Emeralds’ XC confident

MANISTIQUE — The Manistique cross country program has entered a new chapter as a new coach made her debut in Tuesday’s Munising Invitational.

Rebekah Gilroy takes over for Laurie Lindstrom, who coached the team the past nine seasons.

The Emeralds entered pre-season practices with six boys and three girls. Five more girls, however, were expected to join the team Wednesday.

“That will be a nice boost,” Gilroy said in a telephone interview prior to Wednesday’s practice. “That shows interest in our program. That was a good meet on Tuesday. It was exciting to see the kids run. Quite a few of our kids had never run cross country before. This is a starting point for them.”

The boys are led by senior and Division 2 all-stater Alex Misniakiewicz, who placed 17th in the opener. Joining him are senior newcomer Logan Haggenson, sophomore Jude Way and freshmen Grant Mason, Jake Berry and Alex Ziemba.

“Alex had a rough start to practice, but I’m sure he’ll come back,” said Gilroy. “Logan has already enlisted with the Army and has been training with them few days a week when they come to town. We look for him to be a leader, too.”

Freshman Clara Gilroy represented the girls at Munising by placing 20th. Also among the freshman harriers are Miranda Ryerse and Hope Mason.

“Clara had a pretty good race for her first varsity meet,” said coach Gilroy, who teaches second grade at Emerald Elementary School. “We’re going to have a lot of freshmen on the team. With time, they’ll be excellent runners. We expect to have a strong group of seniors in a few years. Our high school track coach (Amy Nixon) has been working with some of the girls and sending them my way.

“I’m learning a lot right now. I’m coordinating the fundraising and setting up the schedule.”

The Manistique boys took seventh and the girls were 10th at Munising.

The Emeralds resume in today’s Newberry Invitational.

Ishpeming’s boys and Kingsford’s girls were crowned champions in the opener.

“The Kingsford girls did very well and Westwood was right there, and the Ishpeming boys looked real strong,” said coach Gilroy.

Manistique is hosting its invitational Sept. 11 at a new location, the Schoolcraft County Fairgrounds.

The remaining schedule:

Aug. 24 — Newberry Invitational I; Aug. 29 — Marquette Invitational.

Sept. 7 — Escanaba Invitational (at Flat Rock); Sept. 11 — Manistique Invitational; Sept. 14 — Newberry Invitational II; Sept. 19 — St. Ignace Invitational; Sept. 24 — Munising Invitational.

Oct. 5 — Sault Ste. Marie Invitational; Oct. 12 — Rudyard Invitational; Oct. 14 — M-PC meet at Flat Rock; Oct. 19 — U.P. D-2 Finals at Marquette.