Rockets look to run in the sun at Skyline meet, Friday

ESCANABA – After battling brutal conditions in last week’s Division 3 regionals, area track teams just might finally catch a break from Mother Nature in Friday’s Skyline Conference meet.

Friday’s forecast calls for sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 60s, according to the Weather Channel, a huge improvement from the snowy and windy conditions endured at North Dickinson and Munising last Thursday.

North Dickinson will again host the league meet, which begins with the field events at 2 p.m. (EDT). Running events start at 2:30.

Joining the Nordics are Rapid River, Mid Peninsula, Bark River-Harris, North Central, Carney-Nadeau, Forest Park and Republic-Michigamme.

“It was so unfortunate that the weather wasn’t better (at Munising), but everybody had to run in the same conditions,” said Rapid River boys’ coach Steve Ostrenga. “I certainly don’t fault the effort of the kids. Munising has most of their bases covered. They performed well.”

The Rockets were runners-up to Munising 74-63 and North Dickinson won its regional with 63 points. Stephenson placed second at Felch with 43.

“North Dickinson certainly has the sprinters and hurdlers and excellent field events,” said Ostrenga. “They’re a well-rounded team and Forest Park has a good pole vaulter, sprinter and long jumper. Both teams also have good shot put and discus guys. It’s spread out.”

The Nordics are led by senior hurdler/sprinter Tim Hruska and Logan O’Neil (pole vault and 300 hurdles and junior sprinter Jordan Neumann.

Rapid River’s leaders are seniors Jake Pearson in the weight events and sprints, Hayden Hardwick (weight events) and sophomore Dan Blair (distance).

Others to watch are Rapid River’s Steve Johnson (110 hurdles), Mid Pen’s Evan Winkelbauer (high jump), BR-H’s Alex Mathias (pole vault) and Jake Greenfield (sprints), North Central’s Bryce Holle, Seth Polfus and Dillon Robinson (distance) and Morgan Cox and Jason Whitens (high jump), Carney’s Dionte Blahnik (distance), North Dickinson’s Noah Berg (400 and long jump) and Brad Gustafson (weight events) and Forest Park’s Bill Ragio (pole vault and long jump) and Steve Hallmann (weight events).

“North Central is coming on,” said Ostrenga. “They had a pretty good regional. Some of their younger guys really stepped up and Bark River-Harris has good sprinters and pole vaulters.’

The Forest Park girls are shooting for their sixth straight title. They are fresh from dominating last week’s regional at North Dickinson and led by Kendra Campbell (hurdles), Mary Grandahl (sprints) and Amanda Bustillos (distance).

Others to watch are Mid Pen’s Kelsey Shope (high jump and 400), Rapid River’s Taylor Hedges (shot put), BR-H’s Katie Schultz (sprints and long jump) and Morgan VanLanen (weight events), North Central’s Baylee Wells (discus) and Republic’s Josefine Hoppe (distance).