Redmen top D-1 XC, Braves finish fourth
MARQUETTE — It was a disappointing day for some, but not for Escanaba senior Derek Douglas in the Upper Peninsula Division 1 Cross Country Finals here Saturday.
Douglas placed fourth in the boys’ race, covering the 3.1-mile course in a personal-best 17 minutes, 46.9 seconds on the mostly cloudy and chilly day at Presque Isle Park.
His plan was to use a little different strategy for the Finals.
“My strategy was to go out hard and take the lead and stay with the pack through the woods,” he said. “It was a little cold, but there wasn’t much wind. It felt pretty good taking the lead, and I think it helped me. Although, once we got into the woods, I changed things up. I always get a little tired in the second mile but tend to pick it up in the third. This is a great way to end the season. This was my last high school race. I wanted to give it everything I had.”
Marquette, which placed four in the top seven, retained its title with 38 points. The Redmen were followed by Sault Ste. Marie 47, Houghton 69 and Gladstone 97.
Sault senior Jaron Wyma, who’s verbally committed to Saginaw Valley State, won at 17:19, followed by Houghton junior Eric Weiss (17:32.5) and Marquette sophomore Carson Vanderschaaf (17:40.8).
“Going into this race, I really didn’t know where I’d finish,” said Wyma. “This is a big surprise. I thought it would come down to the last few steps. The last 800 meters were tough. My legs were burning, although I felt good the whole race. I engaged my arms and used the hills to my advantage. I knew I could win it if I toughed it out mentally. I guess you could say I was on a mission. It feels great to win this meet.”
It was a disappointing day for Gladstone. Junior Giovanni Mathews, who took a fall during the race, placed 10th (18:16.1), and sophomore Drew Hughes finished 12th (18:20.4) just five days after taking the Mid-Peninsula Conference title at Flat Rock in 16:54. He also earned his first Great Northern Conference title in Marquette at 17:31.9 on Oct. 15.
“Gio said Drew was having a hard time breathing when he passed him,” said Braves’ coach Gary Whitmer. “There was something physical going on. You never know what can happen. There’s not much you can do.”
The Houghton girls edged Marquette 56-58 for their first title. Sault squeezed past Westwood 82-83 for third place, and Gladstone placed fifth with 144 points.
Houghton junior Paige Sleeman also won for the first time at 20:55.2, followed by Westwood sophomore Heidi Meglathery (21:00.8) and classmate Ingrid Seagren (21:19.4).
“I just tried to stay with the top runners,” said Sleeman. “I like running in colder weather. I wanted to win and wanted our team to win. We were willing to do whatever it took. Marquette has tough runners. Ingrid had a real good race. I felt she held it together well. All the teams and girls ran well.”
Esky junior Ciara Ostrenga reached the top 10 at 22:29.1, and Gladstone junior Samantha Strasler was 17th (22:56.9).
“Quite a few of the girls ran their best races,” said Whitmer. “This has been kind of a crazy year. We’re just glad to get the season in. We’re real proud of our runners. They put a lot of effort into this season.”
Marquette 38, Sault Ste. Marie 47, Houghton 69, Gladstone 97, Menominee 142, Escanaba 162, Westwood 163, Calumet NTS.
Top 15 — 1, Jaron Wyma, Sault Ste. Marie, 17:19; 2, Eric Weiss, Houghton, 17:32.5; 3, Carson Vanderschaaf, Marquette, 17:40.8; 4, Derek Douglas, Escanaba, 17:46.9; 5, Colin Vanderschaaf, Marquette, 17:50; 6, Luke Janofski, Marquette, 17:50; 7, Lincoln Sager, Marquette, 18:05.8; 8, Cody Aldridge, Sault Ste. Marie, 18:06.8; 9, Riley Eavou, Sault Ste. Marie, 18:14.1; 10, Giovanni Mathews, Gladstone, 18:16.1; 11, Branden Peterson, Houghton, 18:18; 12, Drew Hughes, Gladstone, 18:20.4; 13, Hunter Walther, Sault Ste. Marie, 18;26.6; 14, Jake Sullivan, Houghton, 18:32; 15, Davin Evans, Houghton, 18:32.
Houghton 56, Marquette 58, Sault Ste. Marie 82, Westwood 83, Gladstone 144, Menominee 146, Calumet 148, Escanaba NTS.
Top 15 — 1, Paige Sleeman, Houghton, 20:55.2; 2, Heidi Meglathery, Westwood, 21:00.8; 3, Ingrid Seagren, Houghton, 21:19.4; 4, Olivia Moffitt, Marquette, 21:50.2; 5, Elizabeth Williams, Westwood, 21:53; 6, Hayden Buck, Menominee, 22:00.7; 7, Attica Brandt, Menominee, 22:13.9; 8, Guinn Wuorinen, Marquette, 22:18.2; 9, Autumn Eles, Houghton, 22:23.5; 10, Ciara Ostrenga, Escanaba, 22:29.1; 11, Kiira Berg, Calumet, 22:30; 12, Lillian Weycher, Marquette, 22:30.9; 13, Haleigh Knowles, Sault Ste. Marie, 22:32.6; 14, Anna Hildabrand, Sault Ste. Marie, 22:39.7; 15, Hailee O’Connor, Sault Ste. Marie, 22:42.3.