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Braves nearly sweep M-PC XC meet

Todd Rose | Daily Press Drew Hughes (344) of Gladstone sprints toward the finish line to win Mondays’ Mid-Peninsula Conference cross country meet in Flat Rock.

FLAT ROCK — The Gladstone boys were rewarded for a dominating performance here Monday as they captured their first Mid-Peninsula Conference cross country title.

Gladstone, competing in the M-PC for the fourth year, grabbed seven of the top nine places and scored 16 points. The Braves, also longtime Great Northern Conference members, were followed by Westwood 51 and Manistique 71.

Gladstone’s girls edged two-time defending champion Westwood 28-31 for their first M-PC championship. Manistique had 79.

“It has been a long time coming,” said Gary Whitmer, who served as the Braves’ head coach since 2004. “We hadn’t won a conference since I’ve been here. Our kids ran well today. I think this was our best overall performance all season.”

Ishpeming, which won the M-PC at least the past four years, and Negaunee are under 14-day quarantine due to Covid-19.

Gladstone sophomore Drew Hughes won the 3.1-mile race at Richer’s farmhouse in a personal-best 16 minutes, 54.3 seconds. He was followed by junior teammate Giovanni Mathews (17:36.2) and senior brother Lucas Hughes at a personal-best 17:57 on this partly sunny and unseasonably cool day.

“I tried to get into a steady pace,” said Drew. “Only, I didn’t expect to go that fast. When I heard my two-mile split (10:50), Coach told me I was on the ropes to break 17, and I decided to pick it up. The weather conditions were perfect. I’m real happy with my time. It’s also nice to win it as a team. We got five of the top six places, which is awesome.

Lucas Hughes was clocked in 11:23 at two miles.

“At that point, I felt I had a shot at breaking 18,” he said. “I think this is the best day we had for running all season. We had perfect conditions.”

Gladstone senior Blake Krouth took fourth (19:00.1), and Westwood sophomore Ted Hair was fifth (19:14.1).

“We changed the course a little, and I think the kids liked the change,” said Whitmer. “Gio was real excited about his time and where he finished. I’m proud of the way the kids ran. I feel badly for Ishpeming and Negaunee. It’s unfortunate they didn’t get to compete in this year’s M-PC meet.”

Sophomore Grant Mason was Manistique’s pacesetter in 10th (20:14.5).

Westwood sophomore Heidi Meglathery took the girls’ race in a personal-best 20:43.1. She was followed by senior teammate Elizabeth Williams (21:08.6) and Gladstone juniors Jamisyn Bergeron at a season-best 22:03.1 and Samantha Stasler (22:12.3).

“When I saw the finish line, I definitely pushed it,” said Meglathery. “My goal was to get under 21, and I was on pace the whole time. I feel bad for Lola (Korpi of Ishpeming) because she had such a great season and didn’t get to finish it out. Although, I’m definitely glad to have this opportunity. It was nice for running.”

Bergeron also liked Monday’s conditions.

“The colder weather definitely made it easier to breathe,” she said. “I just felt a lot better today than when it was hot. I was trying to get under 22. At least now I know I can do better. It feels great to win as a team. It’ll be nice to see a couple more trophies in our case.”

Sophomore Clara Gilroy was Manistique’s leader in 10th in a personal-best 23:54.1.

“We’re bringing home five medals (three boys and two girls),” said Emeralds’ coach Rebecca Gilroy. “The kids ran pretty well today. This was a good race leading up to the Finals. We’re looking forward to Saturday.”

Gladstone and Westwood are entered in Saturday’s Upper Peninsula Division 1 Finals at Marquette, and Manistique goes to Gaastra (near Crystal Falls) for the D-2 Finals.

Boys

Gladstone 15, Westwood 51, Manistique 71

Top 10 — 1, Drew Hughes, Gladstone, 16:54.3; 2, Giovanni Mathews, Gladstone, 17:36.2; 3, Lucas Hughes, Gladstone, 17:57; 4, Blake Krouth, Gladstone, 19:00.1; 5, Ted Hair, Westwood, 19:14.1; 6, Sasha Olsen, Gladstone, 19:33.6; 7, Jacob Jestila, Westwood, 19:45.6; 8, Wyatt Madden, Gladstone, 19:53.3; 9, Andrew Bracket, Gladstone, 19:59.7; 10, Grant Mason, Manistique, 20:14.5

Girls

Gladstone 28, Westwood 31, Manistique 79

Top 10 — 1, Heidi Meglathery, Westwood, 20:43.1; 2, Elizabeth Williams, Westwood, 21:08.6; 3, Jamisyn Bergeron, Gladstone, 22:03.1; 4, Samantha Strasler, Gladstone, 22:12.3; 5, Retta Boburka, Westwood, 22:15.8; 6, Kayla Farnes, Gladstone, 23:03.4; 7, Lilly Karl, Gladstone, 23:18.4; 9, Lydia Tembruell, Gladstone, 23:51.1; 10, Clara Gilroy, Manistique, 23:54.1.

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