Paupore, Johnson, Yesney lead Negaunee at El Harger cross country

MUNISING – The race for the girls’ individual title was nearly as tight as could be in Tuesday’s El Harger Memorial Invitational cross country meet at Pictured Rocks Golf Club.

Negaunee freshmen Emily Paupore splashed to victory on a cool and rainy day, covering the 3.1-mile course in 19 minutes, 57 seconds. She edged junior teammate Clara Johnson by less than a half-second and Munising junior Alyssa Webber by three seconds.

“Clara and I always pace each other,” Paupore said. “She’s older than I am and can teach me stuff. Whoever has more energy in the end is basically the one who gets it.

“With this being my first year, I didn’t know Alyssa would be here. This was a big surprise, although it was really nice to have her out there to push us. I really want Clara and I to finish first and second at the (Upper Peninsula Division 1) Finals.”

With 15 schools all together at the meet, Menominee was crowned girls champion with 77 points, followed by Ishpeming as runner-up with 99, Negaunee 102 and Munising 109. Westwood was 10th with 262, Manistique 11th with 296 and Superior Central 13th with 308.

The Negaunee boys won with 29, followed by the Hematites again as runners-up with 40. Munising was sixth with 187, Westwood 11th with 329, Gwinn 13th with 362, Manistique 14th with 371 and SC 15th with 402.

Kingsford’s Peyton Johnson placed fourth among the girls in 21:27, followed by Gladstone senior Leigha Woelffer (21:33) and SC freshman Danika Walters (21:44).

“I’m pleased with how everything went,” Woelffer said. “It was a little cold at first, but I like running in the rain. I thought it was a pretty fun race and my time wasn’t too bad.”

The area’s other top-10 finisher in the girls race was Madeleine Peramaki of Munising, who was 10th in 22:00.

Negaunee junior Colton Yesney took the boys’ title by 18 seconds as he finished in 16:25, followed by Ishpeming teammates Grady Kerst (16:43) and Spencer Giroux (17:01).

“It was fairly comfortable out there,” Yesney said. “I like this weather because it doesn’t get too hot.”

The Miners again showed their depth with three other boys also cracking the top 10 – Thomas Ziegler was fourth in 17:33, Ethan Wallner sixth in 17:45 and Elliot Prusi ninth in 18:06.

Ishpeming’s Jeffrey Braun also broke into the top 10 as he finished eighth in 17:51.