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Mid Peninsula returns two champs

ST. NICHOLAS — Not many cross country teams can claim they have two Upper Peninsula champions on their roster.

The Mid Peninsula girls, however, can claim that as they return junior and defending Division 3 champion Landry Koski and senior and 2017 title winner Daisy Englund.

Englund opened with a seventh-place finish at Marquette, where she covered the 3.1-mile course in 23 minutes, 8.8 seconds, then won the Manistique Invite (22:30.55). Koski was 11th in Marquette (23:57.7) and nine at Manistique (23:47.32).

“That was a nice bounce-back for Daisy,” said coach Mark Branstrom. “She had an unbelievable finish. I heard it was nice for running, but it was miserable for spectators (low 50s and rainy). Daisy has real good athletic ability and a lot of drive. Landry is coming along, slowly but surely. She had a nice finish at Manistique. I think she’ll be back up there pushing Daisy. Some of the girls are trying to find their running style. I’m telling the girls they have to keep pushing themselves no matter where they finish.”

Also on the girls’ roster are junior Shae Lampinen, freshman Rachel Johnson and eighth-grader Tia Nummilien.

“I’m really happy with the team,” said Branstrom. “The seniors we lost are going to be hard to replace. We had a group of girls who had been together a long time. Although, the kids we have are top-shelf. They’re good kids who come from good families and they’re all academically sound.”

Gone through graduation are Kennedy Englund and Chevy Koski, who will be playing basketball at Bay College this winter, and Camryn Croasdell.

Branstrom points to three-time defending Upper Peninsula champion Chassell as the team to beat in Division 3.

“Marco (coach Guidotti) has a program that just reloads,” he said. “I don’t know where they get all those runners, but they grow them up there. I have a lot of respect for the kids who come from that area.”

Representing the Mid Pen boys are freshmen Bradley VanDamme and Connor Constantino.

“They’re young and they’re excellent workers,” said Branstrom. “They’re trying to be cross country runners. As long we get their best effort, that’s all I ever ask.”

The Wolverines resume in the Rapid River Invitational Sept. 26 but are looking for another meet to fill that gap.

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