NORWAY - North Central's cross country teams weren't among the frontrunners Monday, but still put forth a solid effort in the Norway Invitational.
The Norway boys, placing five among the top nine, were crowned champions with 28 points. They were followed by Munising 41, Florence, Wis. 77 and North Central 84.
Munising's girls also grabbed five of the top nine places and won with 31 points, followed by Norway 64 and Goodman-Pembine, Wis. 73. North Central didn't field a complete team.
Munising’s Brett Hannah, far left, takes the early lead in the Norway Invitational cross country meet on Monday. (Iron Mountain Daily News photo by Burt Angeli)
"Our four girls ran their best times," said North Central coach Jerry Root. "We're pleased that four of our boys and three of our girls medaled. We're a young and competitive team. This was a good tune-up for the U.P. (Division 3) Finals."
Munising freshman Brett Hannah won the boys' race, covering the 3.1-mile course at Strawberry Lake in 18 minutes, 17 seconds. He was followed by Norway's Steve Raboin (18:20) and teammate Izaak Mahoski (18:21) on this sunny and seasonably cool day.
"Brett's a good kid who works hard," said Munising coach Fran DesArmo. "He's not afraid of pain. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the way the kids ran. Our girls have run well as a pack all year."
This marked the second straight victory for Norway, which also earned the Mid-Peninsula Conference Thursday at Negaunee.
"Our boys are doing well," said Norway coach Rose Zygiel. "They're pushing each other. We're excited for the U.P. (Division 2) Finals on Saturday (at Munising). Stephenson has been right with us. Hancock also has a nice team and they've ran against good competition. The race for the U.P. title appears to be wide-open. Everybody has a chance."
North Central's leader was sophomore Dillon Robinson, who placed 10th (19:56).
Florence senior Jenny Goeman won the girls' race at 21:26, followed by Goodman-Pembine's Teddy Reed (21:38) and Norway's Alexis Kallenbach (21:57).
"I learned in the first two meets (this season) I wasn't pushing myself enough." said Goeman, who's battling a cold and allergies. "I'm usually warm in every race, but lately I've been feeling a little cold. The cold and allergies are effecting my breathing. My times have been better than last year, although they haven't been as good in the last three meets as expected. When I get pushed, I do better."
For Goeman and the Bobcats, this meet served as a tune-up for Friday's Division 4 sectional meet at Schofield, Wis. where they'll run four kilometers (2 1/2 miles) compared to 5Ks in Michigan.
"It's a pretty big transition for me coming over here," she said. "Although, the extra distance helps me for the 4Ks."