "I think he's starting to come along. Chris has been biking a lot, but he would have to be able to start running a little this week to be ready for the (Great Northern) conference. They're a good bunch of kids, who have been giving 100 percent. Hopefully, they'll have a break-out race."