U.P. Track Finals Division 2 Girls: Emeralds are runners-up

KINGSFORD – A solid effort by the Manistique girls got rewarded Saturday as they took home their first runner-up trophy from the Upper Peninsula Division 2 Track Finals.

West Iron County won for the first time with 144 points, followed by Manistique 97 and Newberry 84.

“We’re very happy with being runners-up,” said Manistique coach Chris Marana. “This is a pretty big accomplishment for us. Hopefully, this will jumpstart us for next year. We’re losing some good seniors who will be hard to replace. But we have some good kids coming back. We knew we had to be at our A-plus game to beat West Iron. Our girls definitely competed hard, but West Iron was on top of its game today.”

The Wykons scored in all 17 events and took first in seven, including three relays.

St. Ignace, which copped the D-2 crown the past three years, dropped to D-3 this season.

Manistique freshman Holly Blowers, who was battling a chest cold, won the 800-meter run in two, minutes, 29.56 seconds. She also helped the Emeralds place second in the 3200 relay and took fourth in the 1600 (5:49.59) and sixth in the 3200 (13:20.47).

In the 800, Blowers was followed by Newberry freshman Bridget Stoetzer (2:33.24) and Iron Mountain senior Abby Gerhard (2:34.14).

“I was happy with my 800, but I could definitely feel that cold kick in,” said Blowers. “She (Stoetzer) was close behind me. She tried to make a move (in the second lap), but I didn’t want her to pass me. I wanted to win it for my brother Jamison who’s in the Air Force reserves. This is the first time I got a chance to run in front of him.”

Junior Elisa MacGregor placed second in the 100 (13.59) and helped the Emeralds win the 400 relay and take second in the 800 event.

Newberry freshman Natalie Beaulieu, a niece to Escanaba coach Dan DeLong, won the 1600 in a personal-best 5:34.37 and 3200 (12:12.55) and helped the Indians place third in the 3200 relay.

“I’m pretty happy with that,” said Beaulieu. “I wanted to keep a steady pace. But with this being the U.P. Finals, I found that I went out a little harder. Although, this wasn’t unexpected. I felt good in the 3200 relay and 1600 and was able to get into a rhythm.”