MARQUETTE - The Marquette Senior High School girls put the finishing touches on an impressive cross country season Saturday, earning the Upper Peninsula Division 1 title with 27 points.
Defending champion Calumet was runner-up this time at 89, while Escanaba edged Sault Ste. Marie, 112-113, for third place.
The victory marked the climax to a perfect season for Marquette, which was also crowned champion two years ago.
Munising High School’s Marissa Immel (151) runs to the finish line in second place with a time of 21 minutes, 16.2 seconds Saturday in the Upper Peninsula Finals at Gentz’s Homestead Golf Course in Chocolay Township. The Munising girls came in first for teams in Division 3. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
"It was just a tremendous performance by the ladies all year," coach Dale Phillips said, noting the Redettes finished 11-0. "We had a veteran team and an excellent freshman (Amber Huebner).
"Summer running really paid off for them and since Day 1 in practice, they knew they were going after the championship."
Menominee senior Kameron Burmeister also completed a perfect season by taking top individual honors. She covered the 3.1-mile event in 19 minutes, 36 seconds at Gentz's Homestead Golf Course in Chocolay Township.
"It really hasn't sunk in yet," said Burmeister, who became the first Menominee girl to earn a U.P. title since 1980. "This is bittersweet because this is the last cross country race of my high school career.
"I'm so fortunate to be able to do this, especially against so many good runners."
Marquette sophomore Lindsey Rudden was runner-up (19:42), with teammate Huebner third (19:56).
"Kameron deserved to win it," Rudden said. "I'm not disappointed I lost because I gained so much. I learned a lot this year. I learned how to be a teammate and a runner.
"Right now, I feel I need to take a couple weeks off. I've been running seven days a week. I overtrained by a lot. I had also been eating about one-third of what I was supposed to. At the end of the season, I didn't have anything left.
"I'm just so proud of our girls' and boys' teams. I'm so happy with the way everything went."
Huebner said her strategy was to stay right behind Burmeister and Rudden.
"It was anybody's race until the last 800 meters, then I couldn't stay with them any longer," she added. "I'm very proud of everyone on our team.
"We all had confidence in each other and the coaches had confidence in us. This was a great end to the season."
Gladstone freshman Leigha Woelffer placed fourth in a personal-best 20:04, with Marquette's Nichole Mackey fifth (20:22).
Negaunee's leader was Wyleen Kniola in 18th (21:43).
Munising was crowned D-3 champion for the first time with 46 points. Cedarville edged Dollar Bay 54-55 for the runner-up trophy.
"This is a great bunch of girls," Munising coach Fran DesArmo said. "We're going to miss our seniors.
"Today, the girls ran hard in the middle of the race and they stuck with it. Cedarville and Dollar Bay were tough.
"I kept looking at scores and saw that Dollar Bay was running against Houghton, Hancock and Calumet all year. They ran against good competition."
Junior Kaylee Hoolsema became the first Rudyard girl to capture a U.P. title in 20:32.
Munising freshman Marissa Immel was runner-up (21:16), followed by Cedarville's Emma Bohn (21:19.3), Brimley's Emily Chartrand (21:19.8) and Paradise's Carli Gratopp (21:32).
"I'm pleased with my race and proud of our girls," Immel said. "We pulled through today. We have four seniors on our team who realized it was their last race, and they left it all on the course. All of the girls wanted it real bad."
Hancock was crowned a champion for the first time since 1990, leading the D-2 standings with 43 points. The Bulldogs were followed by St. Ignace (60) and Newberry (69).
Bulldogs senior Abbey Tembreull won at 21:04.
"I had quite a bit left in the end," Tembruell said. "Once I saw the finish line, I realized I could do it.
"I usually try to get in front of the pack early. I think once you get out front it's easier to keep the lead than trying to catch-up."
St. Ignace's Lily Calcaterra placed second (21:12), followed by Newberry sophomore Natalie Beaulieu (21:15), Norway sophomore Kyra Johnson (21:30) and Ironwood senior and defending champion Jessica Gering (21:37).
"I just wanted to stay with the frontrunners, and I'm very pleased with how everything went," Beaulieu said. "This is a big confidence builder.
"I think being here at the Finals got the adrenalin going. This was a good race."