Chassell girls takes second at UP Finals
MUNISING — A year ago, the Munising girls’ cross country program was very low on numbers.
Hattie Cota was the team’s lone representative and the Mustangs were unable to get a team score.
Things were much different this season as the Mustangs had a full team and were crowned Upper Peninsula Division 3 champions for the first time in seven years with 54 points here Saturday.
“We’re just so happy,” said Cota, who was runner-up on this partly sunny and chilly afternoon at Pictured Rocks Golf & Country Club. “I’m not used to being on a team, especially a good team.”
They were followed by three-time defending champion Chassell with 73 and Stephenson 106.
“I’m just so excited,” said Munising coach Mark Kinnunen. “I thought it’d be many, many years before I’d have a championship team. We came in blind, not knowing who’d come out on top. We didn’t really know what to expect from Chassell. We told the girls to ‘run like you want to win’. The only reason why we had a full team is because Hattie went out and recruited some girls.”
The Dollar Bay boys captured their first title with 42 points, followed by defending champ Rudyard 83 and Newberry 85.
“Staying healthy was huge for us,” said Dollar Bay coach Matt ZImmer. “We’re all in this together. We decided we’re going to do this as a group. When the guys saw a teammate struggling, they offered him encouragement. They never left anyone alone out there. They all finished as a group. We refer to ourselves as the Dollar Bay family.”
Zimmer was also happy with the team’s senior leaders.
“They’ve been running together for four years,” he said. “They’ve been on this course before and knew where all the turns and hills were. Munising did a great job marking the course. Everything went like clockwork. They were very well organized.”
Mid Peninsula senior Daisy Englund earned her first title in three years, covering the 3.1-mile course in 21 minutes, 16.4 seconds. Cota, who led much of the third mile, was clocked at 21:27.
“That was so scary,” said Englund, who ran a 6:17 spiit for her first mile. “I could hear Hattie after the second mile and I kind of lost my focus for a little while. I knew everybody was going to be targeting me today and told myself I had to hang on. I finished strong, but I don’t know where that came from. I didn’t feel strong the whole race. I was cruising for sure in the first mile. This was my last high school cross country race. I just wanted to win so bad.”
Englund was trailing until the last turn when she used a strong surge to regain the lead.
“I was behind a bunch of girls.” said Cota. “I didn’t think I’d be able to catch her. Daisy ran a great race herself. Once she started pulling away, I knew I couldn’t catch her. I just didn’t have enough left.”
Ewen-Trout Creek senior Elise Besonen placed third (21:41), followed by Mid Pen junior and defending champion Landry Koski (21:46.7) and Stephenson senior Kylie Kuntze (21:47.5).
E-TC junior Jonah Nordine was crowned U.P. champion for the first time at 17:34.9. He was followed by Chassell senior Kolson Kytta (17:59.7) and Brimley senior Cameron Hoornstra (18:05.5).
“I just tried to stay in first and push it out the whole race,” said Nordine. “It felt good to win this one, that’s for sure. I just put in a lot of work this summer and used this for conditioning for basketball.”
Kytta said he was happy to be runner-up.
“I had a better time in the season-opener at (Painesdale) Jeffers, but that was kind of a downhill course,” he added. “It looks like I peaked at the right time. Our school was shut down for two weeks (due to Covid-19), but I think that enabled me work on some things. We usually have 8-10 races every year. We had five this year, which is kind of disappointing for my senior year, but at least we got to have a season.”
Newberry senior Ephram Evans took fourth (18:15.6), with Dollar Bay senior Davin Hill taking fifth (18:20.3).
“It wasn’t too bad out there,” said Evans. “I had a pair of water-resistant socks which kept my feet very dry. I went out a little harder than I wanted to. I would have liked to have placed third, but this was still a great way to end my high school career. Cam (Hoornstra) and I are great friends and he beat me for the first time this year. We worked together and tried to catch the guy in second.”
Dollar Bay 42, Rudyard 83, Newberry 85, Stephenson 98, Brimley 134, Republic-Michigamme 147, Munising 154, Rapid River 184, Engadine 186. Watersmeet 277. Chassell, Cedarville, Pickford, North Central, Bay Mills Ojibwe Charter, Ontonagon, Ewen-Trout Creek, Mid Peninsula NTS.
Top 15 – 1, Jonah Nordine, Ewen-Trout Creek, 17:34.9; 2, Kolson Kytta, Chassell, 17:59.7; 3, Cameron Hoornstra, Brimley, 18:05.5; 4, Ephram Evans, Newberry, 18:15.6; 5, Davin Hill, Dollar Bay, 18:20.3; 6, Ishmael Hernandez, Rapid River, 18:23.3; 7, Gannon Smith, Rudyard, 18:26.7; 8, Cooper Stout, Dollar Bay, 18:32; 9, Conrad Spieles, Engadine, 18:32.3; 10, John Paul Norland, Dollar Bay, 18:34.9; 11, Griffin Brown, Stephenson, 18:39.7; 12, Hayden Mills, Rudyard, 18:40.6; 13, Buckley Corey, Stephenson, 18:42; 14, Amos Norland, Dollar Bay, 18:43.5; 15, Nik Thomas, Dollar Bay, 18:49.
Munising 54, Chassell 73, Stephenson 106, Newberry 120, Dollar Bay 139, Mid Peninsula 142, Engadine 169, Cedarville 174, Brimley 183, Superior Central 204, Rapid River 241. Ewen-Trout Creek, Ontonagon, Rudyard, Pickford, Rapid River NTS.
Top 15 – 1, Daisy Englund, Mid Peninsula, 21:16.4; 2, Hattie Cota, Munising, 21:27; 3, Elise Besonen, Ewen-Trout Creek, 21:41; 4, Landry Koski, Mid Peninsula, 21:46.7; 5, Kylee Kuntze, Stephenson, 21:47.5; 6, Kamryn Sohlden, Chassell, 21:48.8; 7, Madisen Begovac, Superior Central, 21:54.7; 8, Ayla Miller, Chassell, 21:56; 9, Gwen Kangas, Chassell, 21:56.6; 10, Monique Brisson, Superior Central, 22:03.8; 11, Kaylen Clark, Newberry, 22:16.5; 12, Sabryna Smith, Munising, 22:18; 13, Taylor VanOss, Rapid River, 22:35.6; 14, Abigail Smithson, Newberry, 22:38.9; 15, Julia Prunick, Munising, 22:53.3.