Nearly a double: Ishpeming boys big winners, girls just miss at MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 2 track and field regional

Kemper Gearhart pushes himself through the rain as he laps the field just as he begins his final lap in winning the boys’ 3,200-meter run at the MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 2 regional track and field meet held at the Ishpeming Playgrounds on Thursday. (Journal photo by Caden Sierra)

ISHPEMING — Even with a team with smaller numbers than in

years past and some doubts heading into the season, Ishpeming boys track and field head coach Morgan Kangas-Miller thought Thursday’s result could happen.

The Hematites boys were crowned MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 2 regional champions after beating out the opposition by more than 30 points at the Ishpeming Playgrounds track.

IHS scored 89 points — more than half the meet total — to 55 for runner-up Ironwood. Hancock was just as distant in third with 18, while Jeffers had 7 and West Iron County 3.

The Hematites just missed pulling off a double victory as they scored 54 points to fall just one point short of the Wykons’ winning 55-point total. Ironwood was third with 38, followed by Hancock with 28 and Jeffers with 8.

The Ishpeming coach was pleased that his boys team met and exceeded the expectations he had from the get-go.

“I have been telling them since before the season even started that we were going to bring home some hardware and today they proved me right,” Kangas-Miller said, “and we ended up qualifying athletes for the U.P. Finals in every single event.”

The top-four finishers in each event advance to the finals to be held in Kingsford on the Saturday after Memorial Day, June 1.

The Ishpeming boys showcased outstanding performances, securing victories in 10 of the 17 events, including three of the four relays.

Grady Gauthier, Levi Nicholls, Caden Luoma and Kemper Gearhart led the Hematites’ charge from the start when they won the 3,200-meter relay. Teammates Tramon Gauthier and Alec Arvon dominated the hurdles, securing 1-2 finishes in both events, while Ishpeming’s Tramon Gauthier and Hunter Smith claimed second and third in the 100.

Gearhart would go on to dominate in the distance races, winning the 1,600 and 3,200 while lapping the field in the longer race.

Grady Gauthier also ran with the 800 relay winners, while Josh Wojie and Hunter Perry were also double relay winners in the 400 and 800.

Ishpeming also dominated in field events, winning four of the five and qualifying for the U.P. Finals with another four in the top four finishers.

Alec Arvon, a member of the 400 relay winners, won the pole vault, while top hurdler Tramon Gauthier added a victory in the long jump. Smith won the high jump, while Brayden Martin not only won the discus but finished second in the shot put. Teammate Carlos Perez was third in the shot put and fourth in the discus as he will join Martin at the U.P. Finals.

In all, Gearhart and Tramon Gauthier each had a hand in 18 of the Hematites’ points, while Arvon was in on 16 and Smith and Grady Gauthier 13 apiece.

Kangas-Miller was philosophical about the close loss by Ishpeming in the girls meet, considering the top priority was qualifying athletes for the U.P. Finals.

“We just came up one point short in the end, but we were still able to qualify a ton of athletes for the U.P. Finals,” she said. “I am so proud of these girls because I have tried them in a lot of different things this season and to see them come together like this was so rewarding.”

Distance specialist Lola Korpi earned 20 points by winning the three longest events and running with the Hematites’ victorious 3,200 relay. She took the 800, 1,600 and 3,200.

Sister Laynie Korpi, usually also considered a distance expert, did that as a runner in Ishpeming’s 1,600 and 3,200 relays, but also added an individual victory in the 300 hurdles.

Teammate Mya Hemmer won another unusual combination, the discus and long jump, while adding a third place in the shot put as Ishpeming’s Jadyn Negilski was second in the shot put.

And the Hematites’ Tiana Bosworth and Ava Eagle were double relay winners in the 1,600 and 3,200.

Up next for Ishpeming is the Mid-Peninsula Conference meet to be hosted by Westwood at 3:30 p.m. Monday. Joining the Hematies and host Patriots will be Gwinn, Negaunee, Manistique, Gladstone and Iron Mountain.

Caden Sierra can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 551. His email address is csierra@nmu.edu.


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