ESCANABA - The Manistique Emeralds will have a smaller than usual representation at Saturday's Upper Peninsula Division 2 Cross Country Finals.
Those making the trip to Harvey include senior boys Robert Ayotte and Ryan Ramey and freshman girl Kelsey Dehke.
The Emeralds will run without sophomore and Mid-Peninsula Conference girls' champion Holly Blowers and junior Olivia Holmberg, who are attending a family wedding in Hawaii.
"We're hoping Robert and Ryan can close out with a strong run," said Emeralds' coach Laurie Lindstrom. "Robert has been battling a cold and Ryan wants to be All-U.P. again this year. Ryan has been playing football, too. He has been practicing on his own. Kelsey has gained a lot of confidence this year. She's hoping to break 25 minutes (for 3.1 miles)."
This will mark Manistique's first visit to Gentz's Homestead Golf Course, which has hosted the Great Northern Conference meet in the past.
"I wish we would have had a chance to do a meet on that course before this," said Lindstrom. "I'm not at all familiar with the course. Although, Marquette runs a very good meet. They're pretty well organized. We've trained and run on hills all year and ran on grass at Stephenson (Banat). We should be ready."
The Newberry girls are defending champions, but finished well behind St. Ignace in last Saturday's Rudyard Invitational.
Sault Ste. Marie won that meet with 49 points and the Saints were runners-up at 56. Newberry and the host Bulldogs shared fourth with 117.
Newberry sophomore Natalie Beaulieu won the 3.1-mile race in 21:26, seven seconds ahead of St. Ignace's Lilly Calcaterra.
The Saints, who were crowned D-3 champions a year ago, can expect stiff competition from West-Pac Conference runner-up Hancock.
Hancock is led by Abbey Tembruell, who placed third in last week's conference meet in 20:57 at McLain State Park.
Ironwood senior Jessica Gering, who comes to Harvey as D-2 defending champion, was a solid favorite to clinch the Indianhead Conference title Thursday at Hurley, Wis.
Also expected to join the title hunt is Norway sophomore Kyra Johnson.
The Stephenson boys captured the D-2 title the past three years. The Eagles, however, will compete in D-3 this time.
Stephenson junior Connor Cappaert was last year's D-2 individual champion as a sophomore.
The race for the team title appears wide open with Hancock, Ishpeming and St. Ignace expected to be among the frontrunners.
"It will be interesting for the team titles," said Lindstrom. "It could be anybody's race to win."