Wolverines track has small group

PERKINS – With an indoor track meet already under the belts, the Mid Peninsula Wolverines hope it won’t be too long before they get a chance to compete outdoors.

The Wolverines opened in Thursday’s Division 3 Dome Invitational in Marquette where the boys placed ninth and the girls were 13th among 21 schools.

Weather permitting, they’ll resume in Thursday’s Delta County Invitational in Escanaba.

The boys have 10 on their squad, including senior Brett Branstrom, the Upper Peninsula Division 3 recordholder in discus at 154 feet, eight inches.

He also holds the school shot put record (47-1/2), which he set in the Skyline Conference meet at North Dickinson last spring.

“Brett is looking to improve upon his school records,” said first-year coach Bobby Reichel. “I thought we’d have a few more guys this year, but only 10 have been showing up for practice. We have a bunch who should be running, but they’re not coming out for track. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to join.”

Reichel takes over for Julie Koski, who moved to Florida after coaching the team the past two seasons.

The Wolverines scored many of their 26 points in high jump in the opener, led by junior Chad Branstrom’s winning leap of five feet, 10 inches. Brett Branstrom placed third (5-8) and sophomore Trey Branstrom finished in a three-way tie for fourth. Brett also placed third in shot put (45-2 1/2).

Also representing the senior class is sprinter Nick Kausak.

“Nick is one of our main sprinters,” said Reichel. “He’s a pretty athletic kid. It will be interesting to see what kind of times we can get from him.”

Also entered in the sprints are Trey Branstrom and junior Evan WInkelbauer, who’s still hobbling with a broken foot from basketball.

“Evan is probably one of the hardest working kids I’ve seen,” said Reichel. “He wants to break the school long jump record. His foot is still a little stiff, but he’s looking good so far. The hope is he’ll be able to return by mid-season.”

Remaining underclassmen include sophomore Wade Tryan (shot put and middle distance or sprints) and freshmen Max LaCosse (shot put and sprints), Damien Richmond (middle distance) and Brandon Stone and Cody Cayer (distance).

The girls, with 18 on their team, return seniors Krysta VanDamme (weight events) and Kristin Lordson (distance) and juniors Kelsey Shope (high jump and sprints), Elle Lancour (long jump and weight events) and Erin Wodrich (weight events.

Shope was runner-up in high jump (4-10) and VanDamme placed fourth in shot put (31-6) on Thursday.

“Krysta always works hard in practice,” said third-year coach Julie Beauchamp. “She knows many of the techniques and helps by teaching those to the younger girls. Kelsey is looking at the school record in high jump (5-4), which is held by Jill VanDamme. Jill is hoping Kelsey can break it, too.”

Leading sophomores are Hunter Branstrom (weight events), Chrissy Hanson (long jump and middle distance), Kaitlyn Klenow (high jump, long jump and hurdles), Britney Reese (hurdles) and Emily Gudwer (sprints), who missed last season due to a knee injury.

Promising freshmen include Brittany Salmi (pole vault) and Cori Nummilien (middle distance).

“We have some eighth-graders whom I think will help us in the running events and we have some depth in the weight events,” said Beauchamp. “We have a lot of underclassmen. We’re hoping the upperclassmen will help them by teaching them the techniques.”