Cross country; Marquette teams sweep, Esky teams second

MUNISING – The Marquette girls cross country team continued to perform at a very high level Tuesday, dominating the Munising Invitational with 16 points.

Marquette, which placed all seven runners within the top 11, was followed by Escanaba 76, Gladstone 88, Kingsford 154 and Division 2 champion Newberry 169. Munising took the D-3 crown at 174.

“Our girls from three to seven are bunched so close together,” said Marquette coach Dale Phillips. “That’s where we’re really strong.”

Marquette sophomore Lindsey Rudden won the 3.1-mile race at Pictured Rocks Golf & Country Club in 18 minutes, 59 seconds.

“I’ve been trying hard to keep from going out too fast,” said Rudden, who passed out on this course with a half-mile left in last year’s Upper Peninsula Division 1 Finals. “I was kind of nervous and scared coming over here. I didn’t want the same thing to happen as the last time I ran on this course. I wanted to make sure everything was going to be okay this time.”

She was followed by teammates Amber Huebner (19:13), Calla Martysz (20:07) and Nicole Mackey (20:23).

“I love our team,” Rudden added. “Our coaches, my teammates and I are very proud of this team.”

Gladstone freshman Leigha Woelffer broke up Marquette’s bid for a perfect score, placing fifth in a personal-best 20:27, a second faster than in Saturday’s Stephenson Invitational.

“It was a little hot in the sun,” said Woelffer. “I prefer little cooler conditions. This is the first time I’ve run on a golf course, but didn’t mind the course. It was kind of spongy.”

Gladstone coach Gary Whitmer was pleased with the team’s overall performance.

“Leigha went out tough, which is what she needs to do,” he said. “To PR on this course is really good. Alyssa Polley also had a nice race. All the kids ran personal bests at Stephenson. I’m proud of the way the kids came back with only two days rest between meets.”

Sophomore Holly Blowers was Manistique’s leader in seventh in a personal-best 20:38.

“I really pushed it today,” said Blowers. “I tried to stay with the leaders. Natalie (Beaulieu of Newberry) and I were going back and forth for two miles, then our coach (Laurie Lindstrom) gave me an excellent strategy and I picked up the pace.”

Esky junior Aimee Giese placed 10th (20:48), with sophomore teammate Callie Heller 12th (22:07).

Several of Esky’s runners missed the meet due to colds, sinus ailments and flu.

“We also had a few guys and girls who were here and ran sick,” said Esky coach Jake Berlinski. “We treated this as a good, hard workout. We were at about half-strength. The kids we had here today stepped up and gave the effort expected of varsity runners. This was an opportunity for some of the younger kids to get their feet wet in a varsity meet.”

The Marquette boys also won with 35 points, followed by Esky 58, Negaunee 131, Kingsford 150 and Division 3 champ North Central 201. Ishpeming grabbed the D-2 crown at 215.

“Our boys are just starting to come together,” said Phillips. “We don’t have the numbers, but we have some good talent. The key for both of our teams is they have to stay healthy.”

Marquette senior Cole Riebolt won in a personal-best 16:48, followed by sophomore teammate Lance Rambo (17:10) and Esky junior Eric Cousineau (17:19).

“I just kept a steady pace,” said Riebolt. “I try to start out in a fast pace and stay there. My kick has gotten a little better, but it still needs work. It got a little warm out there, although this is a beautiful course.”

Cousineau, who was feeling under the weather, held off Kingsford sophomore Nate Carey who took fourth (17:23).

“I felt pretty sick out there,” said Cousineau. “I had to slow down a little in the second mile. We changed our lineup a little. We just need to get healthy before we hurt ourselves. I thought the Marquette kids ran a good race today. They’re good runners.”

Carey, who experienced some stiffness, was 35 seconds slower than he was in the Stephenson Invitational.

“I was real tight from Saturday,” he said. “There wasn’t much recovery time between races, and you don’t have the luxury of having warm-up miles during the race. I started to come around about halfway through the race. By then it was too late. I was looking for Parker (Scott) because they (Sault Ste. Marie) usually come to this meet.”

Munising Invitational