Gremlins girls, Copper Kings boys win in Houghton
HOUGHTON — Something that had not happened in four years took place Monday afternoon.
The Houghton Gremlins hosted the Copper Country Invitational, their first meet at Alumni Field since the upgrades were finished last fall, making it possible to host again.
The Houghton girls took first with 144.5 points and the Calumet Copper Kings took the top spot with 149 for the boys.
The christening of the new track marks the start of a new chapter for Gremlins coach Dan Junttila and his team. The Gremlins girls took first place in the 3200-meter relay, 1600-meter run, 1600-meter relay, shot put and long jump. The boys came away with wins in 3200-meter relay, 1600-meter run, 3200-meter run and shot put.
“It’s just awesome to see everybody competing,” said Junttila. “Eleven teams here, I’m thrilled. I was lucky enough to be here for the very first track meet on the old track so I’m hoping I can bury a new one here. Our team, we’re really proud of them. They’re working hard.
“This first meet here, to have 11 teams, everybody’s smiling. It’s just a super facility, really a credit to the taxpayers of Houghton.”
“To me it’s just Christmas everyday.” said Junttila. “We’ll be here a week from Wednesday. It’s going to be 10 teams this year. It’s going to be a huge meet and it’s going to be exciting to have it here. It’s going to be really good for all the athletes (and) fans to have it here (because) it’s barrier-free. It’s just awesome.”
The Copper Kings boys finished first in the 100-meter dash, 300-meter hurdles and the 200-meter dash for 149 points overall. The girls brought in fifth place with 38.5 points overall. Mackenzie Peters placed first in the 100-meter hurdles with a finish of 7.20.
“It’s nice to get on this new track,” said Copper Kings coach Steve Parks. “A brand new rubber track (should) make everybody’s times a little faster today with the warm weather. It’s a nice meet for everyone to be at and a nice way to get ready for regionals.
“Mackenzie Peters is probably our only first today, but we took second in the 800 and 400 relays, second behind Lake Linden, who has very good teams (with) fast girls. Even though Lake Linden beat us in the end, it was an exciting race to watch (that) was fun for everybody.”
The Lakes and Gremlins were fairly evenly matched for most of the afternoon. Lakes girls coach Gary Guisfredi was happy with what his team accomplished throughout the day.
The Lakes finished first in the 400-meter relay, 800-meter run, high jump, pole vault and long jump events.
“The biggest thing is that the competition is really good,” said Guisfredi. “The girls were pushed today. We had a lot of personal bests today. The weather was a little nicer so that helped.
“I didn’t know if we’d have enough to stay with Houghton. We had a pretty good day. Our girls are working hard. We just need some good weather this week so we can get out and prepare for that regional (meet).”
The L’Anse Purple Hornets have fought some injuries so far this season but came way with two wins for the girls both by Kyra Sipe, one in the 800-meter relay with a time of 13.42 and a 200-meter dash finish of 28.21. The girls finished in eighth place for 26 points and the boys took seventh place with 20 points. Coach John Jacobson and his team are making the most of the final days before regionals in West Iron County.
“There’s a lot of competition today,” said Jacobson. “If you’re going to place in the Top 4, you’ve got to really be at your best. Kyra Sipe’s having an outstanding day for the girls. She placed first in the 100 (meter dash).
“We’re dealing with a couple of injuries, people (who normally) get second or third (place finishes). You come to a meet like this and you’re fourth, fifth or sixth. On a big day like today, we’ve kind of got to watch moral.”
“At this point, we’re just trying to manage the kids that are injured in one way or another,” Jacobson said. “Hopefully we can put out or best product and get our best athletes ready to go and do our best for the regionals and get ready for the U.P. Finals. It’s going to be interesting because there’s still some strategy involved in who we put where.”
1, Houghton, 144.5; 2, Lake Linden-Hubbell, 128; 3, Ontonagon, 53; 4, Hancock, 51; 5, Calumet, 38.5; 6, West Iron County, 38; 7, Chassell, 35; 8, L’Anse, 26; 9, Baraga, 8; 10, Dollar Bay, 5
3200-meter relay: Anabel Needham, Houghton, 13:07.87
100-meter hurdles: Mackenzie Peters, Calumet,17.20
100-meter dash: Baccus, Crouch, Beaudoin, Perala, Lake Linden-Hubbell, 55.29
800-meter relay: Kyra Sipe, L’Anse, 13.42
1600-meter run: Anabel Needham, Houghton, 5:33.35
400-meter relay: Mariah Willmer, Lake Linden-Hubbell, 1:03.73
400-meter dash: Chynoweth, Holmstrom, Klein, Sturos, Hancock, 4:26.90
300-meter hurdles: Jordan Shamion, West Iron County 50.93,
800-meter run: : Mariah Willmer, Lake Linden-Hubbell, 2:29.36
200-meter dash: Kyra Sipe, L’Anse, 28.21
1600-meter relay: Anabel Needham, Houghton, 5:33.35
Discus: Holly Jo Wardynski, Ontonagon Area, 106-feet-7.75
Shot put: Lillian Williston, Houghton, 34-feet-4
High Jump: Jamie Hendrickson, Lake Linden-Hubbell, 5-feet-3.25
Pole vault: MacKenzie Lepage, Lake Linden-Hubbell, 9-feet
Long jump: Anabel Needham, Houghton, 14-feet-5
1, Calumet, 149; 2, Houghton, 129; 3, Lake Linden-Hubbell,100; 4, Dollar Bay, 48; 5, Ontonagon, 27; 6,Chassell, 24; 7, Hancock, 22; 7, L’Anse, 20; 8, West Iron County, 5; 9, Baraga, 2
3200-meter relay: Houghton, 10:43.83
800-meter relay: LeClaire, Hill, LeClaire, Norland, Dollar Bay, 8:55.67
1600-meter run: Joe Wood, Houghton, 4:57.14
400-meter relay: Ojala, Nelson, Djerf, Ojala, Calumet, 46.52
400-meter dash: Noah Lukkiari, Ontonagon Area, 53.46
300-meter hurdles: Jensen Schneiderhan, Calumet, 43.48
800-meter run: Johnny Norland, Dollar Bay, 2:08.94
200-meter dash: Andrew Lundquist, Calumet, 24.39
3200-meter run: Joe Wood, Houghton, 10:43.83
1600-meter relay: Joe Wood, Houghton, 4:57.14
Shot put: Xander Zapolink, Houghton, 43-feet-3
High jump: Cole Gregorie, Lake Linden-Hubbell, 5-feet-8
Pole vault: Shane Aho, Hancock, 11-feet-6
Long jump: Cole Gregorie, Lake Linden-Hubbell, 19-feet-5