By John Vrancic
Special to Second Half
KINGSFORD — Any questions?
The Marquette Redettes proved they're the Upper Peninsula's best girls track and field team beyond any shadow of a doubt Saturday, claiming their third straight Division 1 title with 145 points.
"We had a (triangular) meet in Escanaba on Tuesday, and it worked out well," said Marquette coach John Peterson. "I think it helped us keep our competitive edge."
Negaunee edged Escanaba 62½-54 for the runner-up trophy.
Freshman distance ace Lindsey Rudden set U.P. meet records in the 800-meter run in 2 minutes. 16.46 seconds, the 1,600 (5:05.5) and 3,200 (11:26.13) and helped the Redettes win the 3,200 relay.
Her effort in the 800 also was a school record.
"Three U.P. records in one day is pretty amazing," Peterson said. "Shayla Huebner running a 59-second quarter is also an excellent performance. We had so many kids do well today. They responded to every challenge in their way. This was just a fun day to see them compete."
Rudden's effort topped a pair of U.P. records from 2001, including a 2:21.3 clocking by Menominee's Mandy Long in the 800 and 11:38.2 by Sault Ste. Marie's Natalie Cahill in the 3,200.
Also falling by the wayside was the previous 1,600 record (5:19.73) by Iron Mountain's Kelly McClure in 2005.
"I felt great today," Rudden said. "Although I was also real nervous after what happened in the U.P. Cross Country Finals last fall. I have great teammates who will lift you when you're down. We all support and push each other. In the 3,200 relay, all the girls gave it their all. We were just nine seconds off the U.P. record."
Rudden, who went undefeated in all three distance events this spring, also was unbeaten going into the Cross Country Finals.
On that day, she was well ahead of the field with a half mile left in the 3.1-mile race at Munising when she became dehydrated, passed out and needed to be helped off the course.
"I'm realizing I need to become more serious about my running," Rudden said. "I need to be more focused. There's more pressure as it gets later in the season, especially when you're undefeated."
Huebner, who won the 400 at 59.29, added a second place in the 800 (2:21.32) and helped the winning 1,600 and 3,200 relays.
In the field events, sophomore Kirsten Iwanski won shot put at 31 feet, 4 inches, and Hunter Viitala took high jump (5-1).
"Marquette is getting some points in the field events," Peterson said. "It's so much fun to see the kids when they start in the spring and see how far they come. You can't beat the U.P. Finals. This is the best athletic event in the U.P., bar none."
Negaunee's leader was senior Ashley Veale, who won the 100 hurdles (16.57) and 300 (47.31).
Calumet sophomore Chelsea Jacques won the 100 (12.62) and 200 (26.62) and helped the winning 400 relay.
Click for full results.
PHOTOS: (Top) Marquette freshman Lindsey Rudden leads the pack during one of her three record-setting races Saturday. (Middle) The Redettes pose with their championship trophy after a third-straight Finals win. (Photos courtesy of Marquette High School.)