Houghton boys dominate, girls edge Negaunee by .5

NEGAUNEE – The weather was comfortable for Thursday’s MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 1 regional track meet, but the ending was far from it.

In the end, the Houghton girls won their meet by a half-point over Negaunee, 53.5 to 53. The Houghton boys, on the other hand, cruised to its title nearly 30 points ahead of the Miners.

“This was a close one,” Houghton head girls coach Alissa Dupuis said. “We knew going in that it was probably going to be this way and it could’ve gone either way. A lot of people impressed me today and I’m proud of the girls for doing their best.”

Houghton won two of the four relay events (400- and 800-meter), Kendra Monette the shot put and the 100 dash, Cara Monette the 100 hurdles and Nicole St. Martin the pole vault.

“Our relays did a great job and Kendra really shined in her events,” DuPuis said. “I’m just so happy that we had so many girls qualify (for the U.P. Finals) today.”

The top four finishers in each event get to advance to the U.P. Finals to be held in Kingsford on Saturday, June 4.

Even though her squad came up just short, Miners head coach Vickie Paupore was proud of how it performed.

“For our girls to be only a half a point behind Houghton after losing to them by 50 is pretty impressive,” she said. “Considering we’re doing this all without our top performer from last year (Aleda Johnson just returning), I’m just super proud of the girls.

“It’s hard to lose by half a point, but when your girls give everything that they had on the track, how can you not be happy with that performance? We did awesome.”

Negaunee won the 3,200 relay and Clara Johnson had a big day, taking the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 runs.

Kingsford finished third with 33 points, Calumet was fourth with 28.5 and Westwood fifth with 19.

The Flivvers won the 1,600 relay as Olivia Allen was first in the 200 and 400 dashes.

Calumet had two individual champions as Lea Bjorn won the 300 hurdles and Hailey Wickstrom won the high jump, while setting a new school record with a jump of 5 feet, 3 1/4 inches. Westwood also had two winners – Stephanie Conery in the discus and Rachel Hunt in the long jump.”I’m absolutely ecstatic with how my kids did today,” Westwood head coach Eric Hill said. “We came in our first year in Division 1 not knowing what to expect and our kids came out and competed hard.

“I think everyone had PR’s (personal records) today, so they didn’t back down one bit. That would’ve been easy to do today and an easy excuse that they’re all bigger than us.

“We had some big performances today. Rachel had a good day and Katie Etelamaki ran well after coming back from an injury.”

In the boys meet, Houghton won the 800 and 3,200 relays as Brad Ohtonen took the discus and shot put. Casey Lentowich (110 hurdles), Clayton Sayen (400), Justin Jurva (200), Seth Helman (3,200) and Tyler Ryynanen (pole vault) were also Houghton champions.

“We knew we had a good shot today if we performed as well as we could perform,” Gremlins boys coach Dan Junttila said. “Other teams stepped up today, so we had to step up, too. We really just had a great team effort.

“Brad was big money for us today as he threw really well and for Seth to beat Negaunee’s good runner, (Colton) Yesney, at the end of the 3,200 was a big deal.

“I also thought our pole vaulting was phenomenal and our pole vaulting coach Steve Dunstan said he thought that he could (get) four of our guys into (the) U.P. Finals and he did, so that was great.”

Runner-up Negaunee, which finished with 44 points, won three events. Yesney took first in the 800 and 1,600, while Joe Grasso won the long jump.

Kingsford finished third, just three points behind the Miners with 41. The Flivvers won the other two relay events, the 400 and 1,600, as well as two individual events. Trevor Roberts won the 100 and Brad Vanremortel the 300 hurdles.

Westwood was fourth with 18 and had one champion as Ryan Stanaway finished on top in the high jump.

“Ryan PR’d in the high jump and Luke Gray had a stellar day,” Hill said. “Our relay teams also did an excellent job. We had a lot of great things happen today.

“I think the dome meet at the start of the year prepared us for what we had to do today. Our kids showed up and I’m super proud of them.”

Calumet rounded out the meet in fifth place with 11 points.