MANISTIQUE - The Manistique Emeralds had only two girls entered in their own cross country invitational Thursday.
They also just happened to grab the top two spots in the second annual event at the Manistique Township Environmental Laboratory on the seasonably mild day.
Freshman Holly Blowers covered the 3.1-mile course in 22 minutes, 17 seconds for her first high school victory, four seconds ahead of senior Darby Demers.
The Munising girls were crowned champions with 29 points, followed by Gwinn 49, Manistique 54 and Marquette North Star Academy 83.
Manistique senior Tyler Pomeroy paced the boys in a school-record 17:07, followed by Munising's Brett Hannah (17:17) and Izaak Mahoski (17:43) on a day which it rained briefly and cleared up in the end.
"I pretty much tried to stay with Brett, then I started pulling away at about the two-mile mark," said Pomeroy. "He's a real good runner. I was kind of hoping to win here at home, especially with this being my last year.
"It was a perfect day for running. I thought it was going to be raining the whole time. I like running in the rain because it cools you off. I'm glad it cleared up, though."
The Munising boys also won with 39 points, followed by Gwinn 44, Manistique 50 and North Star Academy 77.
"Our No. 3 runner should have been 3-4 places higher, but he took a wrong turn," said Munising coach Fran DesArmo. "A lot of kids were tentative because they didn't know where the course was going. Although, I'm glad they had us come. Overall, I thought they did a nice job putting this meet on."
This was only the second recorded 5-kilometer time for Blowers, who sprained an ankle halfway through the Marquette Invitational three weeks ago and was unable to finish.
"I hadn't run three miles in about a month," said Blowers, who also plays JV volleyball for the Emeralds. "I'm happy to be back. It made me feel so good just to finish, although I definitely could have done better. I was so disappointed when I wasn't able to finish in Marquette. It's great having Darby and I take first and second in our home meet. Having a teammate out there with you is very supporting."
Maintaining a steady pace was key, according to Demers.
"We wanted to set a pace and stay with it," she said. "That was our main goal. We're happy to end up in the top two spots on our home course. This course was flatter than the rest we ran on this season. But it was also a little confusing at times."
Munising's pacesetter was Anna Baij, who placed third (22:59), a second ahead of Alyssa St. Amour.
Manistique coach Laurie Lindstrom was also generally pleased with how the meet went.
"The course was well marked, although I understand there was a little confusion out there," she said. "Holly and Darby paced themselves well and Tyler is coming on strong. His finishes are always real strong and he tends to peak at the end of the season. The boys did very well."