Gladstone girls track and field gaining momentum

GLADSTONE — Following a solid showing in their track and field season debut, the Gladstone girls will try to take it a step further in their own invitational today at 3:30.

Gladstone, with 27 on its team, was runner-up to Kewaunee, Wis. in the Purple Power Invite at Marinette April 11.

The Braves swept the sprint relays and junior Jacie Kuljus provided them with a first in the 100-meter dash at 12.97 seconds.

“The girls work real hard and Jacie brings consistency to our sprints and relays,” coach Jim Murtha said. “Our 400 relay time (53 seconds) is about three seconds faster than our peak last year and our 800 relay is already at the same time (1:52.3) as at last year’s U.P. Finals.”

Junior Kristy Karl is coming off a victory in the 100 hurdles in a personal-best 17.76 seconds at Marinette.

“Kristy has put quality time into her hurdle races and wanted to get into the 17s last year,” Murtha said. “She also did well in high jump. The runway was slippery and there was very little time separation between the high jump and hurdles.”

The Braves have just three seniors, including Zoe Gillis who was runner-up in shot put in the first meet, and Kayla Farnes and newcomer Joelle Jordan, who also plays softball, in the distances.

Additional junior hopefuls include Lauren Sundquist in sprints, Adie Tryan (sprints and long jump), Lucy DeGroot and Chelsey Demeuse, who placed second and third in pole vault in the opener, Macy Hansen (mid distances) and Maria Aviles (distances).

Sophomore Lexi Gilbert was Gladstone’s pacesetter in the 1600 and 3200 at Marinette with Peyton Takkunen doing likewise in the 800.

The Braves also have promising freshmen in sprinter Eva Pankoinien and middle distance runner Joselyn Mills.

“Joselyn did well in the 800,” Murtha said. “Our three distance runners put in quite a few miles this winter. They were pretty consistent in cross country, running 2-3 days a week and working with weights. I think we have a pretty well-rounded team. I also think we’re pretty well covered. We have some young and upcoming talent.”

After today’s invite, the Braves travel to Bark River-Harris for the Delta County Invitational April 25.

Murtha points to Marquette as the team to beat in the Great Northern Conference and Negaunee in the Mid-Peninsula Conference.

“Marquette has the numbers and every event covered and we expect Escanaba to be very competitive,” he said. “Although, you never know who’s coming out. Negaunee is definitely the team to beat in the M-PC. Their distances and field events are always strong. Iron Mountain will also be solid and Manistique always has a good team. Also, Houghton’s (non-conference foe) throwing and jumping events always seem to be strong.”

The Braves will also host the Division 1 regional May 15.

The remaining schedule:

April 19 — Gladstone Invitational; April 25 — Delta County Invitational at Bark River-Harris; April 30 — at Marquette.

May 3 — Escanaba Invitational; May 7 — Manistique Emerald Invitational; May 10 — Negaunee Invitational; May 15 — Division 1 regional; May 20 — Mid-Peninsula Conference at Ishpeming Westwood; May 23 — Great Northern Conference at Menominee.

June 1 — U.P. Finals at Kingsford.


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