Jets bring home first title

WILSON – The North Central boys turned Wednesday’s Central U.P./Skyline Conference cross country meet into an historic event as they were crowned league champions for the first time with 42 points.

They were followed by two-time defending champ Munising 56, Superior Central 63, Carney-Nadeau 70 and Big Bay de Noc 113.

The Jets, who had all seven of their runners this time, secured the title by taking five of the top 15 spots.

“We ran inspired,” said Jets’ coach Jerry Root. “You can’t put a price tag on (senior) Josh Granquist being here. He’s an inspiration to all our guys. This is also the first year he has been involved in a conference championship. From one to seven, all of our guys ran hard.”

The Munising girls retained their crown with a perfect score (15), followed by Superior Central 64, Big Bay 73, Carney 74 and North Central 81.

“Our girls did good,” said Munising coach Fran DesArmo. “Keeping them focused the whole race was the biggest challenge. When you have the only full team, it’s easy to just relax. With the U.P. (Division 3) Finals around the corner, we want to make sure we stay focused.”

In the boys’ race, Munising sophomore Brett Hannah retained his championship by covering the hilly 3.1-mile course in 18 minutes, 16 seconds on this sunny, breezy and mild day.

“Something has come up with my hip,” said Hannah. “It started bothering me a few days ago. It doesn’t bother me when I run, then it hits me after. I’m trying to get rested up for the U.P. Finals. Today, I just tried to do the best I could.”

North Central freshman Seth Polfus was runner-up (18:25), followed by Carney senior Dionte Blahnik (18:39), sophomore Jets teammate Bryce Holle (18:41) and Superior Central senior Nick Maki (19:01).

“I was shooting for the top three,” said Polfus, who trailed Blahnik by five yards with a mile to go. “Dionte and I battled all the way through, then I passed him for the last time at 2 1/2 miles. We do a lot of hillwork here, which I think helps us. It also helps to have a team to run with. Bryce and Josh also had real good races. In fact, the whole team had a decent race.”

Granquist, who also plays on the school’s football team, placed eighth (19:51), with Tyler Bentley 13th and Dillon Robinson 15th.

“Seth and Bryce have been excellent leaders for us, and Tyler has made a significant contribution,” said Root. “Dillon has been sick and injured, but he’s a battler. He has been fighting through it.

“We also appreciate the efforts of our assistant coach Dave Granquist. He has been a major contributor to the success of our program. His junior high team taking first today is huge for our overall program.”

DesArmo was pleased with the efforts by Hannah and Sam MacArthur, who placed sixth (19:25).

“Brett ran pretty solid and Sam ran an excllent race,” he said.

The Munising girls, led by freshman Marissa Immel, grabbed the top five places. Anna Baij took second (22:58), followed Alyssa St. Amour third (23:51), Julia Jacques (24:00) and Sara Charboneau (24:02).

“I felt pretty confident in our team,” said Immel. “There were three big hills in this race and they were rocky and quite steep. That was pretty rough. The race we did here before (on Sept. 4) was different. There was an extra hill this time. We were a little surprised by that, but we weren’t caught off guard. This is the first time we got a perfect score. This gives us some confidence for the Finals.”

Superior Central junior Evie Walters was this area’s pacesetter in sixth (24:43).

Central U.P./Skyline Conference