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Marquette freshman Rudden wins M&M Border Battle

September 19, 2012
By JOHN VRANCIC , Escanaba Daily Press

MENOMINEE - The Escanaba boys cross country team returned to its winning ways Tuesday, earning top honors in the M&M Border Battle with 65 points.

Esky, which won for the third time in four meets this season, was followed by Luxemburg-Casco, Wis., 77 and Menominee 85.

The Eskymos were 11th overall in Saturday's Smiley Invitational at Wausau, Wis.

"It makes my life easy, knowing our top guys are going to perform week in and week out," said Esky coach Jake Berlinski. "This team is very close-knit. The guys are turning into a family."

Marinette's Austin Wright won the 3.1-mile race at the North Shore Golf Club in 16 minutes, 53 seconds. He was followed by Kingsford's Dan Kulas (17:14) and Esky's Andrew Stenberg (17:20).

"I was actually a little disappointed in my place and time," said Stenberg. "I think Kulas just pushed harder than I did. Although, he's a very good runner. He's very consistent. Austin ran a real steady race. We were kind of together at the mile, then he gradually pulled away."

Stenberg and Kulas met Aug. 30 in the Marquette Invitational, where Stenberg won and Kulas placed third.

"I really wanted to beat Stenberg after Marquette," said Kulas. "In the last mile, it was pretty obvious the Marinette kid was going to win. That's when I began to focus on taking second."

Esky's Eric Cousineau placed 10th (17:47) and Jordan Ogren took 12th (18:04).

"Dan Stacey ran in his first varsity race as a freshman and had a 19:04, which is outstanding," said Berlinski. "It's hard for freshmen to compete with seniors, but Dan is learning what it takes to compete."

L-C's girls edged Marquette 37-43 for the title. Third-place Menominee had 58 points.

Marquette freshman Lindsey Rudden breezed to victory in 19:04, followed by teammate Calla Martysz (20:14) and L-C's Lisa Baeten (20:27) on this chilly and blustery day.

"I like to start fast," said Rudden, whose father Jerry was a football and track standout at Esky in the early to mid 1980s. "My dad was a sprinter in high school, and I have some of that in me. Although, endurance is really my strength. This is a fast course which has great footing. I also liked these conditions. It was just the right temperature (mid 40s)."

Marquette's overall performance was pleasing to coach Dale Phillips.

"Lindsey ran a tremendous race," said Phillips. "We have a ways to go, but we're improving every week. We're pleased with the way the girls ran, especially for having such a young team."

Esky's pacesetter was sophomore Aimee Giese, who took sixth (20:46).

"I wanted to go out hard and keep a steady pace," said Giese. "But I have a head cold and was pretty tired today. Plus, we had some stiff competition."



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