Marquette sweeps GNC’s, Esky teams strong

BANAT – The girls’ varsity race in Thursday’s Great Northern Conference cross country meet lived up to expectations and then some as Menominee senior Kameron Burmeister prevailed to remain undefeated this season.

Burmeister covered the 3.1-mile course in a personal-best 19 minutes, four seconds, followed by Marquette freshman Amber Huebner (19:09) and previously unbeaten Marquette sophomore Lindsey Rudden (19:12) on this sunny and mild day.

Marquette, as anticipated, captured its 14th consecutive title with 22 points at the Dale Fountain Memorial Cross Country Course.

The Redettes, who placed seven among the top 10, were followed by Escanaba 64, Menominee 78 and Gladstone 82.

“That’s how we’ve been running,” said Marquette coach Dale Phillips. “The key is we have the three girls up front and the other four like to run together. The girls run as a pack and push each other. Our jayvees are also strong. We get a lot of help from them.”

Marquette’s boys also won with 36, followed by two-time defending champ Esky 46 and Menominee 78.

“I couldn’t be happier,” said Esky coach Jake Berlinski. “We ran so well today. We had some kids step up.”

Rudden had taken the lead in the last mile, but Burmeister and Huebner passed her on the final straightaway.

“When I saw how close I was on halfway through the straightaway, I just knew I had to go for it,” said Burmeister. “This seems kind of surreal. I’m happy for myself. Yet, I feel bad for Lindsey. She’s an inspiration to everybody out there, and I know she’s really hurting right now. I couldn’t ask for better people to be around me, including our coaches, my teammates and the competition. It was a close race. Any one of us could have won it.”

Marquette’s Calla Martysz, also very much in the hunt at the midway point, placed fourth (19:54).

Gladstone freshman Leigha Woelffer was the area’s pacesetter in fifth with a personal-best 20:11.

“Leigha said she felt good and I’m glad to see she ran a strong race,” said Braves’ coach Gary Whitmer. “Leigha felt comfortable going out with the leaders and she hung with the front pack for a mile. We’re also happy for Sadie Strasser who ran her best time this year by 40 seconds (21:50). There were a lot of PBs today, and it was a good day to run. We also had a few kids who struggled a little bit. Overall, they did well. Marquette is just so strong and Esky had a nice meet.”

Junior Aimee Giese paced Esky in eighth (20:32), with freshman Michaela Bougie 11th (21:38) and sophomore Callie Heller 12th (21:47).

“Aimee has worked real hard,” said Berlinski. “I know she’s disappointed in today’s race, but sometimes you just have one of those days. She’ll come back and have a great race in the Finals. Michaela had the race of her life. She ran great.”

Marquette senior Cole Rieboldt won the boys’ race in a personal-best 16:22, followed by sophomore teammate Lance Rambo (16:45) and Esky junior Eric Cousineau (16:50).

“We had a hard workout on Monday and had two days to recover,” said Rieboldt. “My legs were fresh and I felt pretty good. I especially felt good in the last mile. I had a lot of energy left. This was a great effort by our whole team.”

Phillips was equally as pleased with the performance by the Marquette boys as he was with the girls.

“This is the first time we’ve had a full team,” he said. “This was a very solid performance by our boys. We have the 1-2 punch. If we can get our normal performance from the other five, we’ll be all right (at the Upper Peninsula Division 1 Finals).”

Cousineau was satisfied with his time for now, but knows he has some work to do before the Finals at Gentz’s Homestead Golf Course in Harvey on Oct. 19.

“I just have to work hard and gut it out at the Finals,” he said. “Anything can happen once you get there. I tried to stay with Cole in today’s race, then he made his move at around 2 1/2 miles. Cole and Lance ran great races and Marquette did an excellent job.”

Stephenson junior Connor Cappaert placed fourth (16:56), followed by Menominee’s Davey Luplow (16:57), Kingsford sophomore Nate Carey (17:03).

Esky freshman Joey Wolfe placed seventh (17:25) and senior Jordan Ogren was ninth (17:44).

“Eric ran great,” said Berlinski. “He’ll be ready for the Finals. Joey is a phenomenal runner, and the best part is he’s still learning. Jordan had little bit of a comeback today. He has been a great leader for us and it showed today.”

Gladstone’s leader was junior Andrew Olesak in 23rd in a personal-best 19:23.

“Andrew moved up and some of the other kids ran PBs, which is encouraging for them,” said Whitmer.

Plenty of positive feedback has been received on the Dale Fountain course over the years, with Rieboldt adding to that on Thursday.

“I think this is a true defiinition of a cross country course,” he said. “It has a nice mixture of hills and flat.”

Great Northern Conference meet

At Banat