Rapid River retains title, Mid Pen 3rd
RAPID RIVER — As sure as the north wind swept across the Rapid River athletic field, the host Rockets breezed to victory in Thursday’s Division 3 regional boys’ track meet.
Rapid River, which placed in all 17 events, retained its title with 93 points. The Rockets were followed by Engadine 48 and Mid Peninsula 17.
“The kids competed hard,” said Rockets’ coach Steve Ostrenga. “We’re glad to get the meet in. Rick (Pepin) did a fabulous job getting it ready. It’s U.P. weather. The (cold) front came through.”
Rapid River junior Lucas Sundling collected four firsts, taking the 100-meter dash in 11.34 seconds, 200 (23.77) and 400 (54.99) and helping the winning 800 relay.
“Coach has been telling me my starts are kind of slow,” he said. “My pelvis has been unstable and I’ve worked on strengthening my legs because my knees have been sore, which has been helping. The last couple meets, my starts have been a little better.
“I couldn’t run cross country or play basketball and was out of shape coming into this season. I’ve worked extra hard to get back in shape.”
Senior Conner Bryant took the 800 (2:18.86) and helped the Rockets win the three remaining relays on this chilly and windy day.
“The wind was bad on the backstretch,” said Bryant. “Once you got past that, it was relieving. In the homestretch, the wind was pushing you. It’s unfortunate the weather is like this, especially in a meet that really matters.”
In pole vault, Rockets’ junior Luke Gustafson stopped jumping after winning at 10 feet, six inches.
“We had the standard all the way back and the wind kept blowing us into the bar,” said Gustafson, who also helped the 1600 and 3200 relays. “After getting the winning jump, there was no point in continuing. I didn’t want to get hurt before the (Upper Peninsula) Finals.”
Senior Mason Berglund added firsts in the 110 hurdles (16.86) and 300s (45.21) and a fourth in pole vault (9-0).
“Mason coming back (from an injury) helped us,” said Ostranga. “We qualified in every event, which is awesome and a tribute to our kids. I thought Engadine had a nice meet. It was kind of hard to run in that wind. All the kids ran hard, which is a tribute to all the teams.”
Senior Jared Anderson took the 3200 (11:16.72) and junior Logan Hardwick won discus (132-9 1/2).
Engadine took first in three field events. Junior Hugh Biglow copped high jump (5-8). Joe Snider took long jump (18-9) and Scout Bigger captured shot put with a personal-best toss of 44-9.
Junior Dalton Zdebski added a first in the 1600 (5:15.07), second in the 3200 (11:46.17) and third in the 300 hurdles (49.57).
“I thought our boys did well,” said Engadine coach Howard Hood. “We knew Rapid River was tough. Scout had a nice throw in shot. Unfortunately, Trevor (Brawley) strained his hamstring in the 100, which hurt us in the 400 relay.”
The top four finishers in individual events and top two relay teams qualified for the U.P. Finals, set for June 3 in Kingsford.
Rapid River hosts the Skyline Central Conference meet Tuesday.