Marquette Boys Score in 16 Events to Extend Team Championship Streak

By John Vrancic
Special for

June 1, 2024

KINGSFORD — The Marquette boys hung on to first place for the fourth consecutive year here Saturday, scoring 163 points at the Upper Peninsula Division 1 Track & Field Finals.

They were followed by Kingsford with 101 and Houghton with 67.

“We did really well,” Sentinels’ coach Derek Marr said. “I’m really proud of the fact we were able to score points in 16 of 17 events, and it was good to see our guys win three relays. It’s great to see a full team effort. A few years ago people talked about how good we were in the distances, but we weren’t satisfied with that. We wanted to be a well-rounded team.”

Junior Kyler Sager won long jump at 19 feet, 11½ inches and anchored the winning 400 relay, clocked at 44.4 seconds.

“Our coaches preach handoffs, and today they went real well,” he said. “Starts are also a big part of it.”

Junior Jacob MacPhee added a first in the 400 (50.47), anchored the winning 800 (1:32.47) and 1,600 (3:32.5) relays and placed second in the 200 (23.58).

The Sentinels also showed their depth in the distances. Even though they didn’t get any firsts in the longer races, they were able to take three places in the 800 and 1,600 and two in the 3,200.

Gladstone's Luke Bracket (4) gets over the last hurdle before Houghton's Brody Mattila to win the 110 hurdles. Senior Cullen Papin was runner-up in the 800 (2:02.84), and sophomore Seppi Camilli took second in the 3,200 (9:42.89).

Sault Ste. Marie sophomore Gabe Litzner set the UPD1 Finals record in the 3,200 (9:35.62), shaving nearly 11 seconds off the previous best by Marquette’s Carson Vanderschaff (9:46.53) from two years ago.

“I was two seconds away from a PR (personal record),” Litzner said. “I was going to hold on for six laps and try to pick it up. I’m real happy about this one. After coming back from the injuries I had, this one is very special. (I’m) most proud of this of any of my events. It’s the greatest feeling ever. I didn’t think I’d ever make it to the Finals again, let alone win it.”

Litzner, who sustained serious injuries in a vehicle/pedestrian accident in Sault Ste. Marie this winter, was also runner-up in the 1,600 (4:27.33).

Houghton junior Luke Hill took the 800 (2:00.05) and 1,600 (4:26.32) and anchored the winning 3,200 relay (8:26.14).

The Gremlins also got a first in the 300 hurdles from senior Brody Mattila (39.87), who edged Negaunee junior Brady Mager by six hundredths of a second.

Earlier, Mattila was runner-up to Gladstone senior Luke Bracket in the 110s at 15.34. Bracket won in 15:09.

“Brody really pushed me,” Bracket said. “I’m good friends with Brody. It was good to have that competition. Winning this race was my goal. It feels good to get No. 1 after taking second two years in a row.”

Kingsford’s leaders were seniors Michael Floriano and Noah Johnson. Floriano took the 100 (11.54) and 200 (23.13), and Johnson won shot put (46-7) and discus (141-½).

Also winning were Menominee sophomore Darrent Butler in high jump (6-2) and Sault senior Rayce Rizzo in pole vault (13-0). Marquette junior Jim Bennett (100, 200 and 400) and Sault Ste. Marie junior Johnny Osborn (shot put) won adaptive event championships.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) After crossing the finish line Saturday, Marquette's Kyler Sager celebrates winning the 400 relay. (Middle) Gladstone's Luke Bracket (4) gets over the last hurdle before Houghton's Brody Mattila to win the 110 hurdles. (Click for more from Cara Kamps/

With 2nd Place in Final Race, Newberry Clinches 1st in Final Team Standings

By John Vrancic
Special for

June 2, 2024

KINGSFORD — The race for the Upper Peninsula Division 3 boys track & field championship came right down to the wire Saturday as Newberry edged St. Ignace 96-92 for top honors.

Third-place team finisher Lake Linden-Hubbell won the day’s final race, the 1,600-meter relay, in 3 minutes, 41.94 seconds, and Newberry hung on to edge St. Ignace by two steps for second place and its first title in eight years.

Newberry, which was runner-up to Munising last year, was clocked at 3:43.07 in the 1,600 relay on this sunny and mild late afternoon. The Saints finished nine hundredths of a second later.

“We knew we had to beat St. Ignace to win,” Newberry senior Kennedy Depew said after finishing the anchor leg. “This was my last race ever. I knew I had to give it my all. That’s also why I knew I had to scratch from the open 400. I would have been in four events. I think scratching from the 400 helped me save some energy. We weren’t satisfied with runner-up last year, which makes this year’s championship all the more satisfying.”

Classmate Gabe Luck provided Newberry with its lone individual first with a heave of 44 feet, 1¾ inches in shot put.

“We had a lot of injuries this year,” Newberry coach Drew Schultz said. “For all the obstacles we had, we wouldn’t have it any other way, having two of the best athletes decide it in the last race. I’m extremely proud of our guys. To win it that way is just insane. I’m proud of all our eastern-end kids.”

Chassell's Kalvin Kytta and Cedarville/DeTour's Ethan Snyder lead the pack of 1,600 runners. Depew also was runner-up in the 100-meter dash in 11.63 seconds.

Senior Jon Ingalls, who ran the last leg for the Saints, won the 110 hurdles (16.39) and 300s (42.89) and helped them place second in the 400 relay (45.94).

“Both hurdles were decent,” Ingalls said. “Those weren’t my best times, but it feels good to grind out a few more wins.”

Senior Owen Lester also provided the Saints with a victory in pole vault (12-6).

LL-H got firsts from senior Gabe Popko in discus at 153 feet, 4¼ inches, and classmate Matt Jokela in the 400 (51.09). Jokela also took third in the 100 (11.65).

“Real good hydration and confidence are keys,” Jokela said. “I think having confidence helps a little. I usually don’t go too hard out of the blocks. Then, I usually try to go as hard as I can in the last 200.”

Chassell junior Kalvin Kytta claimed three firsts, taking the 800 in a personal-best 2:03.62, 1,600 (4:39.58) and 3,200 (10:27.32).

“Three wins, I’m pretty happy with that,” he said. “The 800 went real well. Overall, I’m very happy with my performance today.”

Fourth-place Bessemer set UPD3 Finals records in the 400 relay (45.3) and 800 (1:34.64). Powers North Central previously set the record in the 400 (45.34) two years ago and Rock Mid Peninsula had held the 800 record since 2001 when it ran a 1:35.1.

“We shaved two seconds off in the 800 relay which feels good, and our handoffs in the 400 were good all year,” Bessemer senior Landon Peterson said. “Our school record in the 400 is 44.98, which is something we’ve done three times this year. Running on a rubber track gives you a much better grip, which helped us a lot today.”

Bessemer senior Tom Trudgeon became a four-event winner, also taking the 100 (11.46) and 200 (23.85).

Crystal Falls Forest Park freshman Vic Guiliani won high jump (6-0), and sophomore Michael Rexford went 19-9 in long jump, providing Escanaba Holy Name with its first U.P. Finals title since the school reopened in 2021.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS (Top) Newberry runners celebrate taking second place in the 1,600 relay, allowing them to finish ahead of St. Ignace for the team title in Upper Peninsula Division 3. (Middle) Chassell's Kalvin Kytta and Cedarville/DeTour's Ethan Snyder lead the pack of 1,600 runners. (Click for more from Cara Kamps/