Ruling over the park: Ishpeming’s Spencer Giroux, Negaunee’s Emily Paupore come up victorious while Marquette Redettes, Ishpeming Hematites earn county team titles

Negaunee’s Emily Paupore shows off her winning and record-setting high school cross country form during the Marquette County Meet held at Presque Isle Park in Marquette on Thursday. (Journal photo by Trinity Carey)

MARQUETTE — Marquette County finally saw some fair skies Thursday after a rainy week.

The sunny day came just in time for the annual Marquette County Meet, where six high school cross country teams competed in 60-degree temperatures at Presque Isle Park in Marquette.

Ishpeming senior Spencer Giroux and Negaunee junior Emily Paupore took individual titles, while the Hematites won the boys team championship and Marquette took the girls crown.

The Ishpeming boys totaled 20 points, followed by Marquette with 38, Negaunee 88 and Westwood 103.

Marquette scored 36 points in the girls meet, followed by Ishpeming with 53 and Westwood and Negaunee both with 69.

Ishpeming’s Spencer Giroux crosses the finish line as the winner of the Marquette County Meet high school cross country event at Presque Isle Park in Marquette on Thursday. (Journal photo by Trinity Carey) (Journal photo by Trinity Carey)

Gwinn also had runners participate, but didn’t post a team score.

Ishpeming head coach P.J. Pruett said his girls saw some surprises while the boys are on pace for their season goal.

“The boys are strong and they want to be the best boys team in the (Upper Peninsula),” he said. “When we started training in the summer they told me that was their goal. Spencer (Giroux) was a lone ranger out there. He ran very well for not being pushed. I’m very proud of him.”

Pruett said he had some surprises on the girls side, too.

“Abby Racine placed fourth and Kayla Koski placed seventh after fighting illness all week,” the Hematites coach said. “They knew what they had to do, they came out and did it and I’m very proud of the girls.”

Racine clocked 21:03 while Koski crossed in 21:11.

Giroux won the boys race in 16:39 and said a shortened course this year helped.

“It’s always a nice course to run on,” he said. “Last time it was long, this time they shortened it to 3.1 (miles). The worst part was definitely the second mile because it’s really hilly, but after that it was a nice flat course.”

Giroux was joined by three teammates in the top five — Jonah Broberg finished second, Silas Broberg fourth and Jordan Longtine fifth.

Paupore was the class of the girls field yet again, finishing in 19:01, re-establishing her course record eight seconds faster than she set last year. That came despite some water hazards on the trail from rain the previous few days.

“It was a lot nicer today and I think I had a better mindset going into it,” she said. “That was really good. There were a lot of puddles. It was kind of like a true cross country course and it was fun. You got wet, it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it.”

Negaunee head coach Lisa Bigalk credited Paupore and all the Miners despite lower numbers this year.

“It was beautiful, the course was nice and Emily was very dominating,” Bigalk said. “She’s very determined and it was a wonderful race. My whole team improved their times, which is great.

“The kids are working hard, we have a smaller team than usual but they’re working hard and having fun.”

For Marquette, the girls were led by Ericka Asmus and Delaney Sall, while Mathurin Gagnon was the top finisher among MSHS boys. Asmus finished second in 20:07 while Sall was next in third at 20:45. Gagnon finished third in the boys race in 17:20.

“We’re getting better, guys are getting faster,” Marquette head coach Kyle Detmers said. “The guys are getting better and the girls are still fighting the flu bug a little bit. We had a girl on our varsity team not run, but once again our depth showed to still pull it out.”

Detmers added that he and his team were happy with the event.

“We had a little bit of water, which our runners didn’t mind too much so we were happy,” the Marquette coach said. “Just another great county championship. Shout out to Ishpeming and their boys as well, they were solid again.”

For Westwood, Jacob Jestila was its first boys finisher in 14th in 18:17, while Dartanyan Taylor was 17th in 18:52.

The Westwood girls were even better, with Hannah Mattila finishing sixth in 21:09 and Elizabeth Williams eighth in 21:34. Amanda Matznick also finished 14th in 22:29.

Gwinn had three boys run. Jacob Porubsky was 21st in 19:57, while Nate Belongia came in 25th and Erik Thompson 29th.

On Tuesday, Marquette goes to the Kingsford Invitational, while on Thursday, Ishpeming, Gwinn, Negaunee and Westwood go to a West PAC meet. Originally scheduled for McLain State Park west of Hancock, it has been moved to the Chassell Ski Trails, according to Bigalk.

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