Small schools get a chance to shine at Mid Peninsula track Invitational

PERKINS – Mid Peninsula athletic director Gary Brayak has come up with an idea which will be put in motion on Tuesday.

That’s when the Wolverines will host their first invitational track meet, limited to high schools with enrollments of less than 100.

“I’ve been working on this for two years,” said Brayak. “We almost did it last year, but we weren’t quite ready to do it at that time. We have received a lot of positive feedback from the other schools. This will give the smaller schools a chance to win a meet.”

Also entered are Carney-Nadeau, Hannahville, Big Bay de Noc, Grand Marais/Munising Baptist and Republic-Michigamme.

Field events begin at 2 p.m. Running events start at 2:30.

Mid Pen senior Brett Branstrom, who has proven he can compete with throwers from larger schools, hopes to improve upon his school records in shot put (47 feet, 11 inches) and discus (154-8).

BIg Bay junior Cole Potvin earned the Delta County 400-meter title in a school-record 51.81 seconds and was runner-up in high jump with a personal best 6-1 on April 25 in Escanaba.

Mid Pen junior Chad Branstrom also had a PB in high jump while taking third in that meet at 6-0.

“The thing about this meet is it involves only small schools,” said Mid Pen boys’ coach Bobby Reichel. “It will be interesting to see where we’re at with schools our size. We’ll have to put some people in events they’re not used to because that’s where you’re going to get your points. The nice part about this is every school is in the same situation. Kids sometimes get intimidated by the bigger schools. Hopefully, this meet will be encouraging for our kids.”

This meet will be the first this season for Mid Pen junior Evan Winkelbauer, who broke his foot Jan. 3 in a basketball game with Gladstone.

“Evan will be in the 1600 relay in place of Brett,” said Reichel. “Brett will instead do long jump. With Evan’s foot, we don’t want him landing on it too hard. Evan normally does sprinting. But he has been doing fairly good in shot put. We’ll test him there, too. Plus, we’ll have Chad doing the 300 hurdles.”

Mid Pen’s Sarah Hanson earned Central U.P. Conference titles in the 1600 (6:30.26) and 3200 (14:39.2) at home on Tuesday. Senior Kayla Shope captured high jump (5-2) and classmate Krysta VanDamme took shot put (31-4 1/2).

“I think the girls are excited about not having so much competition,” said Mid Pen girls’ coach Julie Beauchamp. “Some of the schools can put four kids in each event, which is intimidating for our eighth-graders. I think they’ll be a little more comfortable in this meet. This will make for more of a level playing field and give us a better chance to compete. We’re lucky enough to have 15 girls on our team, which gives us a little more leeway in entering kids in events.

“We have a good number of schools coming here, especially for our first year. It will be nice to have another meet at home.”

Grand Marais-Munising Baptist placed fifth with 51 points in the Manistique Kiwanis Invitational on April 26, with Michaela Peramaki setting a meet record in pole vault (8-3).

“They (GM-MB) are pretty good,” said Beauchamp. “They also performed well in the (Superior) Dome. For being such a small school, I didn’t expect them to take as many places as they did.”

GM-MB scored 25 points on April 18 at the Dome, where the Wolverines had 19.