KINGSFORD — The Negaunee girls were ranked third coming into the Upper Peninsula Division 1 Track & Field Finals here Saturday.
Apparently, the Miners didn’t pay much attention to that as they captured their first title in four years with 119½ points. They were followed by two-time reigning champion Marquette with 98 and Sault Ste. Marie at 86.
“They outperformed their ranking,” said Negaunee coach Vickie Paupore. “Every single girl stepped up. I’m so proud of their grit and determination. Endla (Harris) was ranked eighth and placed second in the 1,600 (5:43.82) and Madison Pekrul winning the 100 hurdles (17.35) and taking second in the 300s (50.32) is an example of a freshman stepping up. We have good senior leaders, and they got the job done today. I appreciate the effort of all the assistant coaches. They make my job so much easier.”
In the weight events, Negaunee grabbed the top three places in shot put and senior Alyssa Hill, who plans to continue her track & field career at Bemidji (Minn.) State University, won discus at 120 feet.
“I had hoped to throw a little farther in disc,” said Hill, who set the school record at 123-4 in the Regional at Negaunee on May 19. “There was a little bit of wind, and I probably started thinking about it a little too much. I thought I had pretty good technique.
“A lot of girls on our team had PRs (personal records) today. Our 3,200 relay had its best time by about 30 seconds, and Natalie Bell had a PR in shot. We were ranked 1-2-7-8 in shot and got 1-2-3-5. We moved up a little.”
Junior Eliana Juchemich took shot put with a personal-best throw of 36-3¼. Hill was runner-up (32-5½) and Bell took third (31-6½).
“This is awesome,” she said. “I think my speed was pretty good in the circle, but I had to fix my angle before my release. You want to go with a 45-degree angle. You want to get good enough elevation and yet not too much. If you throw too high, you might not get the distance you want. That was an awesome thing today because everybody wants to win. Our team is real good. We push each other in practice, and it showed today.”
Aubrey Johnson provided Negaunee with an additional first in the 800-meter run (2:30.44).
Marquette showed its speed with Beax Truckey and Julia Ott placing 1-2 in the 100 and 200.
Truckey took the 100 (12.98) and 200 (26.51) and Ott was clocked at 13.01 and 26.59, respectively. The Redettes also captured the 400 (51.99) and 800 relays (1:48.37).
Sault Ste. Marie’s Claire Erickson won the 300 hurdles (49.55) and Cassandra Gallagher took the 3,200 (12:36.83).
Houghton senior and Michigan Tech recruit Ingrid Seagren, who led the entire 3,200 until the final home stretch, was runner-up (12:37).
“This is a real heartbreaker,” said Seagren, who helped the Gremlins win the 3,200 relay (10:19.08). “I’m disappointed in my finish.
“(But) we ran a decent time in our relay. I’m proud of our team.”
Escanaba senior Ciara Ostrenga won the 400 in a personal-best 1:00.22 and helped the winning 1,600 relay (4:16.27).
“After we got fourth in the 3,200 relay, I just wanted to work hard and try to leave here with an individual medal,” she said. “I think our relay did pretty good. All the girls worked and tried hard.”
Houghton's Maria Velat competed in the first-time adaptive events in the 100 (26.56), 200 (51.15), 400 (1:35.96) and shot put (10-0).
PHOTOS (Top) Negaunee’s Aubrey Johnson charges toward the finish on the way to winning the 800 on Saturday. (Middle) Marquette’s Julia Ott (5) and Baux Truckey (4) have a close finish in the 200, with Truckey edging her teammate by eight hundredths of a second. (Click for more from Cara Kamps/Run Michigan.)