MUNISING - Fran DesArmo was teased Saturday about his Munising High School boys cross country team being a dynasty after successfully defending its MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 3 title.
"I don't know about a dynasty," the Mustangs' veteran coach said, "but we've got a couple of years (in a row) now.
"We have everyone coming back, so I'm sure the kids will be thinking good things all year long."
Finishing third in Division 2 with a time of 18:13.2, Manistique’s Tyler Pomeroy, pictured left, heads toward the finish line Saturday during the MHSAA Upper Peninsula Cross Country Finals at the Pictured Rocks Golf Club in Munising. Right, Brett Hannah of Munising captured top honors in Division 3 at the U.P. Finals on Saturday at the Pictured Rocks Golf Club. He finished in 17:55.0. (Journal photos by Craig Remsburg)
Led by individual winner Brett Hannah, Munising placed three runners in the top 10 to finish with 55 points. Cedarville took second with 72 and St. Ignace third with 90 in a 10-team event.
"I was worried about St. Ignace, but the kids did a great job," DesArmo said. "We had five kids who wanted it."
Hannah certainly did. The freshman took advantage of the 3.1-mile race being held on his home Pictured Rocks Golf Club course in Munising to post a time of 17 minutes and 55 seconds.
Josh Hester of Cedarville placed second (18:00.3) and Izaak Mahoski of Munising third (18:00.8). The Mustangs' Samuel McArthur came in 10th (18:44.2).
"I'm a little surprised (I won)," Hannah said. "I knew there would be some good competition. I just tried to keep pushing it and keep pace with the (lead) four-wheeler.
"I had to dodge a few puddles, but I led all the way.
"We've been practicing (on the course) and we had some hometown fans (there)," he added. "I think it made a difference."
In Division 1, Marquette Senior High School came in sixth in a 10-team field with 131 points. Sault Ste. Marie, behind individual champion Scott Parker (16:50.5), won the crown with 65.
"We were shooting for a top five (team) finish and we just missed that. But, I'm still pleased." said MSHS assistant coach Kyle Detmers, filling in for head coach Dale Phillips as the latter faces hip surgery Monday.
"We're young. It was a great year for the guys. Marquette's back on the (cross country) map. Watch out next year."
Lance Rambo paced the Redmen with a fourth place finish in 17:18.3.
"It's amazing to do that," he said. "I can't believe I caught Andrew (Stenberg) of Escanaba (who placed sixth). I was hoping to get third or fourth.
"The course was super wet ... but I stayed with the top runners, hoping some of them would fall back. I guess they did."
Added Detmers: "At the two-mile mark, Lance was sixth. He has run with that pack all year."
Negaunee came in seventh with 158 points. The Miners' Keenan Gantz finished ninth (17:41.3).
"He ran a great race. I was hoping he'd finish in the top 10 to be an all-state runner and he did," Negaunee head coach Lisa Bigalk said.
Gwinn's Matthew Moilanen also medaled, coming in 12th (17:48.1).
In Division 2, Manistique claimed fifth (84 points), Ishpeming seventh (180) and Westwood eighth (190) behind winner and defending champion Stephenson (52), and runner-up Norway (67). Mid-Peninsula Conference individual champion Tyler Pomeroy (18:13.2) and Manistique High School teammate Bryson Lawrence (18:37.2) finished 3-4 in the race. Connor Cappaert of Stephenson won (17:25.7).
"It's crappy," Pomeroy said of his finish. "I was trying to win. I hate this course, always have. It's just a curse to me.
"It was wet and I lost my footing a couple of times."
The Emeralds' Ryan Ramey medaled, as well, at 19:11.2 for 12th.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.