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A return to normal: Marquette, Ishpeming cross country runners find success at Dale Phillips Invitational

From left, Marquette's Olivia Moffitt edges out Kingsford's Melanie Wenzel and Houghton's Ingrid Seagren to finish third in the Division 1 girls race in the Dale Phillips Invitational high school cross country meet on Friday at Presque Isle Park in Marquette. (Journal photo by Ryan Stieg)

“I’m just very pleased to have a venue like this at Presque Isle.”

— KYLE DETMERS, head coach, Marquette Senior High School cross country

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MARQUETTE — Last week’s Early Bird Invitational was seen by some high school cross country coaches as a chance to give their runners a sense of normalcy.

On Friday, the focus was different at the Dale Phillips Invitational, which was also held at Presque Isle Park in Marquette. This time the focus seemed to be on finishing times and preparing their squads for, hopefully, the rest of the season.

The Marquette boys and girls teams appear to be in great shape already as they both finished on top in their respective Division 1 races. The Redmen finished with 19 points, well ahead of second place Houghton (58), while the Redettes edged the Gremlins 52-64.

Ishpeming's David Liimatta finishes second during the Division 2-3 boys race in the Dale Phillips Invitational high school cross country meet on Friday at Presque Isle Park in Marquette. (Journal photo by Ryan Stieg)

“I feel great,” Marquette head coach Kyle Detmers said. “It’s probably more of a relief, getting some schools that haven’t raced since last year in a race situation.

“It was just great to see Houghton and Calumet come down and Menominee come up. We had Newberry here, so you’ve got a lot of teams that just haven’t been able to do anything. From that perspective, I’m just very pleased to have a venue like this at Presque Isle. Thanks to the city for letting us do this out here because it’s a great course.”

In the boys race, Marquette took four out the top five spots with Carson VanderSchaaf coming out on top in 17 mintues, 44.3 seconds. VanderSchaaf’s brother Colin was second in 17:51.1 and Escanaba’s Derek Douglas was third. The Redmen’s Truman Langlois (18:18.8) and Luke Janofski (18:22.2) rounded out the top five.

“They’re (the VanderSchaafs) sophomores, but they came in as freshmen and their presence was felt immediately,” Detmers said. “They’ve taken it up a notch again, so I’m just really thankful for them and really, the whole team. We had a really great team effort. Our JVs did really well, so I’m very thankful for their effort today.”

Westwood’s Heidi Meglathery emerged as the girls champ at 21:21.4 with Menominee’s Hayden Buck taking second (21:43.5) and Marquette’s Olivia Moffitt finishing third (21:45.7).

It hasn’t been easy for teams with the worries about COVID-19 and the wondering if a season would even happen. Meglathery said she wasn’t thinking about that though and just on what she could control.

“I just think about the positive and know that I want to win, so I just train as hard as I can,” she said.

In the Division 2-3 boys race, Ishpeming was the winning squad with 22 points. Newberry finished second with 45, but the Indians’ Ephram Evans was the individual winner in 18:23.4. The Hematites’ David Liimatta was second (18:31.5) and Chassell’s Kolson Kytta crossed the line in third (18:40.4). Chassell did not have a team score, though.

Over in the girls race, Chassell did record a team score and it was a first-place finish with 42 points. Hancock was second with 55 points and Stephenson third with 80.

Even though the Hematites didn’t record a team score, they had two runners make it in the top five. Lola Korpi was the champion with a time of 20:11.0 and Taylor Longtine took fifth (22:44.8). Chassell’s Gwen Kangas finished second (22:21.1) followed by Hancock’s Sierrah Driscoll (22:24.8) and Chassell’s Kamryn Sohlden (22:35.7).

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

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