Houghton XC boys take 2nd at Presque Isle

Houghton’s Anabel Needham races along Sunset Point during the Dale Phillips Invitational cross-country event Thursday afternoon, Aug. 31, 2017 at Presque Isle Park. Needham finished the girls race in sixth place. (Journal photo by Rachel Oakley)

MARQUETTE — The Houghton boys were in hot pursuit, but couldn’t quite catch Marquette in Thursday’s Dale Phillips Invitational cross country meet at Presque Isle Park.

Marquette collected 45 points, followed by the Gremlins with 59 and Negaunee 94.

Negaunee senior Colton Yesney won the 3.1-mile race in 16 minutes, 5.5 seconds. He was followed by Houghton senior Clayton Sayen (16:47) and Marquette’s Garrett Rudden (16:47.7) and Luke Rambo (16:55).

“I’ll take this anytime to start the year,” said Yesney, who covered the first mile in 5:18. “The second mile has been my slowest. Today’s strategy was to get in position to push it in the second mile. I’m just trying to become more consistent. It was a pretty good day to run, but I like it around 55 degrees. Today was a little warm by my standards. Although, you have to be ready to run in all kinds of weather up here.”

Sayen was fourth in the last mile, then vaulted into second by sprinting past Rudden and Rambo down the stretch.

“I knew I was going to stick with Rudden and Rambo,” he said. “They’ve been running about the same times I have. I let them set the pace and started my sprint with about 80 yards to go. I had a lot more left than I really wanted. I thought I attacked the hills well in the second mile.”

Houghton’s Seth Helman placed fifth at 17:01.7 on a sunny and cool day with a light breeze.

“Our boys had a good battle with Houghton,” said first-year coach Kyle Detmers. “They looked awfully good. I don’t know if I’ve seen a more diverse runner in the U.P. than Clayton Sayen. He has speed and endurance. Seth Helmen is also a very good runner and Colton is one of the best all-time runners I’ve seen the U.P.”

This was the second meet this season for Houghton, which won Monday’s Jeffers Invitational.

“I was happy with how they did, although we didn’t have a great start,” said Houghton coach Traci Welch. “I think the slow start hampered us. They need to understand they’re capable of going out harder. I think we’re playing too much catch-up.”

The Chassell girls were runners-up to Marquette 47-75. Negaunee placed third at 82.

Marquette sophomore Ericka Asmus won on her 15th birthday in 19:27.1, followed by Negaunee senior Clara Johnson (19:51.6) and sophomore Emily Paupore (19:24.4) and Munising junior Madeleine Peramaki (20:15.7) and senior Alyssa Webber (20:16.7).

“I always get too nervous before the race, so I try to do things to take my mind off it,” said Asmus. “I think this being my birthday gave me a little extra motivation. I tried to run ahead of the other girls. They kind of scared me into going out faster than I planned. The (weather) conditions were awesome. I never really felt the wind.”

Chassell junior Lela Rautiola was the area’s highest finisher in seventh (21:20.9) and Houghton’s Anabel Needham took ninth (21:36.7).

“I’m pretty happy with that,” said Rautiola, who won at South Range (in the Jeffers Invitational) Monday. “I didn’t really know what to expect. I’ve never run this race before. My goal was to keep up with the Munising and Negaunee girls, but they got off to a good start and did real well.”

Welch says this is a rebuilding season for the Houghton girls.

“Anabel and Abby (Woodford) are our most experienced runners and we have some freshmen who have some potential,” she added. “Anabel really ran well today.”


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