Prep track: Rockets wrap up first victory of the season at Stephenson

STEPHENSON – The Rapid River boys earned their first track victory this season Friday, taking the Stephenson Invitational with 172 points.

They were followed by West Iron County 111, Stephenson 103, North Central 72, Coleman, Wis. 55 and Norway 14.

Rapid River sophomore Dan Blair won the 800-meter run in two minutes, 13.2 seconds and 1600 (5:03.7), placed second in the 3200 (12:21.2) and helped the winning 3200 relay.

“Dan did a nice job,” said Rockets’ coach Steve Ostrenga. “His times weren’t where they were on Wednesday (in Delta County Invitational), but he still gave a solid effort. Dan was a bit under the weather today. We have colds going around and Dan has a sore throat. But he battled through and gave everything he had.”

Senior Jake Pearson won shot put with a personal-best toss of 50 feet, 4 1/2 inches and was runner-up in discus (134-1) and the 200 (24.1).

“That was a nice throw (in shot) by Jake,” said Ostrenga. “He’s a humble young man and the other kids were happy to see him throw it. Hayden Hardwick had a nice throw (44-2) as well and Lucas Bero had his personal-best throw at 40 feet, 10 inches. The effort was outstanding by our team. Pat Pryal went out sick today and Steve Johnson stepped up in the relays.”

Johnson took the 110 hurdles (18.0) and John Stropich copped pole vault (10-6).

“John had a PB in pole vault and won by a foot,” said Ostrenga. “He has embraced it. It was nice to see him get that 10-6 jump. We have a couple pole vaulters who are learning, which is also good to see.

“In the 1600 relay, I forgot to scratch a guy, but Mike Larson stepped up and gave a great effort.”

The Rockets, who host their invitational Thursday, grabbed four places in the 3200.

“This was our third meet this season, including the (Superior) Dome,” said Ostrenga. “The weather has been rough. This was a quality meet. Stephenson did a good job putting it on.”

North Central freshman Jason Whitens won high jump (5-8) and Josh Granquist was runner-up in the 800 (2:17.3) Bryce Holle was second in the 1600, running it in 5:08.2

West Iron’s Ryan Rogers was a triple-winner, taking the 100 (11.8), 200 (23.9) and 400 (54.8).

The West Iron girls dominated their division with 244 points, followed by Coleman 68, Stephenson 58, Rapid River 55, Norway 51 and North Central 46.

West Iron swept the relays, grabbed the top four places in the 800 and top three spots in both hurdle races.

North Central’s Baylee Wells won discus (80-7) and Morgan Wells placed third in long jump (14-9).

Rapid River’s highest finish was a second in the 800 relay.

“Greg Rubick (Rockets’ coach) and the girls did a nice job,” said Ostrenga. “Greg said it was nice to go to track meets and see kids from other schools. They had some excellent times.”