Fend off those pesky Gremlins: Ishpeming Hematites’ Lola Korpi keeps Houghton cross country team from total domination at Tracy Strom Invite

From right to left, Ishpeming's Lola Korpi leads the early pack with Houghton's Tessa Rautiola and Ayla Miller following near the start of the girls race at the Tracy Strom Invitational high school cross country meet held at the Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming on Thursday. Korpi would win the girls race with Rautiola second and Miller sixth. (Photo courtesy Cara Kamps)

ISHPEMING — Hometown runner Lola Korpi prevented Houghton from totally dominating the circle of champions at the Tracy Strom Invitational high school cross country meet held Thursday afternoon at the Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming.

The Ishpeming High School senior won the girls race by almost 45 seconds in 20 minutes, 33.9 seconds at a park that traditionally has had some difficult up-and-down terrain for sanctioned meets.

Unfortunately, the Hematites didn’t have enough runners to post a team score.

Houghton carried off the girls team title by taking the two spots immediately after Korpi and placing all five of its scoring runners in the top 11 to score 26 points. Hancock was a distant runner-up with 40 points, while Westwood was third with 63 and West Iron County fourth with 110. Negaunee and Gwinn also had runners but not enough to post a team total.

The meet also served as West PAC meet No. 2 in a series that is held throughout the fall season.

Ishpeming's Kemper Gearhart ascends one of the many hills at the Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming during the boys race at the Tracy Strom Invitational high school cross country meet held Thursday. He would finish as runner-up. (Photo courtesy Cara Kamps)

Houghton’s Birk Seagren beat out Ishpeming’s Kemper Gearhart by just over 45 seconds to capture the boys individual title and lead his Gremlins to an easy team title.

Houghton scored 26 points as all five of its scoring runners placed in the top 10. Negaunee was runner-up with 49 points, while Westwood had 86, Hancock 92 and Ishpeming 105. Gwinn and WIC didn’t have enough runners for a team score.

Seagren, a junior, finished the race in 17:54.1 while Gearhart, a freshman, was runner-up in 18:39.8. Gearhart finished not quite 15 seconds ahead of third-place Isaiah Lawson of Houghton.

In fourth was Miners sophomore Simon Jaklin in 19:02.5, while the Gremlins’ Ben Hemmer was next in 19:29.9.

Negaunee junior Michael Slawinski was sixth in 19:52.0, with Houghton’s Colin Van Karsen next in 20:16.2 and Hancock’s David Bylkas in 20:19.0.

Ishpeming's Kemper Gearhart, front, leads a pack at the start of the boys race during the Tracy Strom Invitational high school cross country meet held at the Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming on Thursday. Gearhart finished second. (Photo courtesy Cara Kamps)

Rounding out the top 10 was Westwood sophomore Roman Yuhas, ninth in 20:25.8, and Houghton’s Carter Campioni, 10th in 20:36.7.

Just missing the first 10 was a pair of Gwinn runners, senior Matthew Jenkins, 11th in 20:52.1, and junior Donald Jourden, 12th in 20:53.6. Hancock’s Curtis Archambeau was 13th in 20:56.0.

Negaunee and Westwood filled in the rest of the places in the top 20. In 14th was Miners sophomore Blayne LaCosse in 21:17.9, 15th was NHS senior Blake Holmgren in 21:36.6, 16th was Negaunee senior Alex Ossenheimer in 21:36.9, 17th was Patriots senior Patrick Klumpp in 21:44.7, 18th was Westwood junior Niko Heinzel in 21:48.5, 19th was Negaunee junior Caden Steede in 22:07.9 and 20th was Miners senior Logan Katona in 22:16.3.

Back in the girls meet, Houghton’s Tessa Rautiola was runner-up in 21:14.0 and teammate Roman Peterlin third in 21:33.0.

Next was Negaunee junior Marlee Plaxco in fourth in 21:44.9, followed by Hancock’s Ella Keranen in 22:22.0 and Houghton’s Ayla Miller in 22:59.2.

Westwood senior Retta Boburka was seventh in 23:18.2, with Copper Country runners filling in the next four places — Hancock’s Rayna Towles in 23:37.3, Houghton’s Katie Sarau in 223:39.4, Hancock’s Jill Berg in 24:37.8 and Houghton’s Kiira Niska in 24:44.0.

Miners junior Isabelle Prusi was 12th in 24:45.1, while Westwood sophomore Addy Hallum was 13th in 24:46.6.

After Hancock’s Jolene Larson and Kysa Givens were 14th and 15th, respectively, Ishpeming junior Laynie Korpi was 16th in 25:13.8. And Westwood junior Lexi Thibeault was 19th in 25:27.3 while senior teammate Sierra Rodda finished 20th in 27:00.5 and fellow Pats senior Baylie LaVigne 21st in 27:00.8.

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


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