Houghton boys, Marquette girls tops at Invite
Esky girls 3rd, boys 4th
IRON MOUNTAIN — Justin Sanpaka was much happier with Tuesday’s results than he was with the results from his previous cross country race.
The Escanaba senior placed fourth in the Kingsford Invitational, covering the hilly 3.1-mile course in 18 minutes, 20.8 seconds on this sunny and warm day at the Iron Mountain City Park.
He was 11th in the Dale Phillips Invitational at Marquette Aug. 31.
“This was a better race for me,” he said. “I felt I went out too fast in Marquette. Today, I ran my own race.
“It was hot, but it didn’t affect me that much. It was a good race. The Negaunee kid (Eric Anderson) was with me in the end. This is a big boost after what happened in Marquette. I felt I had something to prove.”
Houghton, which placed five among the top nine, captured the team title with 28 points. The Gremlins were followed by two-time defending champ Negaunee 47, Marquette 70, Esky 117 and Menominee 153.
Negaunee senior Colton Yesney set the course record at 16:24. He was followed by Houghton’s Seth Helman (17:32.2) and Clayton Sayen (18:00.2).
“It’s hot out there, especially in the open areas,” said Yesney. “The key was to stay hydrated. I trained in the heat this summer at running camps in Ann Arbor and southern Wisconsin, which I think helped. They hammer you down there. We ran up to 12 miles some days, but we got used to it.”
Kingsford coach Dan Cary came away impressed with Yesney’s performance.
“I’ve been here 13-14 years and haven’t seen a kid run like that on this course,” he said. “What he did today was impressive. Emily Paupore (Negaunee sophomore) was impressive, too.”
Junior Griffin Johnson was North Central’s pacesetter in 14th (19:16.2) and Azariah Hernandez led Rapid River in its season debut in 31st (20:49.4).
Marquette ran without seniors Luke Rambo and Garrett Rudden, who were resting up for Friday’s Spartan Invitational at Michigan State.
“Houghton ran real well and Negaunee looked good today,” said Marquette coach Kyle Detmers. “We were missing Luke and Garrett, but this gave a couple other guys a chance to gain some varsity experience.”
The Marquette girls were crowned champions with 37 points, followed by Negaunee 53, Esky 85 and West Iron County 102.
Paupore won at 20:05.3, followed by Marquette sophomore Ericka Asmus (20:25.8) and Negaunee senior Clara Johnson (21:06).
“I didn’t really go in with a strategy,” said Paupore. “I ran according to how I felt, although we actually went out kind of hard. This is definitely a tough course. The hills kept you honest. I wasn’t especially happy with my time. It was hot, but I try not to let the weather affect me. Everybody has to run in the same conditions.”
Freshman Nicole Kamin was Esky’s leader in fifth (22:14) and Katie Anderla paced Menominee in seventh (22:38.3).
“This course was harder than the first two,” said Kamin. “It was hot, although I’ve run in the heat before. I felt I was mentally ready for this race. Getting into the top five here boosts my confidence.”
Besides Asmus, Delaney Sall and Reegan Ketzenberger also placed in the top 10 for Marquette. Sall took sixth (22:33.4) and Ketzenberger was eighth (22:48.5).
“Ericka’s conditioning is real high.” said Detmers. “The tougher the course, the better for her. Delaney and Reegan also ran very well. We had a nice pack today. Tauni Camilli got bumped up to varsity and gave us a good effort.”
West Iron’s Taylor Clark placed ninth (22:56.1) and Kingsford’s Sarah Kulas was 12th (23:37.4).
“Sarah did pretty well,” said Cary. “I think the heat affected our kids overall. We have a young team and some of the kids went out a little too hard.”