MANISTIQUE - Fresh from earning their first track championship this season, the Manistique boys hope to carry some of that momentum into Eighth Annual Manistique Invitational Invitational, which begins today at 4.
The Emeralds, who won Friday's St. Ignace Invitational for the second time in three years, will be joined by Stephenson, Marquette, Munising, Newberry and St. Ignace.
Manistique won last year's meet, edging Marquette by 6 1/2 points (123-116 1/2).
"I was pretty happy with the boys at St. Ignace," said Emeralds' coach Mary Lou Lund. "That was the nicest St. Ignace meet I've been to. It was raining, but there was no wind. It really wasn't too bad over there. We hope to have a repeat on Tuesday, only we'll be facing bigger schools this time."
The Emeralds are led by senior Ryan Ramey, who won the 200 and 400-meter dashes and helped the Emeralds win the 1600 relay on Friday. He also placed second in the 300 hurdles.
"Ryan ran the 300 lows for the first time," said Lund. "He tried them when he was in Arkansas for Spring Break and does them in practice, but doesn't know if he'll run them again."
Marquette, as usual, is strong in the distances where it's led by senior Cole Rieboldt and sophomore Lance Rambo.
Also ready to challenge in the distances are Munising sophomore Brett Hannah and Stephenson junior Connor Cappaert.
"Marquette's numbers present the biggest challenge," said Lund. "Their depth often helps them. We're pretty healthy going in. Tony Floyd (senior sprinter) has a sore calf muscle, otherwise everybody else is healthy. We just want the kids to do their best."
Others to watch are Marquette's Andrew Banitt (middle distance) and Kyle Dickinson (300 hurdles), Munising's Alex Hill (high jump), Andy Cooper (high hump and sprints), Austin Kelto (sprints) and Blaine Bradley (pole vault), Newberry's Leroy Ward-Harbaum (long jump and sprints), and St. Ignace's Andrew Sjogren (distance).
This will be Manistique's second attempt to hold this meet, which was rained out on April 25.
"This has been one hard spring," said Lund. "We just hope the weather holds out."
The Marquette girls are shooting for their third straight title, with St. Ignace fresh from winning its own invitational.
Marquette's leaders are sophomore Lindsey Rudden and freshman Amber Huebner in the distances, juniors Kirsten Iwanski (weight events) and Liz Slagle (sprints) and junior Hunter Viitala (high jump).
St. Ignace is led by Rachel Hetherington (sprints) and Lily Calcaterra (distance).
Sophomore Holly Blowers continues to be Manistique's pacesetter in the distances. Blowers, however, ran the 400 for the first time in St. Ignace and won it in 64.17 seconds.
"Holly did a real nice job in the 400 and had a pretty good day overall," said Emeralds' coach Rob Schwartz. "The kids were glad to compete, only our girls were so banged up. We're looking forward to Tuesday and getting a few more on the track. The girls are very positive. They're working hard and willing to make sacrifices despite the fact we're taking our lumps right now. For example, Morgan Kangas ran with a sore knee and did a good job in the 3200 relay. We run as a team no matter what the situation is."
Others to watch include Munising's Michaela Peramaki (pole vault) and Marissa Immel (distance), Newebrry's Natalie Beaulieau (distance) and Taylor Bryant (pole vault and 300 hurdles), Manistique's Brittany Zellar and Stephenson's Breanna Martin (pole vault).