Esky XC teams finish fifth in opener
MUNISING — Melanie Wenzel enjoyed a shining moment in her cross country debut here Tuesday, helping the Kingsford girls earn top honors in the Munising Invitational.
The junior newcomer prevailed on this sunny, warm and humid day on the Valley Spur Cross Country Trails, covering the hilly 3.1-mile course in 21 minutes, 52 seconds.
“It was fun,” said Wenzel, who grabbed the lead at the halfway point. “I started a little slow, then I picked up the pace. I took the lead on top of the big hill. I didn’t think I was in the lead at first, but I gained confidence through the remainder of the race. All the runners pushed me.”
The Flivvers, placing four in the top 10, edged Westwood 38-42 for the title. They were followed by Ishpeming 103, Stephenson 126 and Escanaba 130.
“Hopefully, we’re going to be a solid team,” said Kingsford coach Dan Carey. “Only, we have to stay healthy. We were missing a few girls, but we have a nice mix this year. We’re looking forward to future races. It builds a little enthusiasm when you start strong.”
The Ishpeming boys, placing five among the top nine, captured their sixth straight title with 25 points, followed by Cheboygan 89, Norway 125, Westwood 128 and Esky 140.
“The kids are working hard and doing pretty well,” said Ishpeming coach P.J. Pruett. “Jonah had a good year in track and hopefully that will turn over in cross country. I’m really pleased. We’ve had to fill Spencer’s (Giroux) shoes, but we’ve been working on it.”
Westwood’s Elizabeth Williams was girls’ runner-up at 22:20, followed by Superior Central senior Danika Walters (22:50), Ishpeming’s Taylor Longtine (23:10) and Kingsford’s Sarah Kulas (23:27).
“It was a tough race,” said Walters, who has an asthmatic condition.
“According to the new rules, we can’t have an inhaler. I also had my wisdom teeth removed (Aug. 6) and haven’t been able to run. Until then I was doing 40 miles a week. I did some cross training in the past couple weeks but still need to work on conditioning.”
Sophomore Cierra Ostrenga was Esky’s leader in 18th (26:19) and freshman Clara Gilroy paced Manistique in 20th (26:38).
“I was impressed with Cierra’s time considering she’s coming off a hip injury and fell the course,” said first-year Esky coach Dominique Bougie. “She looked pretty strong.”
Ishpeming’s Jonah Broberg won the boys’ race in 18:03, followed by Norway’s Adam Cavagnetto (18:09), Ishpeming’s Jordan Longtine (18:20) and Joey King (18:33) and Newberry junior Ephram Evans (18:48).
“I think we did all right for the opener, but we definitely have to improve,” said Evans. “We have a young team and we’re looking to build. It got pretty warm out there, but if you’re in the right mindset the heat is not a factor. Conditioning also plays a role. The better shape you’re in, the better you can handle it. This is a good course for the season-opener. It makes you work hard.”
Derek Douglas was Esky’s pacesetter in sixth (18:52) and senior Alex Misniakiewicz led Manistique in 17th (21:17).
“We have a pretty young team,” said Bougie. “I thought the boys and girls did well and Derek did real well.”
Ishpeming 25, Cheboygan 89, Norway 125, Westwood 128, Escanaba 140, Newberry 153, Manistique 156, Stephenson 160, Kingsford 208, North Central 245, Superior Central 263.
1, Jonah Broberg, Ishpeming, 18:03; 2, Adam Cavagnetto, Norway, 18:09; 3, Jordan Longtine, Ishpeming, 18:20; 4, Joey King, Ishpeming, 18:33; 5, Ephram Evans, Newberry, 18:48; 6, Derek Douglas, Escanaba, 18:52; 7, Adam Kosanke, Cheboygan, 19:03; 8, Silas Broberg, Ishpeming, 19;06; 9, David Liimatta, Ishpeming, 19:22; 10, Cody Jewell, Cheboygan, 19:30.
Kingsford 38, Westwood 42, Ishpeming 103, Stephenson 126, Escanaba 130, Superior Central 142, Cheboygan 162, Norway 173, Munising 190, Manistique 194, Newberry 201, North Central 205.
1, Melanie Wenzel, Kingsford, 21:52; 2, Elizabeth Williams, Westwood, 22:20; 3, Danika Walters, Superior Central 22:50; 4, Taylor Longtine, Ishpeming, 23:10; 5, Sarah Kulas, Kingsford, 23:27; 6, Tessa Leece, Westwood, 23:36; 7. Hannah Mattila, Westwood, 23:39; 8, Abby Racine, Ishpeming, 24:06; 9, Lily Menghini, Kingsford, 24:10; 10, Gabby Carey, Kingsford, 24:26.