Braves’ girls triumph

FLAT ROCK – The Gladstone girls brought their A game Tuesday, winning their own invitational cross country meet with 41 points.

Escanaba and Menominee scored 53 points apiece, with the Eskymos gaining runner-up honors on a tie-breaker.

The Esky boys won with 43 points, followed by Menominee 58 and Munising 105.

In the girls’ race, Gladstone freshman Leigh Woelffer was runner-up at Beauchamp’s Grove, covering the 3.1-mile course in 20 minutes, 52 seconds. Senior Sadie Strasser placed fifth in a personal-best 22:27, holding off Esky sophomore Callie Heller (22:31).

“Leigha went out real strong,” Braves’ coach Gary Whitmer said, noting Woelffer ran a 6:05 in the first mile. “The first mile is always quick, but Leigha looked relaxed. Sadie is starting to get back in shape. She ran tough. I was real happy to see that.”

Menominee senior Kameron Burmeister, who remained undefeated this season, was clocked at 19:44.

“I’m real happy with my time,” said Burmeister, who won for the fourth time in 10 days. “I cut 24 seconds off from last year on this course. It was real hot out there, but at least it wasn’t humid and the breeze cooled us off a little. Four meets in 10 days is a lot. My legs weren’t as fresh as they could be.”

Woelffer was followed by Esky junior Aimee Giese (21:15) and Manistique sophomore Holly Blowers (21:46).

“I felt real good, although it was hot,” said Woelffer. “My second mile is normally slow, but today it was more even. I felt pretty strong and I thought my finish was strong. I wanted to do well because all of our hometown people were here.”

Giese came within 10 seconds of Saturday’s time at Esky, where she also placed third.

“Aimee is starting to get over her cold,” said Esky coach Jake Berlinski. “Once she gets healthy, she’ll be pushing the pace.”

The sunny and warm conditions presented a challenge for Blowers as it did for others.

“I wasn’t ready for the heat,” she said. “Although, I think it effected everybody. I thought I was well hydrated. I wanted to stay with Leigha and Aimee a little more. It felt like I kind of slacked off.”

Sophomore Sam Sailer placed seventh (22:39), giving the Braves three finishers in the top 10.

“Sam ran a real good race, and Iris (Robare) stepped up today,” said Whitmer. “Iris ran a 23:45 which is a PB for her. Besides Iris and Sadie, the other girls were close to PBs on a hot day. We can’t ask for more than that.”

Esky junior Eric Cousineau won the boys’ race at 17:20, followed by Munising sophomore Brett Hannah (17:34) and Menominee’s Davey Luplow (17:41).

“Eric ran great,” said Berlinski. “Brett challenged him early, but Eric handled it like a veteran. It was a good day for our boys and girls. We mixed up our lineup. Some of the kids didn’t run varsity today, but will be running varsity on Thursday (at Ishpeming). Some who ran today will be given that day off. We’re just trying to rest some kids for the GNC (Great Northern Conference) and U.P. (Division 1) Finals.”

Esky freshman Joey Wolfe placed sixth (18:08), followed by Carney-Nadeau senior Dionte Blahnik (18:29) and North Central freshman Seth Polfus (18:32).

Also breaking into the top 10 was Esky senior Matt Judson (19:14).

In the jayvee races, Esky’s Jordan Ogren was the boys’ pacesetter (18:52), with Michaela Bougie topping the girls (23:36).