Defenses and records: Ishpeming boys make it 6 straight Tracy Strom cross country titles, Negaunee’s Emily Paupore sets girls course record at Al Quaal Recreation Area

Ishpeming's Jonah Broberg runs to the runner-up finish to Houghton's Joe Wood in the boys race at the Al Quaal Recreation Area course in Ishpeming on Thursday during the Tracy Strom Invitational high school cross country meet that served as the second West PAC meet of the season. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

“It was mostly a mental game today. I think I need to get a little more training in.” — Emily Paupore,

Negaunee girls cross country runner, after setting the course record at Al Quaal


ISHPEMING — The Houghton girls brought home plenty of souvenirs from the Tracy Strom Invitational cross country meet as they earned top honors with 18 points here Thursday.

All seven varsity runners placed in the top 17 and earned medals for the Gremlins, who were followed by Westwood with 54 points and West Iron County with 87 in the second West PAC event of the season.

Negaunee's Emily Paupore runs to a course record on the Al Quaal Recreation Area course in Ishpeming on Thursday during the Tracy Strom Invitational high school cross country meet that served as the second West PAC meet of the season. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

The Ishpeming boys were crowned champions of their own invitational for the sixth straight year with 24 points. Runner-up Houghton scored 43 and Gogebic and Negaunee notched 93 apiece, with the Bessemer-Wakefield-Marenisco co-op team taking third on a tiebreaker.

“The guys did good,” Ishpeming coach P.J. Pruett said. “We were pretty pumped. This is a confidence boost going forward. Houghton has a good team. They’re good hill runners.”

Negaunee senior Emily Paupore set a course record, covering the 3.1 miles at the Al Quaal Recreation Area in 19 minutes, 29.2 seconds. She was followed by classmate Talon Prusi in 21:33.2, Houghton sophomore Ingrid Seagren (21:38.1), teammate Maria Velat (22:20) and Westwood’s Elizabeth Williams (22:40.1) on a sunny, cool and breezy day.

“I’m still feeling a little sick,” Paupore said. “That was a nasty virus I had last week.

“I’m happy with my time. The conditions were awesome. I tried to grind it up the hills. It feels like I’m getting better.

“It was mostly a mental game today. I think I need to get a little more training in. My entire family is always here to support me. That’s awesome and our coach (Lisa Bigalk) is awesome.”

Houghton senior Joe Wood won the boys’ race in 17:25.9, followed by Ishpeming’s Jonah Broberg (17:44.1) and Silas Broberg (18:05.7), Gogebic’s Adam Mazurek (18:10.5) and Ishpeming’s Jordan Longtine (18:15.2).

“My strategy was to push over the top of each hill,” Wood said. “This is a very hilly course, but I just tried to use the same strategy as usual.

“The cooler conditions helped and the breeze wasn’t much of a factor. This is the first time I’ve beaten Adam, which was my goal going in.”

Ishpeming’s David Liimatta placed sixth (18:28.6) and Houghton’s Branden Peterson was seventh (18:32.6).

“Dave Liimatta had his best race ever,” Pruett said. “The Gogebic kid was undefeated. It was good for two of our guys to beat him and Silas ran with his brother, which is also good. Lots of these kids started running when they were in third grade. They’re almost like our kids.”

Freshman Grant Mason was Manistique’s leader in 27th (20:55.2).

Prusi said she was going for place more than time in Thursday’s meet.

“This is definitely the hardest course,” she added. “It’s very hard to get a PR (personal record) on this course. I’m happy with the time I ran today, and taking first in the WIN meet gave me a lot more confidence.

“We had very good conditions for this meet. Only I would have liked to have a little different start. We usually get about five seconds at other meets. This was quick, which really caught us off guard, although the course was very well marked. It was easy to find everything.”

Seagren found this course to be more challenging than most others.

“The hills are steeper here than other courses,” she said. “The only one that compares is our own course (Michigan Tech Cross Country Ski Trails). I knew it was very hilly.

“My strategy was to go hard on the downhill, which helped on the uphill. I’m pretty pleased with how it went. The last hill was definitely the steepest. I was a little tired at that point, but I just told myself I had to pick it up. I just had to keep going.”

Freshman Clara Gilroy paced Manistique in 23rd (25:10.5).


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)