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U.P. Finals tidbits/The Red Line

June 9, 2011
By Brandon Veale - DMG Sports Editor ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

If I were the King of the Sports World, I would do everything in my power to make the first weekend of June as uneventful as I could.

No famous figures would die. Baseball? Rained out. NHL and NBA Finals? Hopefully uneventful, irrelevant or bad.

Normally, I'd be all for sports news from around the world, because I like to have balance between local, regional, national and international. There may be one day I root against it more than any other: the Monday after U.P. Finals in track and field.

There are 17 events in high school track and field. Multiply that by two genders, then again by three divisions and you'll realize that 112 entries went home from Kingsford as U.P. champions, and to be U.P. champion in anything is probably worthy of a story in and of itself. However, the regular sports section is three pages, not 30, so sacrifices have to be made.

So, let's take a look at a few of the hundreds of stories we didn't have time and space to touch on from last week's U.P. Finals in track and golf.

1. If you talk to any track coach, they'll tell you that bodies are vital. After all, ghosts don't score points. Nowhere is this distinction more of an issue than in Division 1, where Marquette (2010-11 enrollment: 1,102) competes head-to-head with Westwood and Manistique (361).

Just for the sake of argument, I added the number of points each Division 1 team (boys and girls) scored Saturday and divided them by the school's official MHSAA enrollment number.

Gladstone leads the way, scoring .263 points per student, with Houghton in second at .236. To their credit, Marquette still came in third with .208. (Calumet was seventh at .154)

Of course, that's a remarkably useless statistic that doesn't factor in a variety of variables. If 10 people were in a school, they all finished in the top four of their region, that 10-person school could conceivably win U.P. Finals. But it does show that, in any sport, it's still hard to compete against a school three times bigger than you.

2. It was another good year for field events, as seven of the 10 winning local entries came from off the track. Particularly fruitful this year was long jump, where Adeline Grier-Welch of Houghton, Olivia Soumis of Ontonagon and Brett Gervais of Lake Linden-Hubbell all won.

3. The star of the day was Sault Ste. Marie's Selena Meser, who became only the fifth athlete in the last decade to win four events at one U.P. Finals.

4. In Division 2, the L'Anse girls scored a rather dubious distinction. Their 47 points were more than any other team in any division that did not win an event.

5. Brittany Engman of Dollar Bay won crowns in the Division 3 girls' 200 three years apart. Her 28.07 in 2008 would have finished fifth behind her 27.36 Thursday. Engman ran 28.01 to finish fifth as a sophomore and 27.51 to finish third as a junior.

6. Soumis is now a three-time U.P. champ in the Division 3 girls' long jump. Hancock's Christina Mishica won the Division 2 800 and 1,600 three consecutive times from 2005-07, but no local girl has won the same event four times in as long as the MHSAA's computerized records go back (1997).

7. One unfortunate absence from Saturday's event was Big Bay de Noc's Erin Holmberg. Holmberg, who owns 12 U.P. titles and, until Saturday, owned all three records in Division 3 girls' distance running (two were broken Saturday), tore an ACL during basketball season and could not run her senior track season.

8. Houghton's win at the U.P. Division 1 girls' golf finals Thursday ended a string of six champions in six years. Houghton last won in 2006 and also has won in 1996 and 1989.

9. Hancock's third U.P. title was a product of its trademark consistency. All four of their scoring golfers finished in the top 12 individually. The year before, the fourth Hancock scorer was tied for eighth.

10. Halley Borseth was the first Division 3 girl to three-peat as medalist since fellow Gladiator Kimberly Store did it from 2001-03.



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