Mid Peninsula track preview: Emeralds, Miners look to dominate MPC meet

ESCANABA – Fresh from sweeping to Division 2 regional titles, the Manistique track teams hope to carry some of that momentum into Thursday’s Mid-Peninsula Conference meet at Norway.

Also entered are Iron Mountain, Westwood, Ishpeming, Negaunee and Gwinn.

Field events begin at 4:30 p.m. (EDT). Running events start at 5.

Negaunee swept both ends of the league title a year ago, with the girls winning for the third straight time and the boys repeating as champs.

“Negaunee is the favorite,” said Manistique girls’ coach Chris Marana. “They have quite a bit of depth. Although, our girls have been running well. I think the they’ll lay it all on the line as they’ve doing. I know they’re up for the challenge. With the different combination of teams and different scoring (from the regional), you never know what can happen.”

The Manistique boys won by a comfortable margin last week, topping runner-up Stephenson 72-39 for the regional crown.

Manistique’s girls collected 78 points compared to 57 by second-place Newberry.

Freshman Holly Blowers won the 800 and 1600-meter runs and was runner-up in the 3200 last week and senior Monica Giles swept the weight events.

“Holly had her A game at the regional,” said Marana. “It was a special day not only for her, but for all our girls. Monica has been so consistent for the past four years. She comes ready and performs in every meet. We had a lot of girls step up in every event. Our pole vaulters are starting to jump well. Our sprinters had been pretty consistent the past two years and are performing well again this year. To see everything pay off, it has been fun.”

Others to watch include Norway’s Alexis Kallenbach (high jump and 400), Iron Mountain’s Hailey LaFleur (400), Westwood’s Caitlin Hewitt (sprints and hurdles) and Katie Etelamaki (distance), Ishpeming’s Alesha O’Brien (high jump), Negaunee’s Ashley Veale (hurdles and sprints) and Clara Churchill (middle distance), Gwinn’s Lydia Asplund (high jump) and Manistique’s Elisa MacGregor (sprints).

For the Manistique boys, senior Kennar Broullire swept the hurdle races and junior Ryan Ramey won the 200 and 400 in the regional. Jared Edwards added a first in discus and Zach Lambert took pole vault.

Westwood’s Vince Carlson earned the D-2 regional 110 hurdles title in a school-record 15.4 seconds last week on his home track.

Others to watch are Iron Mountain’s Dan Kulas (distance) and Luke Zambon (high jump), Ishpeming’s Hunter Wirtanen (sprints), Nate Meyer (400) and Josh Whittington (long jump), Negaunee’s Jason Bell (300 hurdles), Kevin O’Keefe (200) and Alex Dempsey (shot put) and Gwinn’s Kylor Skinner (sprints).