ESCANABA - There were no major surprises in Thursday's Great Northern Conference cross country meet as the Marquette girls and Escanaba boys defended their titles.
The Marquette girls gained their 13th straight championship by placing seven runners in the top 14 and scoring 29 points.
"We're very pleased," said Marquette coach Dale Phillips. "I thought everybody ran well on all the teams. We're getting healthy, and now it's a matter of keeping everybody healthy for the U.P. (Division 1) Finals.
Lindsey Rudden of Marquette takes a considerable lead during the Great Northern Conference cross country meet at the Escanaba Country Club on Thursday. Rudden won the girls race with a time of 19 minutes, 16 seconds, which helped the Redettes win the event with 29 points. (Escanaba Daily Press photo by Holly Richer)
"We have the Marquette County Relays coming up on Monday, which will help us for the finals."
The Escanaba boys defended their crown with 51 points, followed by Menominee with 62, Kingsford 68 and Marquette 70.
Marquette freshman Lindsey Rudden dominated, covering the 3.1-mile course in 19 minutes, 16 seconds. She was followed by Menominee junior Kameron Burmeister (19:53) and Marquette sophomore and defending GNC champion Calla Martysz (20:09) on a day that was sunny, chilly and breezy.
"This wasn't my best race," Rudden said. "Although, this was a good day for running. It felt like Calla was pushing me. She's a great runner, and she ran an excellent race.
"There's a lot of pressure knowing our school has won the GNC so many years in a row. It's also a great motivator. We know we have to work hard to keep the title."
In the boys race, Kingsford senior Dan Kulas retained his title in 16:50.
"I thought I ran a strong race, and I felt good in the end," Kulas said. "This gives me confidence for the U.P. Finals, which I think will be a good race. I just have to be aggressive. Anything can happen."
Stenberg stayed with Kulas for two miles before the Flivvers' pacesetter began to gain a little separation, while Cappaert had to find a way to recover from a slow start.
"I slipped and fell on my knees right after the start," Cappaert said. "I was a little down the first mile, but was able to pick it up in the second mile.