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Emeralds full of youth

MANISTIQUE — Underclassmen are getting a chance to prove themselves on the Manistique boys’ track team this season.

The Emeralds, who have 22 on their roster, have just one senior and four juniors.

Joseph VanDyke, the team’s lone senior, is entered in the weight events.

Juniors are Blake Espinoza (weight events), Alex LaFayette (high jump, 800 and 3200-meter relay), Alex Miller (open 800 and 3200 relay) and Jude Way (high jump and middle distance).

“With the upperclassmen not having track last year (due to Covid-19), they’re starting to understand what I bring to the table,” said coach Cody Kangas. “I’m counting on these guys to be leaders. Blake puts in a lot of extra time. He’s often at the field, practicing on Saturday.”

The Emeralds took sixth among eight teams in their Kiwanis Invitational and run at Munising Tuesday. They resume in today’s St. Ignace Invitational at 3:15.

“We didn’t quite get first or second place, but the guys gave a consistent effort (in the Manistique Invitational),” said Kangas. “We were missing some guys because of baseball, which is all right. When you get into spring sports, you’re going to have dual-sport athletes.”

Most of the team is comprised of sophomores including Carter Miller, who won the 400-meter dash in 57.25 seconds in a season-opening triangular meet at Gladstone April 22.

Additional sophomores are Alex Ziemba (distance), Grant Mason (middle distance), Ross Pugh and Dillon Hayes, a transfer from Idaho, and Dustin Brewster, who suffered a hip injury at Gladstone (sprints), Jessa Korva (sprints, high jump and long jump), John VanDyke (weight events, pole vault and 800 relay), Elmer Zellar (weight events) and Devin Hicks (pole vault, 1600 and 3200 relay).

“Grant is the leader of the team,” said Kangas. “He works extremely hard. We can put him anywhere, and he’ll be successful. Carter does well in all his events. Ross is a tough kid who will do anything for the team, and Alex PR’d by 1 1/2 minutes (in the 3200) last Friday.”

Freshmen include John Lund (weight events), Landen Dougherty (long jump, 100 and 400 relay); Wyatt Demers (sprints and 1600 relay), Ryan Coplinger (middle distance), Austin Hinkson (distance) and Griffen Miokke (open 800 and 3200 relay).

“Griffen plays hockey and is very well conditioned,” said Kangas. “Austin also played hockey on the state championship team (State Savings Bank, Bantam B, under-14) and did a great job placing fifth in the 3200 last Friday. Wyatt is the fastest kid on the team. He decided to try it, and this year he’s coming into his own. I’m excited to see what he can do. John is a strong kid who works on forms, and Mary Lou (coach Lund) helps with the field events. It should be a fun year.”

The remaining schedule:

May 4 — at Munising; May 6 — St. Ignace Invitational; May 11 — Manistique Invitational II; May 14 — Munising Invitational; May 18 — Newberry Invitational; May 20 — D-1 regional at Marquette; May 24 — M-PC meet at Negaunee.

June 5 — U.P. Finals at Kingsford.

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