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Munising girls cross country team victorious; Mustangs’ Hattie Cota, Nick Singer each a runner-up

BANAT — Daisy Englund wished she had used different shoes for Wednesday’s Skyline Central Conference cross country meet.

As it turned out, that didn’t stop the Mid Peninsula senior from retaining her title here on this cloudy and damp day.

Englund covered the 3.1-mile course in 21 minutes, 38.6 seconds, followed by Munising sophomores Hattie Cota (22:25.3) and Monique Brisson (22:26.4) on the Dale Fountain course.

“It was a tough run,” Englund said. “This would have been a good day for spikes. My feet were slipping out there. The uphills affect my thighs, and they were burning. I liked the weather, though. I felt warm the whole race.”

Munising, which placed five in the top 12, took home the championship trophy with 33 points. The Mustangs were followed by Stephenson with 57 and three-time defending champion Mid Pen with 66. Superior Central was fourth with 84, while Rapid River had 101.

“It has been a while since Munising has won the conference in girls cross country,” Mustangs coach Mark Kinnunen said. “This is very exciting for the school, program and community.

“We have some talented girls who put in the effort because they want to. Everyone’s times are getting faster.”

Stephenson repeated as the boys winner with 33 points, followed by Rapid River with 42 and Munising with 54. Norway was fourth with 89 while SC and Mid Pen didn’t field full teams.

“This was a great day for our boys,” Stephenson coach Kate Kuntze said. “We got (sophomore) Ethan Lusardi back after being in quarantine for three weeks. It’s unfortunate he had to miss so many meets, but he ran like he meant it.

“I’m also heartbroken North Central is under quarantine and couldn’t be here.

“This was the last home meet for our seniors, and this was an emotional day for our senior girls…. Munising is pretty strong.”

Cota was fresh from earning her first varsity triumph in Sault Ste. Marie Invitational held Saturday.

“It feels pretty cool to be part of a conference championship team,” said Cota, who was the team’s lone representative a year ago. “This is the first time we ran on this course. We came in here blind. It was the same thing last year. I came in blind at Norway.

“When we warmed up, it seemed there were several courses blended into one. You have to be mentally prepared for the race and the fact this is a new course.”

Mid Pen junior Landry Koski placed fourth (22:40.2).

“This one didn’t go too good,” Koski said. “The inclines caught me a little off guard. We hadn’t been here since last year, and I couldn’t remember how many there were. My breathing was a little heavier than normal.”

Superior Central sophomore Madisen Begovac was seventh in 23:17, just a half-second behind sixth-place Taylor Adams of Norway. Munising’s Julia Prunick was ninth in 23:49.9 and fellow Mustang freshman Sabryna Smith was 10th in 24:24.5.

The Alger County schools were also well represented in the second 10, too — Munising junior Jenna Matson was 12th in 24:33.7, SC’s Katrina Augustyn 18th in 27:08.4, Cougars freshman Alice Hancock 19th in 27:36.1 and fellow SC frosh Bree Swajanen 20th in 27:42.4.

In the boys race, Rapid River senior Ishmael Hernandez was crowned champion in 18:40.4, more than 40 seconds ahead of runner-up Nick Singer, a Munising junior, in 19:22.6.

“This was a pretty good day to run,” Hernandez said. “The overall weather conditions were good. The drizzle we had during the race was just enough to cool you off. I felt I had a good shot at winning this and was going for time today.

“It feels great to win my last conference meet, but I have bigger fish to fry. This gives me something to build on for the (Upper Peninsula Division 3) Finals.”

Stephenson sophomore Griffin Brown was third in 19:24.6, while Eagles junior Buckley Corey was fourth in 19:46.6 and Mustangs senior Larson Nebel fifth in 20:34.5.

Three more Munising runners finished between 10th and 20th. Sophomore Kane Nebel was 10th in 21:07.3, junior Kaelan Mulye 17th in 21:56.0 and freshman Andrew Cain 20th in 23:13.7.

Superior Central’s top two runners finished less than a second apart. Sophomore Emmett Vining was 26th in 28:02.0 and fellow 10th-grader Paavo Mannisto was 27th in 28:02.8.

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