Red-Hot Rockets boys make it six straight CUP track titles

PERKINS – The Rapid River boys met little resistance en route to their sixth consecutive Central U.P. Conference track title Tuesday, scoring 171 1/2 points.

Munising edged North Central 77-75 1/2 for runner-up honors on this mostly sunny and breezy day.

The Rockets collected six firsts, including a trio by freshman Dan Blair.

“We had some good things happen,” said Rockets’ coach Steve Ostrenga. “I’m happy with the effort the guys put in.”

Blair won the 1600-meter run in five minutes, 2.99 seconds and 3200 (11:13.75) and helped the Rockets win the 3200 relay.

Rapid River had 54 points in the distances, taking three places apiece in the 1600 and 3200.

“I thought our distance runners did very well,” said Ostrenga. “Dan had a nice day. Zac Dominique pushed the pace a little in the 800 and took second and Josh Parrett got his first medal bay taking fifth in the 1600. Josh Granquist ran a nice 800 (winning in 2:14.29) for North Central. He’s a tough runner.”

Senior Robert Metter added a first in pole vault at 12 feet and helped the Rockets win the 400 relay, with junior Riley Pajnich winning the 110 hurdles (18.03).

Junior Jake Pearson added seconds in shot put (44-6 1/2) and discus (147-1) and placed third in the 200 (24.47).

Rapid River grabbed five places in the weight events, including three in discus.

“This is only the second time Jake threw the disc in a meet,” said Ostrenga. “That was a nice throw on his part. I thought Robert Metter did a nice job in pole vault and the (400) relay. We’re also happy for John Stropich, who got his first medal in pole vault.

“Also, it was nice to get Eli Orth back and Tyler McGuigan is coming along nicely in the distances. We’re a young team, yet we have some nice leadership.”

Mid Peninsula senior Brett Branstrom swept the weight events, taking shot put (47-5) and discus (151-11).

“Discus was real tight,” said Branstrom. “Jake’s pretty strong. He’s going to be good competition.

“I’m getting used to throwing. I’ve also been working with weights in season and I’m getting stronger. I’m starting to calm down a little after getting beat (by Gladstone’s Jared Vuksan) in the Delta County meet. Jared is a good thrower. I think that helped me out and taught me a lesson. I’m going to try not to let that happen again.”

Munising’s Lucas Gauthier was a triple-winner, taking the 100 (11.68), 200 (23.86) and long jump (17-6).

Besides Granquist’s victory in the 800, North Central got firsts from brothers Logan and Caleb Martin. Logan copped the 300 hurdles (49.07) and Caleb took high jump (5-10).

Big Bay de Noc’s lone first came on junior Cole Potvin’s 53.52 clocking in the 400.