U.P. Track Finals Division 3: Nordics boys, St. Ignace girls dominate;

KINGSFORD – On paper, the Upper Peninsula Division 3 Boys’ Track Finals appeared to have the makings of a real tight race for the team championship.

North Dickinson made sure that didn’t happen, earning its first title in five years with 77 points.

The real race ended up being for second place, with defending champ Pickford claiming the runner-up trophy this time at 51.

St. Ignace placed third with 48, followed by Rapid River 47 and Mid Peninsula and Bessemer at 46 apiece.

Rapid River was second heading into the 1600-meter relay, leading Pickford by six points and St. Ignace by seven.

Pickford, however, won the day’s final race and St. Ignace was runner-up. The Rockets, who didn’t qualify for that race, dropped to fourth.

“I was hoping for a couple upsets, thinking maybe Forest Park and Superior Central could come through,” said Rockets’ coach Steve Ostrenga. “Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and we didn’t qualify some relays. I thought our guys gave a good effort. We just had some unfortunate things happen.”

The Nordics scored 32 points in hurdles and added 28 in the sprints, with junior Tim Hruska winning the 100-meter dash in 11.53 seconds, 110 hurdles (16.17) and 300s in a personal-best 41.89.

“Their kids rose to the occasion,” Ostrenga said of the Nordics. “They certainly performed in the hurdles.”

Rapid River senior Robert Metter retained his pole vault title at 12 feet, edging North Dickinson junior Logan O’Neil on a tie-breaker.

“This was a nice accomplishment for Robert,” said Ostrenga. “He had a beautiful jump (13-6) in practice on Friday. We were hoping that would carry over, but it didn’t quite happen.”

Superior Central started by winning the 3200 relay in 8:43.06, with the Rockets taking second (8:45.74).

“We took 15 seconds off our (previous) best time,” said Ostrenga. “The guys ran some nice sprints. But we knew Tyler Kienitz could run a nice leg (for the Cougars). It was heck of a race. Hats off to Superior Central.”

Mid Peninsula senior Brett Branstrom was a triple-winner, taking high jump with a personal-best leap of 6-1, shot put (47-11 1/2) and discus (153-9 1/4).

“I think just being here helped,” said Branstrom. “This was my last chance to jump. This was really special. I didn’t have my best throws in shot and disc, although going 3-for-3 is a nice way to end it. We had a perfect day for it. I just didn’t perform as well as I liked.”

Big Bay de Noc senior Cole Potvin won the 400 in a school-record 51.62 seconds, with Superior Central junior Nick Maki runner-up (52.97).

“I started to pace myself,” said Potvin, who was running fourth at the midway point. “I didn’t want to catch the guys ahead of me too early. I knew I could kick it in at the end. I just wanted to stay in contact. I thought I had it last year, but a kid from the first heat won it. This time, I made sure to look at the times from the first heat. I knew what I had to do.

“Also, I appreciate my family coming up here to watch me. It’s nice to have all that support.”

To nobody’s surprise, St. Ignace dominated the girls’ meet with 121 points, followed by two-time defending champion Brimley 57 and Forest Park 47.

Bark River-Harris senior Sydni Petrie set a U.P. record in discus (116-1), topping the previous best by BR-H’s Kerrie Meyers (115-7 3/4) in 2009.

“Practice paid off, although I didn’t push myself to the point where I overpracticed,” said Petrie, who’s battling back problems. “I gave myself time to heal for the U.P. Finals. I practiced just one day this week and had a real good push from Neena Brockway (of Rapid River). She’s a real good friend of mine and offers me great support. The adrenalin got me, too. I set a goal to break the school record. That didn’t happen this year, but I left the season happy. I got the U.P. record.”

Superior Central junior Teslyn Tyner took long jump (15-3 1/2). She added a second in the 100 in a school-record 13.09 seconds and helped the Cougars establish another school record while taking third in the 400 relay (54.25).

“I really didn’t jump that well, although it’s still a win,” said Tyner. “It was actually a good day overall.”

St. Ignace set a U.P. record in the 800 relay (1:51.48), topping the previous best (1:52.31) by Forest Park in 2010.