Prep track and field: Blair, Pearson boost Rockets

MARQUETTE – The Rapid River boys gave chase, but couldn’t catch Munising in Thursday’s Superior Central Invitational track meet at Northern Michigan University.

Munising won with 144 points, followed by Rapid River 118 1/2 and Pickford 88 1/2.

The Mustangs took first in seven events, including the high jump in which juniors Andy Cooper and Alex Hill tied for top honors by soaring six feet, four inches inside the Superior Dome.

Cooper also won the 200-meter dash in 24.3 seconds and 400 (54.76) and helped the winning 1600 relay.

“Munising has improved big-time from last year,” said Rapid River coach Steve Ostrenga. “They have good sprinters and Brett Hannah in the distances. They have everything covered. I’m very happy with the way we performed. Our guys gave a great effort.

“We appreciate Superior Central’s effort in putting on this meet. Chris (coach Messano) and his staff did a nice job with it.”

The Rockets went 1-2 in shot put, led by senior Jake Pearson’s toss of 47-2 and Hayden Hardwick at 42-7.

Junior Steve Johnson added a first in 55 hurdles at 9.04 seconds and sophomore Dan Blair won the 800 (2:12.94), edging Hannah by .7 second.

“Dan ran real well in the 800,” said Ostrenga. “He’s a nice runner.”

Bark River-Harris sophomore Alex Mathias won pole vault with a personal-best leap of 11 feet and helped the winning 800 relay.

“I thought Alex and (sophomore) Jake Greenfield did real well in pole vault,” said BR-H coach Katina Demers. “For Alex to hit his personal-best jump in the first meet of the year is great. This shows he has a lot of potential. Iver Stenberg (a freshman) ran some good times (in the sprints) and made it to the finals in long jump, which is good for his first time out. Overall, the boys did better than I thought they would.”

The Munising girls also won, edging Brimley 94 3/4-94. Pickford took third with 71 pionts, followed by Mid Peninsula 56 3/4.

Munising freshman Michaela Peramaki set a meet record in pole vault at nine feet, which is also a school record.

Rudyard’s Savannah Dugan also set a meet record with a toss of 39-5 in shot put, topping the previous best (37-6) by Angie Leckson of Big Bay de Noc in 2006.

Mid Pen senior Kelsey Shope became a double-winner, taking high jump (5-0) and the 400 (1:07.36).

“I’m definitely glad I won, but I think I could have done better with more practice,” said Shope. “I think it’s harder to jump indoors. It’s harder to get your footing.”

Superior Central senior Teslyn Tyner won long jump (15-2) and helped the winning 800 relay.

The Cougars placed fifth with 48 points. Rapid River and BR-H shared ninth at 31.

“I thought our girls did well,” said Demers. “Only, we need more practice time and getting out on the track will help. Overall, all the kids did a great job.”

Rapid River coach Greg Rubick was simply glad to get a meet in.

“I thought the meet went real smooth,” he said. “We appreciate Chris and his staff putting on this meet and allowing coaches to get times on some kids. This definitely shows we have a lot of work to do.”

The 3200 run was dropped from this year’s meet in favor of the Dome and 3600 medley relays.

“We wanted to give kids who didn’t get an opportunity to run in an open event to at least get a chance to run in a relay,” said Messano. “I think the relays speed up the meet and makes it a little more fun for the kids.”

The Dome event is comprised of consecutive legs of 200, 400, 600 and 800 meters, and the 3600 medley includes two 1200 legs and a pair of 600s.

“This is definitely something I’m not used to, but it was fun,” said Shope, who helped Mid Pen place in the 3600 event by running a 600. “I’m not used to pacing myself on the smaller (200-meter) track.’

The 600 was also foreign to Big Bay junior Patience Harris, who ran the third leg of the Dome event.

“Those are not comfortable,” she said. “This is the first time I’ve run that. I didn’t know how to pace myself.”