HOUGHTON - The Negaunee girls track and field team made a successful defense of its MHSAA Division 1 regional title Thursday, getting help from favorites and dark horses alike.
The Miners extended their winning streak to five with 55 points, comfortably ahead of second-place Houghton's 43 1/2. Calumet (38), Kingsford (27) and Gwinn (22 1/2) rounded out the totals.
Negaunee built its total on the strength of some favorites, notably senior Ashley Veale, who swept the hurdles with ease, but also from strong work from less-heralded sources. Clara Churchill held off Houghton's Ashley Laux to win the 800-meter run in 2 minutes, 35.61 seconds and anchored a winning 3,200-meter relay.
Ashley Veale of Negaunee grazes the last hurdle before cruising to victory in the 300-meter hurdles. Brandon Veale/Daily Mining Gazette
"Once again, we had some great performances from Ashley Veale. She had a fantastic meet once again. She's been performing all year, very consistent and she had a great day," Negaunee coach Vickie Paupore said. "We also had some people that qualified we didn't expect to qualify. And when you do that it really helps your team effort as well."
As has been their custom for some time now, the Gremlins fared best in field events. Elisa Jurmu (discus, 105-1) and Annika Wheeler (31-11) teamed up to sweep the throws.
The Gremlins augmented those wins with seven second-place finishes and qualified 16 entries for U.P. Finals in Kingsford on June 1, for which the top four finishers in each event qualify.
MHSAA U.P. Regionals
Team scores - Negaunee 55, Houghton 43 1/2, Calumet 38, Kingsford 27, Gwinn 22 1/2.
3,200 meter relay - 1. NEGAUNEE (Wyleen Kniola, Alyssa Blake, Allison Carlson, Clara Churchill), 10:32.87; 2. HOUGHTON, 3. GWINN; 4. KINGFSFORD.
100-meter hurdles - 1, Ashley Veale, NEG, 16.54; 2. Kira Fowler, HOU; 3. Terra Erkkila, CAL; 4. Jaelyn Jennings, NEG.
100-meter dash - 1, Chelsea Jacques, CAL, 12.59; 2. Veale, NEG; 3. Carlee Benzie, KNG; 4. Taylor Wilber, NEG.
800-meter relay - 1. KINGSFORD (Benzie, Andrea Roell, Hannah Tresedder, Emma Williams), 1:54.24; 2. NEGAUNEE; 3. HOUGHTON.
1,600-meter run - 1. Leah Kiilunen, CAL, 5:48.57; 2. Marika Abbott, HOU; 3. Kniola, NEG; 4. Carly Bulleit, HOU.
400-meter relay - 1, CALUMET (Lexie Rowe, Caitlin Klobuchar, Erkkila, Jacques), 53.59; 2. GWINN; 3. NEGAUNEE; 4. KINGSFORD.
400-meter dash - 1. Ashley Tresedder, NEG, 1:04.15; 2. H. Tresedder, KNG; 3. Roell, KNG; 4. Johanna Bartsch, GWN.
300-meter hurdles - 1. Veale, NEG, 49.63; 2. Natalie Datto, HOU; 3. Hannah Allen, KNG; 4. Anja Wiedenhoefer, GWN.
800-meter run - 1. Churchill, NEG, 2:35.61; 2. Ashley Laux, HOU; 3. Alyssa Blake, NEG; 4. Corey Miller, CAL.
200-meter dash - 1. Jacques, CAL, 27.08; 2. Veale, NEG; 3. Benzie, KNG; 4. Williams, KNG.
3,200-meter run - 1. Kiilunen, CAL, 12:49.14; 2. Abbott, HOU; 3. Kniola, NEG; 4. Bulleit, HOU.
1,600-meter relay - 1. NEGAUNEE (Churchill, Blake, Emilee Lokken, A. Tresedder), 4:25.74; 2. HOUGHTON; 3. KINGSFORD; 4. GWINN.
Discus - 1. Elisa Jurmu, HOU, 105-1; 2. Hailee Richards, NEG; 3. Mackenzie Hietala, HOU; 4. Aubri Romback, NEG.
Shot put - 1. Annika Wheeler, HOU, 31-11; 2. Morgan Bruce, GWN; 3. Hietala, HOU; 4. Elaine Schuhmacher, GWN.
High jump - 1. Lydia Asplund, GWN, 5-0; 2. Carissa Pavolich, CAL; 3. Jurmu, HOU; 4. Sarah Paquette, NEG.
Pole vault - 1. Morgan Peters, CAL, 8-0; T2. Nicole St. Martin, HOU and Nicole Usher, GWN; T4. Aubrey Nyman, NEG and Kyra Niemi, NEG.
Long jump - 1. Benzie, KNG, 15-4; 2. Asplund, GWN; 3. Klobuchar, CAL; 4. Paquette, NEG.
"The effort was there today and you never know what's going to happen in the regional. Points are tough to come by," Houghton coach Ross Coltman said.
For third-place Calumet, it was about the power of some young stars. Chelsea Jacques whipped the field, including Veale, in the sprints, taking the 100 in 12.59 (just 0.04 seconds off her U.P. record from the 2012 Finals, and into a headwind to boot), and the 200 by more than a second in 27.08.
"I like having the competition. Obviously, they're great runners. I wish I could have gone a little faster. I guess it wasn't all there," Jacques said.
Leah Kiilunen comfortably took the 1,600 (5:48.57) and 3,200 (12:49.14) and the Copper Kings added an individual win from Morgan Peters in the pole vault (8-0) and top spot in the 400 relay (53.59). Calumet will have 11 entries at finals.
Carlee Benzie starred for Kingsford, claiming the Flivvers' only individual win in long jump, leading off the winning 800-meter relay and finishing third in both sprints. Hannah Tresedder took a second behind Negaunee's Ashley Tresedder in the 400.
Gwinn also claimed some honors, led by Lydia Asplund's first in high jump and runners-up from Asplund in long jump and Morgan Bruce in shot put.