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U.P Finals in track is special

May 27, 2012
The Mining Journal

This coming Saturday, the Upper Peninsula's premier high school sporting event will be held in Kingsford.

I'm referring, of course, to the annual U.P. Track and Field Finals.

Years ago, when the U.P. boys regional basketball finals were staged at Hedgcock Fieldhouse in Marquette, you couldn't beat the excitement and drama that event provided.

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It was a spectacular peninsula sports spectacle, one that had U.P. basketball fans talking about for weeks before and after.

But now that the fieldhouse is no more and regional competition is spread around among two or three U.P. schools, it has lost a little of its punch.

There are other sporting events - U.P. football playoff games, for example - that hold a lot of emotion for those involved, but don't hold a candle to the track finals.

That's because all U.P. schools that qualify an athlete in regional competition for the U.P. Finals are represented.

In addition, the athletes participating are the best, as determined through regional elimination.

Put them all at one location and it's a feast for the senses. If you're a spectator and can't find something interesting to watch, you're not trying.

There's flat-out speed, like in the 100- and 200-meter dashes.

There are technical skills shown, like in the hurdles or the pole vault.

There's strength and power, like in the shot put and discus.

And there's long distance running, where athletes push their bodies to the limit in 1,600 and 3,200 runs.

When the U.P. finals were held at Marquette Senior High School years ago, I used to cover them all, rain or shine, cold or hot, windy or calm.

But since they've been moved to Kingsford High School, I've only been there once or twice, for various reasons.

I hear from Mining Journal sportswriters who have covered the finals the last few years the Kingsford people do a fine job in running the event.

It's not easy preparing for it, then coordinating competition involving hundreds of athletes.

But KHS officials and volunteers seem to have it all under control.

When all is said and done, those at the meet see some athletes turn in spectacular individual efforts, or the occasional competitor who suffers a heartbreaking slip, fall or false start.

If the weather is good, the U.P. Track and Field Finals is a magnificent event. Even if Mother Nature doesn't cooperate, it's still impressive.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is



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