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Marquette runners win Kingsford Invite

IRON MOUNTAIN — Will somebody please turn on the air conditioner?

If it were possible to run cross country meets indoors, that request would have likely been granted here Tuesday.

Since that’s not the case, runners had to be prepared to deal with the heat and humidity in the Kingsford Invitational at Iron Mountain City Park.

The Marquette boys squeezed past Houghton 38-39 for the title. Third-place Gladstone scored 90 points.

“It was hot for everybody,” said Gladstone coach Gary Whitmer. “Overall, we didn’t run as well as we could have. Although, we’re real pleased with where the guys finished. Some of the Marquette guys passed some of the Houghton guys after the last turn and that’s what did it.”

The Marquette girls also won with 51 points. Kingsford edged Houghton 68-73 for runner-up honors.

“We had the typical tropical conditions for this meet,” said Marquette coach Kyle Detmers. “We’re struggling to get out of the 50s up north. Our girls had a real nice performance. Hats off to Houghton. They’re so well coached. We were behind by a bunch at the two-mile mark in the boys’ race. We had a lot of kids step up.”

Houghton senior Joe Wood copped the boys’ race, covering the 3.1-mile course in 18 minutes, 21.5 seconds. He was followed by Gladstone sophomore Giovanni Mathews (18:23.5), Norway sophomore Adam Cavagnetto (18:33.2), Houghton senior Branden Peterson (18:56.1) and Marquette’s Peyton Osborne (19:00.5).

“It was a tight one,” said Wood. “You had to stay hydrated because it was very hot. I didn’t want to go out too hard because of the heat. These are the kinds of races that build character. I just gave it all I had in the end.”

Mathews took a conservative approach to Tuesday’s race.

“I went out pretty slow,” he said. “I wanted to save some energy for the end. It was tough today. Last year I didn’t even finish up here. I’m just glad I was able to finish this time. This is a nice course to get a good workout. It’s kind of a testament of how tough you are.”

The three leaders broke away from the pack after two miles.

“There was a pack of runners, probably six, at the two-mile mark,” said Whitmer. “Then Joe, Gio and Adam just took off. Gio felt real comfortable at two miles, which is good.”

Escanaba, which didn’t field a complete team, was led by junior Derek Douglas in 17th (20:20). Junior Matt Snay was Rapid River’s pacesetter in 23rd (21:03.6).

Kingsford junior Melanie Wenzel captured the girls’ crown in 21:54.8, followed by Houghton’s Ingrid Seagren (22:11.9), Kingsford’s Sarah Kulas (22:44.3), Menominee’s Hayden Buck (22:51.5) and Houghton’s Maria Velat (22:57.9).

“I stayed hydrated all day,” said Wenzel. “The combination of the heat and humidity and hills made it challenging. This is the warmest race I ran in. I didn’t go out too hard. I wanted to save some energy for the end of the race. Running in this heat was a big adjustment. It affected my strategy a little. This is also the biggest meet I’ve run in. It was good to experience that. I think this will help me down the road. It was a fun race. All the teams were competitive and pushed each other.”