Division III girls track: Full-strength Cougars prevail

RAPID RIVER – The Superior Central girls showed what they can do when they field a team at full strength, as they did Thursday at the Division III track regionals. But it was an eighth grader from Grand Marais-Munising Baptist and a freshman from Engadine that stole the show.

The Cougars had their entire team present for the first time this season, and displayed their full potential in winning the regional with 35 points, edging Mid Peninsula by a single point. Bark River-Harris was third at 29.

The Cougars were able to reach their total largely by the strength of their relay teams. They won the 400 and 1600 and took third in the 800.

Teslyn Tyner led Superior Central with firsts in the 100 meter dash and long jump. She also anchored the Cougars winning 1600 relay team. Selina Walters came up with a pair of second place finishes for the Cougars in the 1600 and 3200 meter runs.

Aspen Hood of Engadine had perhaps the most impressive day, qualifying for four events and taking first in all four. She won the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, 200 meter dash and anchored the Eagles winning 800 meter relay team.

“I improved on all my times today, even in the relay,” said Hood, who came just over a tenth of a second away from breaking the school record in the 100 hurdles, which is held by her mother. “She said she’d be very happy if I got the record,” Hood said, adding that she hopes she’ll achieve the mark at the U.P. Finals. She also has another goal in mind when she heads to Kingsford on June 1.

“I probably need to improve on my hurdles mostly, but my biggest goal is in the 200 against a girl that ran it in 26 seconds (Rachel Heatherington of St. Ignace). I ran it in 26 seconds (26.29) today, but my goal is probably to beat her.”

Also raising eyebrows was eighth grader Michaela Peramaki of Grand Marais-Munising Baptist. The young phenom won the pole vault with perfect form at eight feet, six inches and took second in long jump and the 100 meter dash. The co-op brought around 10 athletes in Peramaki’s estimation but still came up with 18 points.

“It’s exciting,” she said. “Being in eighth grade and qualifying for three events, I’m happy. I’ve been working hard and I’m very happy.”

Peramaki’s teammates, Alissa Exelby and Jaylyn LaFlamme also qualified in long jump and 100 meter dash and 100 hurdles respectively.

Another eighth grader, Mid Peninsula’s Sarah Hanson won the 1600 and 3200 by wide margins. In the mile she ran a 6:12.21, 18 seconds ahead of Walters. In the two-mile, she bested Walters by an astounding 37 seconds with her time of 14:10.59.

Sydni Petrie of Bark River-Harris took first in discus with a toss of 106 feet, 11 inches and was second in shot put and ALex Parrotta won the high jump at five feet. Mid Peninsula’s Krysta VanDamme took third in discus and won shot put at 31 feet 2.5 inches and Kelsey Shope won the 400 meter dash and placed second in high jump.

Note: In Division III, only the top two finishers in relay events will advance to the U.P Finals. The top four in all other events will qualify.