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Ishpeming Hematites boys sprint to 5th Upper Peninsula cross country title in 6 years

Jonah Broberg of Ishpeming crosses the finish line as the winner of the Division 2 boys race at the MHSAA Upper Peninsula Cross Country Finals held Saturday at Gentz's Homestead Golf Course near Harvey. (Journal photo by Trinity Carey)

HARVEY — It’s rare that the conclusion of a race is determined before it even begins, but that was the case at the MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 2 Cross Country Finals on Saturday afternoon at Gentz’s Homestead Golf Course.

As long as nobody got injured, the Ishpeming boys were probably going to literally run to their second straight championship and fifth in six years. Things ultimately went fine for the Hematites, though, as they finished with 27 points to 51 for runner-up Ironwood. Wakefield-Marenisco/Bessemer took third (67) and Norway was fourth (92). It was only a four-team race as five other schools didn’t field a full squad.

Hematites head coach P.J. Pruett said that even though his team cruised to a championship, he said it wasn’t as easy as it looked.

“We had some casualties,” he said. “Silas (Broberg) ran sick today, but he did a good job and he finished. He was a frontrunner and he’s up there with his brother (Jonah). He’s been ill for the last four or five days, but he went out there and did the best he could. I’m proud of him.

“Jonah took the title and he’s the 10th champion from Ishpeming since the (19)60s. That’s a big thing for him and Ishpeming has had a good tradition of cross country runners and he’s No. 10.”

When asked if this title meant more to him than the previous four he’s won at Ishpeming, Pruett laughed and said he says that each time it happens.

“I say that every year, and I say I’ve got the best team every year and I keep coming back,” he said. “This is our fifth title in six years. I’ve had different kids, but they want to run on tradition and they do a great job.”

Ishpeming was so strong that three of its runners finished in the top five with Broberg (17:29.5) pulling away from Norway’s Adam Cavagnetto (17:33.9) in the final stretch to close out his career with a championship.

“I ran this for my coach,” Broberg said. “He really wanted me to get this. I’m probably going to be a little emotional later as a senior. My best friend Spencer (Giroux), when he ran, he got first (in 2017) and Grady Kerst (in 2016), so it was more like a tradition we have.”

Broberg’s teammates Jordan Longtine (17:48.6) and Joseph King (18:02.5) took third and fifth, respectively, while Wakefield-Marenisco/Bessemer’s Adam Mazurek was fourth (17:54.5).

In the girls race, Hancock came out on top in convincing fashion with 34 points, finishing 22 points ahead of St. Ignace and 50 ahead of the third-place Hematites. This is the Bulldogs’ second championship in a row. Ironwood took fourth (104) followed by West Iron County (106) and W-M/B (127).

Hancock freshman Maylie Kilpela was the individual winner at 21:16.9 followed by Munising’s Hattie Cota (21:43.5) and Ishpeming’s Taylor Longtine (22:00.3). The Mustangs didn’t field a full squad, so there was no team score for them.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal.net.