Thrills of victory: Munising Mustangs, Ishpeming Hematites’ Lola Korpi, Newberry Indians’ Kaylen Clark girls winners at Upper Peninsula Finals in cross country
They were followed by Dollar Bay with 71 and Superior Central with 99.
“It’s exciting to win it again,” said senior Jenna Matson, who placed sixth in the 3.1-mile race in 22 minutes, 43.2 seconds. “That wasn’t one of my better times, although we won as a team, which is all that matters. We’re a pretty tight group.
“I was shooting for under 22 (minutes), but I’m OK with my time. Our No. 5 runner (freshman Kate Mattson) didn’t place, yet we wouldn’t have won if it wasn’t for her. I felt their was a little more pressure on us this time, but our coach (Mark Kinnunen) kept us together and got what we needed.”
Newberry sophomore Kaylen Clark won in 20:50.4, followed by Mid Peninsula senior Landry Koski (21:37.9), Munising junior Monique Brisson (21:51), Dollar Bay sophomore Taryn Maki (22:16.3) and Newberry senior Jorja Suriano (22:24.9) at Gentz’s Homestead Golf Course in Chocolay Township.
“The course was more challenging than I expected,” Clark said. “We had one hill before you turn into the last stretch that was real challenging. I had to go out strong because I knew the Mid Pen girl (Koski) was a good runner and she had a great race. This was a good showing for our team.”
Brisson said her strategy was to keep up with Koski, who captured the U.P. title on this course as a sophomore two years ago.
“Landry is a very strong runner,” Brisson said. “Kaylen ran a real good race. I was surprised by her time. We’re all friends and it’s friendly competition. I’m real happy for Landry with this being her senior year. I’m so proud of our team. Jenna pushed me real hard all year.”
Munising junior Hattie Cota took seventh (22:52.5) and sophomore Sabryna Smith was eighth (22:53.6). Junior Leah French was Engadine’s pacesetter in 11th (23:35.4).
Ishpeming sophomore Lola Korpi earned her first D-2 title in a season-best 20:04.9, followed by Ironwood freshman Aubrey Smith (21:41.1) and Gogebic junior Natalie Stone (21:56.8).
“I just gave it my all because it was the last race this year,” Korpi said of her nearly minute-and-a-half win. “I’m a little surprised by the margin of victory. The Ironwood girl is a good runner.
“We got two more runners at the last minute and we’re just so happy about that. I’m so proud of them for coming out of their comfort zone.”
Hancock won for the third time in four years with 43 points, followed by Ishpeming 54 and Ironwood 72.
Ishpeming freshman Laynie Korpi placed fifth (22:00.2) and senior Taylor Longtine was seventh (22:02.9)
“This was absolutely our best performance all year,” Ishpeming coach Shay Korpi said. “We had two runners who are playing volleyball and we’re happy to have them here today. Taylor and Laynie were definitely keys to our runner-up finish and Lola has been steady. We’re very happy with being runners-up.”
Junior Calista Watchhorn was Manistique’s leader in 13th (23:54.6).
Houghton became a repeat winner in D-1 with 52 points, followed by Marquette with 69, Negaunee with 83 and Sault Ste. Marie 94.
“I’m proud of our team’s performance,” Negaunee coach Vickie Paupore said. “We finished one place higher than we expected. We’re so proud of Emily Marker’s performance. She ran two minutes faster than her previous best. Third place for us is a fantastic showing for us. Houghton and Marquette are very strong teams.”
Houghton senior Ingrid Seagren gained her first individual title in 20:51.7, followed by Sault junior Cassandra Gallagher (21:05.8) and Houghton junior Claire Filpus (21:11.2).
“This has been my goal for a long time,” Seagren said. “There was a lot of pressure on us to win again and we pushed each other real hard all year. I’m super proud of Paige (Sleeman) and Claire. You always want to peak for this race, but it’s really hard.”
Sleeman, who came in as defending champion, took eighth this time (21:23.3). This marked the fifth consecutive time she finished in the top 10 and was part of a championship team, including her first three times at Chassell.
Westwood sophomore Retta Boburka placed sixth (21:19.9). Negaunee freshman Marlee Plaxco took ninth (21:31.5) and senior Lauren Ossenheimer was 10th (21:32.1).
Marquette’s leader was freshman Monet Argeropoulos in 12th (21:58.6).