Marquette heads field in regional

Prep track

ESCANABA — Area track teams face a formidable task as they enter Friday’s Division 1 regional meet at Escanaba High School.

The Marquette teams, based on season-long results, come in as favorites.

Joining them and the host Eskymos are Gladstone, Sault Ste. Marie and Menominee.

Competition in pole vault begins at 2:30 p.m. The remaining field events start at 3, with running events getting underway at 3:30.

The Marquette girls, despite heavy graduation losses from a year ago, have found a way to stay ahead of their U.P. rivals. They’re led by sprinter Izzie Peterson and hurdler Jacki Cammarata.

“Every meet is different,” said Gladstone coach Jim Murtha. “Points are given for just four places in the regionals, making for lower team scores. Marquette tends to do well when the scores are higher. We’re really not worried about them. They’re going to do well. We just want to get as many kids as we can to the U.P. Finals.”

The Braves placed third among four teams in their lone home meet Monday. They were led by junior Sydney Mills, who won high jump and long jump.

Esky is fresh from winning Monday’s meet, with senior Maddy Willis posting victories in the 100, 200 and 400-meter dashes and helping the winning 800 relay. Classmate Jen Brandt added firsts in shot put and discus and sophomore Courtney Boyle swept the hurdle races.

Among the others to watch are Gladstone’s Leigha Woelffer, Esky’s Megan Marenger, Menominee’s Amy Bradfield and Katie Anderla and Sault’s Josie Roos in the distances and Esky’s Kaitlyn Lord in pole vault.

Marquette senior Colin Shinners was selected boys’ Most Valuable Participant in Saturday’s Negaunee Invitational, taking the 110 hurdles and 400 and helping the winning 1600 relay, with junior Garrett Rudden the team’s pacesetter in the distances.

“Marquette has a big team and a lot of depth,” said Braves’ coach Gary Whitmer.

“If we have a good meet, we could be runner-up. It will be interesting. I think we can get all our relays in.”

The Gladstone boys are fresh from winning their lone home meet this season, with sophomore Adam Bruce winning the 1600 in a school-record four minutes, 31 seconds and 3200 (10:21).

Esky was runner-up with junior Scout Wunder taking the 100 and anchoring the winning sprint relays.

“We came back Monday (from Saturday’s Negaunee Invite) and performed well after just a day’s rest,” said Esky coach Scott Dykema. “I think that gave our guys a little more confidence. They’re starting to believe a little more in themselves. We would have liked to have that earlier when we had a lot of kids struggling. They’re starting to understand the way things work. Our team has changed quite a bit. This is not the same team we brought to the (Superior) Dome at the beginning of the season.”

Dykema says he’s pleased with the progress shown in Esky’s relays.

“I think we have two good sprint relays,” he added. “I’m excited about it. We told the guys there’s a possibilty we could get all four relays in. We also have some great high jumpers. We have two going over six feet, yet we’ve seen some going 6-4 and 6-5 out there.”

The top four finishers in each event advance to the Upper Peninsula Finals June 3 at Kingsford.