UP Track Finals
Reported June 3, 2001 by the Sault Evening News
Sault Ste Marie, Michigan

By JOHN VRANCIC/Escanaba Daily Press

Girls

KINGSFORD - When one checks the list of Upper Peninsula Class A-B girls' champs, the names of two schools appear on it quite often.

Either Marquette or Escanaba have won it every year, except 1979 when Kingsford was crowned champion.

Sault High can now be added to that list.

The Blue Devils were crowned champions for the first time by scoring 62 points in Division 1. Marquette, which had won eight straight titles, was runner-up this time with 52.5. Gladstone took third at 47.

"We were a little disappointed last year after missing a runner-up trophy by a half-point, but today we got some great performances," said Sault High coach Scott Menard. "We took 14 girls here and every one of them scored points. This is the first time that's happened for us. We finally got some depth in places where we haven't had it before."

Sault High's Sarah Deusing repeated as champion in the high jump with a school-record leap of 5 feet, 8 inches. She also defended titles in long jump at 16-3 3/4 and 300-meter hurdles in 47.53 seconds. Duesing, however, yielded her 100 hurdle crown to Gladstone's Sarah Ducheny.

Duesing's effort in high jump fell a quarter-inch short of the U.P. record set by Brenda Teague of Gwinn in 1981.

"I went for 5-9 but came up a little short,"said Duesing. At 5-5, I normally start looking at the bar and think about it a little too much. It was a big relief for me to clear that. This season has been quite an accomplishment for everyone on this team. We have really worked well together."

Natalie Cahill added a first in the 3200 run for the Blue Devils at 11:38.12 and anchored the winning 3200 relay to a school-record 9:55.81 clocking.

"We were going for it today," Cahill said after the opening relay. "We knew we had to win this race and that gave us a big boost heading into our other races."

Escanaba's Kristen Pearson won her second straight U.P. pole vault title with a record leap of 10-1, an inch higher than the previous mark set by Angela Abernathy of Marquette two years ago.

Pickford won for the third straight year by scoring 64 points in Division 3. Rapid River was runner-up for the fourth straight year at 59 and third-place Bessemer finished with 27.

Pickford's Ashley Bishop set a U.P. record in shot put at 39 feet, 8 inches, two feet more than the previous mark set by Jill Lewis of Lake Linden in 1986. She also took discus at 114-3.

"Everything seemed to go well," said Bishop. "I knew my sister and teammates were my competition last year and they've graduated. I knew if I had my best throw, I'd be okay in discus. But I wanted the record real bad in shot put, so I was more nervous going into that event."

Pickford's Rachel Morrison won the 800 (2:31.96) and anchored the winning 3200 relay. Courtney Brown added a first in the 3200 run (13:06.15).

"We just tried to stay with the leaders," Morrison said after the relay.

"In the second lap I told myself 'Go Rachel!' and I picked up the pace. I think winning that race psyched everyone up for the whole meet."

Cedarville got a first from Meredith Carlson in the 1600 (5:47.71).

Wakefield's Lindsay Anonich matched the pole vault record at 8-3, which was previously set two years ago by Danielle Richmond of Superior Central.

Ironwood took the Division 2 title with 62 points. St. Ignace was runner-up for the third straight year with 56 and third-place Westwood had 48.

Eryn Mercer led the Saints by winning the 100 (12.87), 200 (26.62) and anchoring the winning 400 and 800 relays.

"We practiced a lot on handoffs and they've been solid all year," Mercer said after the 800 relay. "All of us are competitive. We don't like to lose."

St. Ignace's Kate Ruegg matched the U.P. record in pole vault at 9-0, previously set by Amy Hokenson of Manistique last year and Deb Palmer of Stephenson in 1998.

Boys

KINGSFORD - A pair of long championship droughts came to an end for two Eastern Upper Peninsula schools at the U.P. Track Finals Saturday.

The Newberry boys captured their first title since 1962 and Sault High is the U.P. champion for the first time in 25 years.

Newberry ran away with the Division 2 crown by scoring 69 points. Munising was runner-up with 40 and third-place Ironwood finished with 30.

The Sault High boys collected 55 points. Calumet captured the runner-up spot by nudging Escanaba 42.5-41.

"This is really a culmination of a fine group of athletes working hard for four years," said Sault High coach Jim Martin. "This is also a fun group of kids. This means a great deal for our program. I'm just thrilled."

It was a similar build-up for Newberry. "This year really started four years ago," said coach John Carlson. "We've had 11 of these kids for four years and 10 of our seniors scored points. When they announced the scores before the 3200-meter run in the Superior Dome (early-season invitational in Marquette), that's when it hit me that we could really have a strong team this year."

Sault High was led by Clifton Lindsey, who won the 800 in 2:02.09 and 1600 at 4:27.5 on this cloudy, chilly and breezy day at Flivver Field.

Lindsey, however, didn't seem to mind the conditions. "I think the weather helped me out a lot," he said after the 1600. "I missed a few days with an Achilles tendon problem two weeks ago, so I'm not in my best shape. I never felt comfortable. I pushed the whole way. I'm just glad to get it over with."

Sault High, led by by Jereld Saywer's toss of 158 feet, grabbed the top three spots in discus. The Blue Devils also got a first from its 1600 relay.

The Blue Devils, who dropped the baton in the 400 and 800 relays in last week's regional, were runners-up by a point to Esky.

"Last Thursday was a wake-up call," said Martin. "Today, we just left everything on the track. Escanaba and Calumet hurt each other because their strengths were in the same places."

Marquette set an all-time U.P. record in the 3200 relay at 8:02.4.

"This is the first time we've had our strongest team," said Marquette's Joe Graci. "All of us worked hard on our handoffs. It's a great feeling to get this record."

The Redmen also owned the previous record (8:11.7), set in 1995.

Calumet's Matt Wise tied a record in the 300 hurdles (40.5), which was previously set by John Schneider of Sault High in 1988.

Newberry was led by seniors Eric Rocker and Matt McNamara. Rocker won the 200 in 23.43 seconds, the 400 at 51.43 and anchored the winning 800 relay to a school-record 1:34.28 clocking. McNamara took the 800 (2:03.9) and 1600 (4:37.68) and anchored the winning 1600 relay.

"Having a lot of senior leadership, early-season meets at Lake Superior State and putting a lot of time at the track helped," said Rocker. "We also wanted to win this one for coach (Mike) Carpenter. He's been coaching at different levels for 42 years and had never really won a U.P. title."

Victory was also sweet for McNamara, who missed last year's meet due to a hamstring injury. "That was hard to do," he said. "But that also made me want to run more this year. I also wanted to do this for coach Carpenter."

"We have an excellent group of seniors," said Carpenter. "I think this does a lot for our program. These kids have set a standard. They're such a dedicated bunch. They gave up a lot of senior activities just so they could stay together."

Newberry's Jake Holcomb set a school record while winning the shot put at 50-11 and Andrew Downey added a first in discus (154-1).

St. Ignace's leader was Jim Clement, who won the 110 hurdles (15.65) and 300s (41.81).

In Division 3, Rapid River brought home a championship plaque for the second straight year with 58 points. Wakefield took second with 38 and Bark River-Harris was third at 32.

Pickford's Dustin Esslin won the 200 in 23.62, nipping BR-H's Travis Bellefeuille by .03 second.

Engadine got firsts from Nick Albright in the 400 in 53 seconds and Jordan Wilcoxen in the 300 hurdles (42.96).