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10 titles in a row: Negaunee Miners girls continue decade of success with another Mid-Peninsula Conference track & field title

Ishpeming’s Jonah Broberg and Westwood’s Micah Milano compete in the boys’ 1,600-meter run during the Mid-Peninsula Conference track and field meet Monday afternoon at the Hematites’ track. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

“The wind (is) challenging, but I was thinking everybody has to run with it.” — Chloe Norman, junior, Negaunee girls track

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ISHPEMING — Track and field success is often determined by how strong you finish.

The Gladstone boys followed that formula here Monday as they rallied past Westwood for their first Mid-Peninsula Conference title.

Gladstone scored 144 points, followed by Westwood 129 and defending champ Ishpeming 118.

Manistique’s Megan Espinoza competes in the girls' 1,600-meter run during the Mid-Peninsula Conference track and field meet held Monday afternoon in Ishpeming. (Journal photo by Corey Kelly)

Westwood led by 10 points with three events remaining on this sunny and windy afternoon at the Ishpeming playgrounds.

The Braves, however, secured the decision by scoring a combined 26 points in high jump and the 3,200-meter run and winning the 1,600 relay in 3 minutes, 42.69 seconds.

The Patriots didn’t score in the 3,200 and high jump and were runners-up in the final 1,600 relay (3:45.22).

Senior Adam Bruce won the 3,200 (10:28.31) and classmate Jake Strasler placed fifth (11:31.51).

“Adam winning the 3,200 and Jake taking fifth helped us out,” Braves’ coach Gary Whitmer said. “Adam went out in 5:21 (in the first mile) and came back with a 5:07. That was a good run into that wind.

“Going 2-3-6 in high jump also helped. It was a hard day to jump with the wind being the way it was. Although the guys were jumping with the wind on their back, if they touched the bar at all, it was coming down.”

The Negaunee girls were crowned champions for the 10th straight time with 129 1/2 points, followed by Westwood with 96 and Manistique and Gladstone tied with 76.

“I’m very proud of the performance by our girls,” Negaunee coach Vickie Paupore said. “We have a very deep team. We’re starting to see our freshmen come along.”

Gladstone sophomore Calvin Thibault collected three firsts, taking the boys’ 110 hurdles in 15.34 seconds, 300s (42.18) and edging Westwood senior Nathan Beckman on a lean in the 200.

“I basically hadn’t been good at that, but got it done today,” said Thibault. “The wind was a real challenge on the back stretch for everyone, then it kind of evened out with the wind.”

Beckman took the 100 (11.38) and helped the Patriots sweep the sprint relays.

Thibault was runner-up in the 100 (11.47) and clocked at a season-best 23.09 in the 200.

“Calvin created a lot of points for us,” Whitmer said. “I think this gives us some momentum going into the (Great Northern Conference) meet (Thursday at Menominee). I believe this will give the guys some confidence and motivation.”

Junior Luke Van Brocklin added a first for the Braves in the 400 (52.59) and helped the 1,600 relay.

Ishpeming was led by Jonah Broberg’s victories in the 800 (2:13.32) and 1,600 (4:42.83) and runner-up finish in the 3,200 (10:53.88).

Manistique junior Schyler Andersen copped discus at 151 feet, 1/2 inch and shot put (43-2 1/2).

“My dad (Shawn) is an excellent coach,” Andersen said. “I’m just learning more from him. I’m getting more speed in the circle. My throwing technique is still the same. It’s just a matter of fine-tuning everything.”

Junior Chloe Norman led the Negaunee girls, winning the high jump (4-11), long jump (17-1/2), 100 hurdles (16.89) and 300s (48.01).

“The wind (is) challenging, but I was thinking everybody has to run with it,” Norman said. “The wind was on our back for the long jump and the 100 hurdles. That was nice for sure. At first, I was a little worried about running into the wind, but our team is real good about encouraging each other.”

Negaunee’s Abbie Tollefson captured the discus (109-9) and Talon Prusi added a first in the 3,200 (13:01.62).

“Chloe has been very impressive all season,” Coach Paupore said. “Our throwers again did an outstanding job. Alyssa Hill had a nice (personal record) in discus (90-3). Talon had a nice win in the 3,200 and Lauren Ossenheimer ran a nice 800 (2:47.58).”

The Miners ran without junior distance ace Emily Paupore due to shin issues.

Manistique senior Ashley McDonald retained her long jump title (8-6), edging Westwood’s Katelyn Anttila in a jump-off. She also helped the Emeralds take the 1,600 and 3,200 relays and was runner-up in high jump on a tiebreaker.

“I was literally dead (tired) after running in the 1,600 relay,” said McDonald, who plans to run track and cross country at St. Norbert College. “We both cleared 8-3 in the jump-off, then we jumped at 8-6 for the third time.”

Westwood’s Tessa Leece took the 400 (1:03.68), 800 (2:37.12) and 1,600 (5:53.19).

Gwinn’s Emily Curtice won the 100 (13.09) and 200 (27.66) and teammate Marissa Delmont captured shot put (36-9 1/2).