MARQUETTE - Dale Phillips urged his Marquette Senior High School boys cross country runners to stay hydrated for Thursday's race at Marquette's Presque Isle.
"Drink water," he told them prior to the Marquette Cross Country Invitational. "It's going to pour out of you that first mile."
With temperatures nearing 90 degrees and steady winds blowing 25-30 mph, conditions were difficult for runners representing the 15 high schools which took part.
Marquette Senior High School’s Lindsey Rudden runs to a first-place finish at Presque Isle Park on Thursday. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
But Escanaba's Andrew Stenberg and Marquette's Lindsey Rudden didn't let the heat and wind stop them from winning the individual boys' and girls' titles, respectively.
"The first half of the race, it was hot," said Stenberg, who covered the 3.1-mile (5-kilometer) course in a top time of 17 minutes, 5.9 seconds. "And at the two-mile mark, the wind picked up.
"But it was the same for everyone."
Escanaba took the boys' crown with 34 points, while Calumet captured the girls' championship with 37.
Stenberg and Daniel Kulas of Kingsford, who placed third with a 17:40.8 clocking, battled until the two-mile mark before Stenberg took over.
"Most races, it's me and Daniel," Stenberg said. "I knew I had to sprint out fast, not slow down and push it. I took over the last mile."
Said Esky coach Jake Berlinski: "Andrew leads the way for us. He sets the tone with his example. He wants to run in the 16-minute range, but this early in the season, 17:05 is an outstanding time."
Davey Luplow of Menominee wound up taking second with a 17:22.5 effort.
The Eskymos took the team crown by 23 points over runner-up Menominee. Calumet came in third with 119.
Rudden, meanwhile, topped the girls' field with a 19:46.1 clocking. Tara Kilunen of Calumet (20:14.1) and Kameron Burmeister of Menominee (20:39.9) placed 2-3, respectively, with Marquette's Calla Martysz placing fifth (20:51.6).
"The heat got to my head a little bit," Rudden said. "But that's a good time for me under these conditions and with this course.
"I'm very happy to win. I was nervous for this race."
Rudden and Kilunen were close until about the two-mile mark, when the Redette pulled away.
"That's the hardest part of the race. It's all uphill," Rudden said. "But I really wanted to beat her."
Phillips said Rudden has "a lot of talent," especially for a freshman.
"She has a lot of drive," he added. "What I saw today from her was outstanding, with this (difficult) course and the temperatures."
Rudden's victory wasn't enough to lift MSHS past Calumet for the team title, however, with the Redettes finishing eight points behind the Copper Kings with 45. Menominee came in third with 55 points.
"It was definitely some tough competition," Calumet head coach Arnie Kinnunen said. "It basically came down to the fifth runner.
"All five of my runners finished in the top 15. We have some amazing talent on this team."
He added Calumet's No. 2 runner, Julia Lean, is sidelined with an injury.
Superiorland boy runners who medaled and led their teams were as follows:
Keenan Gantz, Negaunee, sixth, 18:22.7; Brett Hannah, Munising, ninth, 18:35.3; Lance Rambo, Marquette, 12th, 18:51.4; and Matt Moilanen, Gwinn, 14th, 19:11.3.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.