Munising boys breeze; Newberry girls win in Division 3 tests

KINGSFORD – The boys and girls Upper Peninsula Division 3 track and field championships were in stark contrast Saturday.

The boys side was a complete blowout as Munising cruised its way to back-to-back titles with a 134-point tally, 69 ahead of Rapid River.

“Today went really well,” Mustangs head coach Matt Mattson said. “We looked really good in the field events. Andy (Cooper) had a great day and I think he’s the best athlete in the U.P.

“If there’s someone out there that’s better, I’d like to see it. Ben (Stasewich) also won the shot put and he’s hasn’t gotten enough credit this year. Our seniors were definitely our leaders this year.”

On the other hand, the girls meet came down to the wire before Newberry emerged as champion with 64 points, just six ahead of Brimley. This is the Indians first championship since 1991, the third of three in row when they were in Class C.

“This has been a long time coming, so it feels really good,” Indians head coach Lori Fair said. “This year was our first in Division 3 so it was a bit of an adjustment and we had to share time with softball.

“I also only had seven girls here, so they all had to compete at a high level and they did. We were a little nervous, but they pulled through. I also think we have a good group coming up, so I think we could challenge again next year.”

Munising was led by its two stars, Andy Cooper and Brett Hannah. Both won multiple events, Cooper taking four and Hannah finishing first in three.

Cooper won the 110- and 300-meter hurdles along with the 200 dash and the high jump. He also set a U.P. Division 3 finals record in the 110 hurdles in 14.96 seconds.

“It’s exciting to finish so strong,” he said. “I just worked really hard and it was fun to set a U.P. record.

“I was actually trying to set the school record, but the U.P. record is still nice. It’s a nice way to end my career.”

Hannah got his victories in distance events, handily winning the 800, 1,600 and 3200.

“It’s always nice to win,” he said. “I never thought that I had the race won. I just pretended someone was right behind me the whole time.

“Our whole team did well, though. As a distance runner, it really helps having sprinters and jumpers helping get points, too.”

The Mustangs finished on top in the 400 relay with a time of 46.21, just a little ahead of Rudyard.

On the girls side, Newberry took first in three events as Natalie Beaulieu won the 800 and 1,600 runs, setting a school record in the 800.

“I’m really happy with how I did,” she said. “I’ve been trying to get the school record all year (in the 800) and I finally got it. I really gave it my all today.”

Taylor Bryant was the other Newberry champion as she won the 100 with a time of 13.60 second, just one-hundredth of a second in front of Stephenson’s Haley Truitt.

“My day went pretty good,” she said. “I got off to a rough start today when I wiped out in the 100 hurdles, so it feels really good to win the 100 (dash) after that.”

Munising also won a girls event, taking first in the 3,200 relay.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.