Esky, Rockets earn county titles
Prep track and field
ESCANABA — A little bit of work behind the scenes helped the Rapid River boys retain their Delta County Invitational track title Thursday as they scored 163 points.
They were followed by Gladstone 151, Escanaba 131, Mid Peninsula 52 and Bark River-Harris 14.
Esky’s girls picked up where they left off two years ago, winning for the seventh straight time with 142 points. They were followed by Mid Pen 96, BR-H 94, Rapid River 90 and Gladstone 75.
“We really needed this,” said Esky coach Dan DeLong. “Tuesday was an eye-opener for us. Having a little success helped. I think we’ll definitely build upon that for next week.”
Last year’s meet was cancelled due to poor weather conditions and couldn’t be rescheduled.
The Rapid River boys scored 75 points in the field events, taking the top three places in discus and adding three apiece in shot put and pole vault.
“I’m just happy with the way we performed,” said Rapid River coach Steve Ostrenga. “Across the board, every athlete performed with good work ethic. I thought our younger guys did real well. I think we set some standards in what we have to work toward.”
Rapid River junior Gunnar Larson won discus at 133 feet and placed second in shot put (40-8). Senior Logan Hardwick added a first in shot (44-2) and second in disc (124-7) and classmate Luke Gustafson copped pole vault (10-0) on this sunny, breezy and seasonably cool day.
Seniors Cameron Willemsen and Lucas Sundling helped Rapid River take the 800 relay in one minute, 39.53 seconds. Sundling then captured the 400 (55.78) and Willemsen won the 800 (2:10.85).
“This is the first time Cameron ran the 800 in a meet, and I thought he did a nice job,” said Ostrenga. “It was nice to get the first meet (at the Superior Dome) last week, and I thought (athletic director) Nick Nolde and the Escanaba people put on a nice meet.”
Gladstone junior Adam Bruce, battling with IT Band Syndrome, dominated the 1600 (4:49.16) and 3200 (10:24.21).
“I wasn’t proud of my mile (1600) time, but I’m happy with my two-mile time,” said Bruce. “I had some nerves in the 1600. Everybody ran great. Jake (Strasler) ran real well in the 3200. I’m happy to be back. It’s a starting point. This is something to give me some drive for the rest of the season.”
Freshman Calvin Thibault swept the hurdle races, taking the 110s (16.42) and 300 (42.63) in Gladstone’s season debut.
“Calvin looked real strong in the 300s,” said Braves’ coach Gary Whitmer. “The field events killed us and I’m not sure why. We have good coaching and good kids. We just didn’t perform in the field today.”
Esky senior Scout Wunder captured the 100 (11.55) and 200 (23.6) and helped the winning 400 relay (46.95).
“I didn’t expect Scout to do what he did,” said Esky coach Scott Dykema. “Our sprinters did well. Our 400 relay did excellent again and our 800 relay dropped 13 seconds from Tuesday. We performed well, but we don’t have the numbers. We had no points in the hurdles. Our field events did okay, although the other teams have some good field events.”
Mid Pen senior Terry Brower again was a double-winner, taking high jump (6-0) and long jump (19-4). Classmate Brandon Nummilien was runner-up in long jump (18-7) and 1600 (5:24.6).
For the girls competition, Esky junior Kaitlyn Lord won pole vault (7-0) and helped the winning 400 relay (57.2) and senior Peyton Rabitoy took the 100 hurdles (17.3).
Mid Pen eighth-grader Landry Koski copped the 1600 (6:27.12), but the Eskymos grabbed the next four places.
“We had more numbers than the other teams and piled up quite a few points in the distances,” said Esky coach Dan DeLong. “Carlie Mattonen and Makaela Babb were pretty steady in distance. Anna Smith stepped up for us and Kaitlyn did a nice job in pole vault. The girls did a great job running in as many events as they could. When I needed a girl to step into a relay, they were willing to step into a role they weren’t supposed to be in at the beginning of the meet.”
Koski added a first in the 3200 (13:38.31), helped the Wolverines win the 1600 relay (4:44.04) and was runner-up to freshman teammate Daisy Englund in the 800.
Englund was clocked in 2:43.72, with Koski at 2:50.62.
“I felt real good about my mile,” said Koski. “This is the first time I did it all year. I haven’t run that much since cross country (last fall). I wasn’t ready for the 800. I didn’t know how to pace myself. I was also a little nervous about running in the wind, but everything went okay. I’m happy to bring some points to our team.”
BR-H senior Jaelin Lockwood became a triple-winner, taking the 100 (13.3), 200 (27.91) and long jump (15-3). Junior teammate, Hailee Demers was runner-up in the 100 (13.6) and 200 (28.35) and captured the 300 hurdles (53.85).
“I was last coming out of the blocks in the 100, but I feel I’ve gotten faster this year and was able to make up some time,” said Lockwood. “It’s very exciting to come over here and take three firsts. It’s fun competing with Hailee. It helps having that competition in practice. Getting the Dome meet in also helped. We got a chance to see where everybody is at.”
Junior Emily Thibault provided Rapid River with a first in high jump (4-10) and senior Saige Sisson was Gladstone’s leader, winning shot put (32-5) and discus (86-3).