Braves’ Bruce wins again, this time GNC

Marquette boys, girls romp

Mark Johnson | Daily Press Gladstone's Adam Bruce running in the lead en route to winning the GNC Conference individual boys title Thursday with a time of 16:53:6.

FLAT ROCK — Gladstone senior Adam Bruce captured his second major cross country title this week, earning top honors in Thursday’s Great Northern Conference meet.

Bruce covered the 3.1-mile course at Beauchamp’s Grove in 16 minutes, 53 seconds, three days after he retained his Mid-Peninsula Conference crown at Westwood.

The first-time GNC champ was followed by classmate Jake Strasler at 17:42, Marquette’s Matthew Gagnon (17:45), Menominee’s Hunter Shepeck (17:48) and Marquette’s Peyton Osborne (18:02) on this mostly sunny, but chilly and windy day at Beauchamp’s Grove.

Marquette, taking five of the top 10 places, edged Gladstone 33-41 for its sixth consecutive title. Third-place Menominee scored 71 points and Escanaba had 89. Kingsford didn’t field a complete team.

“This wasn’t my best race,” said Bruce. “I had been battling a little bit of sickness this week. I’m super proud of our team. This is the closest we’ve been to Marquette. Blake (Krouth) and Andrew (Bracket) pushed themselves and moved up. They’re out there fighting just as hard as I am. Today was a great team day. This gives us something to shoot for at the U.P. Finals (Oct. 20 at Munising).”

The Marquette girls, who grabbed four of the top 10 spots, earned their 19th straight GNC championship with 32 points. They were followed by Menominee 43, Kingsford 65, Gladstone 92 and Esky 119.

Marquette junior Ericka Asmus gained her third straight championship in 20:26. She was followed by teammate Delaney Sall (20:55), Kingsford junior Lily Menghini (20:59) and Menominee’s Hayden Buck (21:04) and Katie Anderla (21:07).

“I’m kind of coming back from a few bad races,” said Asmus. “I was ready to come back. Hopefully, this is a confidence builder. Every year I do well at the GNC. I don’t think about it. It just happens. Our team is really coming together. We feel we’re peaking at the right time.”

Escanaba freshman Ciara Ostrenga led area runners in ninth place (21:58) and Gladstone freshman Jamisyn Bergeron was 11th (22:19).

“The girls ran about how they did all year,” said Gladstone coach Gary Whitmer. “They warmed up real good.”

Gladstone freshman Giovanni Mathews placed sixth (18:09) in the boys’ race and sophomore Derek Douglas was Esky’s pacesetter in ninth (18:22).

“Jake had a nice race and Gio hasn’t been feeling that good, but he still came through for us,” said Whitmer. “Adam talked to the kids and really fired them up. He told them they could do it. Blake ran a PR (18:51) which is good for him, especially with the conditions.”

Marquette coach Kyle Detmers was pleased with the performance by both teams.

“The guys did real well,” he said. “Our gap from one through five was 40 seconds. That’s a pretty nice pack. The girls also did well. Ericka had just one bad race in three years, which is also pretty good. We’re very happy with where we’re at.

“These were tough conditions, but good ones. The course was a little spongy in spots, although it’s in real good shape for all the rain they got. They always do a great job here at Beauchamp’s.”