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North Star’s Brown runs to crown

FLAT ROCK – Senior Michael Brown has waited nearly three seasons for this.

Brown Thursday became the first runner from Marquette North Star Academy to win a cross country meet, earning the Division 2 title in the Gladstone Barnyard Invitational.

He covered the 3.1-mile course in 17 minutes, 54 seconds at Beauchamp’s Grove, edging Ironwood’s Tim Lorenson by .2 second.

“This is the best time I ever ran,” Brown said. “Before we started, I felt so good. I prayed, left it in God’s hands and had fun.

“I had the one guy (Lorenson) that I focused on. He was one of the last runners to pass me, then I caught him with about 400 yards left. I passed in the last 100 yards and focused on the finish.”

North Central captured the team title with 43 points, followed by Stephenson 63 and Mid Peninsula 89.

Stephenson sophomore Mark Cappaert placed third (18:20.4), followed by North Central’s Dylan Robinson (18:33.3) and Stephenson’s Ethan Brown (18:33.5).

The Negaunee boys, placing three among the top seven, were crowned D-1 champions with 44 points. They were followed by Marquette 62 and Escanaba 80.

“Marquette is definitely pushing us,” Negaunee coach Lisa Bigalk said. “They’re always right there.

“I’m very happy with our team. They came through again. I’m very thankful our team has been healthy.”

Marquette senior Lance Rambo won in 16:15, followed by Esky junior Joey Wolfe (16:25.5), Negaunee sophomore Colton Yesney (16:41.3), Kingsford senior Nate Carey (16:55) and Negaunee’s Ethan Wallner (17:13.9).

Rambo’s effort fell six seconds short of his personal best (16:09) on Sept. 26 at downstate Jackson.

“All the guys ran well,” Rambo said. “I think they all PR’d. I really want to break 16 this season, but we’ll see. Joey, Colton and Nate all ran well.”

Wolfe, however, ran a PR (personal record) on a cloudy, damp and seasonably cool day.

“I think the biggest thing for me was confidence,” Wolfe said. “I decided I was going after first today and was still within striking distance with a half-mile to go.”

Thursday’s effort was also a PR for Yesney.

“I try not to think about time during the race,” he said. “I just try to keep up with the leaders.

“Our team is doing real well. We all have different interests, but we somehow jelled as a team.”

The Marquette girls overcame adversity while earning the D-1 title with 36 points. They were followed by Negaunee 94, Ishpeming and Hancock 98 and Gladstone 103.

“We started seven girls and only five finished,” said Marquette coach Dale Phillips. “Fortunately, we had a girl (Samantha Borzick) step up and finish 14th.

“This was a good performance overall for our guys and girls.

“We ran our best times overall and that’s what you’re looking for this time of year.”

Marquette senior Holly Blowers, usually among the frontrunners, passed out during the race and was unable to finish.

“Our No. 2 girl (Rieka Buchenau) stopped to be with her,” Bigalk said. “She didn’t even think about it. Reika just felt she had to help out, which was excellent sportsmanship on her part.”

Marquette senior Lindsey Rudden won in a season-best 18:33, followed by Negaunee’s Clara Johnson (18:53), Westwood senior Katie Etelamaki (18:58) and Marquette’s Amber Huebner (19:41.7) and Becci McNamee (19:49.4).

“Our first mile was fast,” Rudden said. “I wasn’t feeling so great today. We hadn’t raced in more than a week, and I was pretty tired.”

The Stephenson girls captured the D-2 title with 33 points, followed by St. Ignace 49, Norway 63 and Rudyard 74.

Norway senior Kyra Johnson won at 21:04.7.