Strong start for Eskymos in Dome

Girls Track and Field

ESCANABA — The Escanaba girls are looking to build some momentum following a solid track opener.

Esky scored 46 points and finished in sixth place in Tuesday’s Marquette Invitational at Northern Michigan University’s Superior Dome. The Eskymos, however, were less than 15 points out of third.

“I was real happy with the way we performed,” said coach Dan DeLong. “We took a more conservative approach and didn’t overload any of the girls. That track is a little tougher on them.”

The Eskymos have 36 on their team, including six seniors. Among them is two-time Upper Peninsula Division 1 discus champion Jen Brandt, who’s also entered in shot put and high jump.

Also entered in weight events are senior Brittany Judson, juniors Paige Wendt, Morgan Barnhart and Tegan Christensen and sophomore Jenna Pease.

Sophomore Kaitlyn Lord is coming off a runner-up finish in pole vault, with senior Carlee Forvilly and sophomore Courtney Boyle joining Brandt in high jump.

Senior Maddy Willis was Esky’s leading sprinter in the opener. Classmate Lucy Sliva had a sore hamstring and didn’t run Tuesday.

Junior Brooke Baker moved from distance to the sprints this spring. Additiional sprinters include junior Sara Orlando and sophomores Meghan Farrell, Tristen Fix, Alicia Picord and Anna Steger.

Leading the way in hurdles are junior Peyton Rabitoy and Boyle. Joining them are juniors Lacey Dahl and Olivia Toth and sophomore Kylee Johnson.

“Our hurdlers are real strong and I think our field events are strong,” said DeLong. “Megan Marenger (a junior) is starting to gain confidence in the distances. We have some quality people in the sprints and distances, but we’re lacking depth in those events.”

Forvilly, Marenger, senior Michaela Bougie and junior Carlie Mattonen are setting the pace in the distances, with junior Chloe Kievit and sophomore Smanantha Bates also in the mix.

DeLong believes it could be a tight race for the Great Northern and U.P. titles.

“Kingsford is up and coming and Marquette is strong,” he said. “Menominee has a good sprinter and Marquette has good hurdlers. Gladstone’s numbers are down, but they have some quality athletes. Right now, I don’t know what Stephenson has.

“Negaunee may be the leading contender in the U.P. Finals with their two distance runners (Clara Johnson and Emily Poupore). Sault Ste. Marie also has good distance people. I think Houghton will be tough and we’ll be in there. We’re probably not as deep as we’ve been in the past, but we’re pretty well-rounded.”

Esky resumes at home Tuesday in a triangular meet with Marquette and Menominee, then visits Gladstone for Thursday’s Delta County Invitational.

The remaining schedule:

April 25 — Marquette and Menominee; April 27 — Delta County Invitational at Gladstone.

May 2 — at Kingsford; May 5 — Escanaba Jayvee Invitational; May 9 — at Iron Mountain; May 13 — at Negaunee; May 19 — D-1 regional; May 23 — jayvees at Menominee; May 25 — GNC meet at Menominee.

June 3 — U.P. Finals at Kingsford.