MARQUETTE - By the looks of it, Brett Hannah of Munising is coming out of nowhere to dominate distance events in Upper Peninsula high school track and field.
He swept to victories in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs at the Superior Dome Division 3 meet in Marquette on Thursday afternoon.
That was despite having to run in the follow-up, or "slow" heat, in those events.
Grand Marais-Munising Baptist’s Leroy Ward-Harbaum runs in the 100 meter dash during the Superior Dome Division 3 track and field meet on Thursday in Marquette. He finished third. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
Why? Because Hannah had no record of past high school times as a gauge, since he's a freshman competing in the season's first meet.
"That's pretty incredible, to come out of the slow heat when you're not getting pushed, and win," said Mustangs coach Matt Mattson.
"But he has to get used to that. We don't have other great distance runners like we've had in the past with (2011 graduate) Jake Mahoski and (2012 graduate) Andrew Kelto, who would push each other."
The slightly built Hannah also ran a leg on Munising's sixth-place 3,200 relay team as the Mustangs scored 35 points, good for sixth place just behind Superior Central's fifth-place total of 39. The cooperative Grand Marais-Munising Baptist team was 15th with 12.
Rapid River won the boys meet with 74 points, followed by Pickford with 60 among the 21 teams entered.
Hannah won the 3,200 by an exceedingly close 14-hundredths of a second in 11 minutes, 0.02 seconds over Dan Blair of Rapid River after taking the 1,600 by a just under a full second ahead of runner-up Joey Swanson of Niagara, Wis.
But those in the know can't be surprised by Hannah, considering he won the U.P. Division 3 cross country title by five seconds last fall at his home Pictured Rocks Golf Course.
"He's got a chance to really be something special," Mattson said.
Hannah doesn't come about his success by chance, unless it's an accident that he was running six days a week all winter, usually averaging five to 10 miles per session.
Junior Nick Maki of Superior Central came close, however, running a leg on the Cougars' victorious 3,200 relay team in 9:09.70, coming in second in the 400 in 55.89 seconds, just over a second behind winner Cole Potvin of Big Bay de Noc, and finishing third in the 200 in 24.94 seconds.
"Everybody is behind because of the weather," said SC coach Chris Messano, whose school also ran the meet. "We do a lot of mixing in speed work and mid-distance training, which is hard to do inside.
"So we've been working a lot in the weight room and at exercise stations."
Kienitz was also third in the 800 (2:15.19), less than a second behind winner Paul Berger of Bessemer, and Spranger sixth in the same event (2:21.64).
Lucas Gauthier of Munising came in fourth in the shot put (43 feet, 10 inches) and fifth in the 100 (11.95), just a tenth of a second behind Michaels, while teammate Joe Brogan was fourth in the 55 hurdles (9.78).
Leroy Ward-Harbaum of Grand Marais-Munising Baptist picked up a pair of thirds in the long jump (18-5) and 100 (11.88), where he was just three-hundredths of a second out of the top spot.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.