Claiming their spots: Negaunee Miners, Ishpeming Hematites garner major West PAC cross country awards despite Houghton’s dominance

The Neguanee High School girls cross country team was named Girls Team of the Year in the West PAC following the conference's finals meet held in Negaunee Township on Thursday. In the front row from left is Endla Harris, Seere Helms-Gleason, Marlee Plaxco and Emily Marker. Top row from left, Izzy Prusi, Olivia Orchard, Lauren Ossenheimer, Alyssa Hill, Amara Rasmussen and West PAC Girls Coach of the Year Vickie Paupore. (Photo courtesy Vickie Paupore)

NEGAUNEE — Houghton piled up the numbers at the West PAC Meet in high school cross country on Thursday, but in the end, several Marquette County schools were well represented when all-conference awards were handed out.

Using that superior depth, the Gremlins swept to the boys and girls team titles at the Negaunee Township Trails, though it was Ishpeming sophomore Lola Korpi who won the individual title in the girls meet.

And when conference awards were handed out, Korpi combined with the Negaunee team to sweep the girls’ major honors.

On the boys side, even though it sounds out of season, the Gremlins really did do a slam-dunk in both Thursday’s meet and the conference awards.

Here is a rundown on each meet and All-West PAC awards:

Ishpeming's Lola Korpi runs in the woods during her winning girls race at the WIN cross country meet held on the trails adjacent to the Negaunee Township Hall on Sept. 24, 2020. Korpi was named the West PAC's Girls Runner of the Year. (Photo courtesy Cara Kamps)


Korpi, Miners big winners

The All-West PAC honors were based not just on Thursday, but on all five conference meets held during the season, according to Negaunee coach Vickie Paupore.

In fact, Paupore was named West PAC Girls Coach of the Year and her Miners earned Girls Team of the Year.

Korpi, not surprisingly, was named Girls Runner of the Year.

She won Thursday’s race in 20 minutes, 7.3 seconds, a shade more than 10 seconds ahead of the runner-up, Ingrid Seagren of Houghton, who clocked 20:17.7.

The duo finished more than 20 seconds ahead of the rest of the girls’ field.

Houghton also pulled out a 12-point victory for the team title in these league finals, scoring 32 points to Negaunee’s 44. Westwood was fourth with 90 as the Hematites didn’t field a full team.

The Miners’ Marlee Plaxco was fourth in 21:08.2, with teammate Endla Harris sixth in 21:26.6 and Lauren Ossenheimer seventh in 21:30.4.

And right after them was Westwood’s Retta Boburka in eighth in 21:38.5.

Ishpeming’s second runner, Taylor Longtine, just missed the top 10 in 11th in 22:21.3, while the Patriots’ second finisher was Baylie LaVigne, 16th in 23:10.4.

Korpi, of course, headed up the 15-girl All-West PAC team and was joined by her Hematites’ teammate Longtine, and also Laynie Korpi.

Negaunee’s Plaxco, Harris and Ossenheimer also made the list along with Miners’ teammate Seere Helms-Gleason.

And Boburka represented Westwood on the all-conference list.

The remainder of the honorees were Houghton’s Seagren, Claire Filpus and Paige Sleeman; Calumet’s Kiira Berg; and Hancock’s Sierrah Driscoll, Ella Keranen and Adia Keranen.


Houghton boys


Houghton finished in the top four spots at the conference finals meet Thursday and easily won with 17 points as Negaunee had 48 as runner-up. Westwood was fourth with 87 as Ishpeming and Gwinn had runners, but not enough for a team score.

The Gremlins also swept the boys’ major awards as they were named Team of the Year and top runner Eric Weiss, who won Thursday by well over a minute, was named Boys Runner of the Year.

And the Gremlins’ Tracy Welch earned Boys Coach of the Year.

Weiss clocked 17:14.3 on Thursday to outpace teammate and runner-up Cyrus Hamlin, who finished in 18:26.6. The rest of the top 10 all finished within 40 seconds of Hamlin.

That included Negaunee’s James Dank, who was fifth in 18:45.2, teammate Judge Anderson, sixth in 18:45.7, and another teammate, John Plaxco, 10th in 19:05.9.

Ishpeming’s Parker Gauthier was eighth in 19:03.7, while his teammate Levi Nicholls was 16th in 19:57.9.

Westwood’s first finisher was Ted Hair, who was 14th in 19:47.3, while the Patriots’ Micah Milano was 21st in 21:29.8.

Gwinn was led by Thomas Jenkins, coming in 23rd in 22:01.9.

Making All-West PAC was Negaunee’s Dank, Anderson and Plaxco; Westwood’s Hair; and Ishpeming’s Nicholls.

Houghton grabbed nearly half the spots — seven of 15 — with its deep team. Making All-West PAC were the Gremlins’ Weiss, Hamlin, Isaiah Lawson, Tom Knewtson, Birk Seagren, Ty Haataja and Carter Campioni.

The balance of the all-conference team was West Iron County’s Johnothan Swenski and Landon Sundelius and Hancock’s Jan Baaslrud.

In Thursday’s JV meet, top area finishers were Jon Paul Tourney of Westwood in the boys race in 23:54.3 for eighth place and Alyssa Hill of Negaunee in the girls race in 27:06.4 for seventh place. Houghton took all the spots ahead of them in each race.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@ miningjournal.net.


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