By John Vrancic
Special for Second Half
KINGSFORD — Many coaches believe you win with seniors. But junior Lance Rambo has stepped up to the plate for the Marquette boys track team all season.
Rambo won two individual events Saturday while helping the Redmen earn their first Upper Peninsula Division 1 title in three years with 131 points at the MHSAA Finals.
Defending champ Kingsford settled for runner-up honors this time at 98. Third-place Houghton had 72.
Rambo set a U.P. record in the 3,200-meter run in nine minutes, 50.03 seconds, topping the previous record (9:53.14) set by Mickey Sanders of Marquette four years ago. He also took the 1,600 (4:28.84).
In the 3,200, which combined the Division 1 and 2 runners, Rambo was followed by Ironwood senior Jared Joki (the D-2 champ) in 9:58.02.
“I was extremely surprised by my time,” said Rambo. “Jared kept me on my toes the whole race. He’s an excellent runner, and we helped push each other for a long time. That felt great. I wanted to win it for our team.”
Marquette senior Andrew Banitt added firsts in the 400 (51.59) and 800 (2:00.82) and Payton Muljo won shot put at 43 feet, 6½ inches, edging Sault Ste. Marie’s Tim Eiola on his final throw.
“Payton did a great job,” said Rambo. “When we heard that he won, we were even more pumped up for this meet. I’m just happy with how we ran as a team.”
Marquette also won all four relays.
“This was a great effort by our guys, and Muljo got us started today,” said Marquette coach Kyle Detmer. “This is a deep team with great senior leadership. Lance and Andrew did a great job for us and (seniors) Matt Millano and Kyle Dickison were excellent leaders.
“The kids in the U.P. across the board are the greatest on the planet. This is a top-notch meet. This was just another fantastic job by the people here in Kingsford.”
Kingsford’s Trevor Roberts was a double-winner, edging Negaunee’s Connor Hetrick on a lean for the 100 title (11.39) and taking long jump (20-10½). Brandon Kowalkowski provided Kingsford with a first in high jump (6-0), with Marquette’s Jedidiah Weber second (5-11).
Dan Harrington and Mike Jamar placed second and third for Kingsford in long jump at 19-9 and 19-8, respectively.
Hetrick bounced back to win the 200 (23.24) and Negaunee’s Jason Bell repeated by winning the 110 hurdles (15.77) and 300 (41.31) for the second straight season.
Houghton gained firsts from Jack Budd in pole vault (11-0) and Brad Ohtonen in discus (129-6). Ohtonen added a third place in shot put (42-2½).
Click for full results.
PHOTO: Marquette's Brett Place pushes past the finish line first, just in front of Kingsford's anchor, to give the Redmen a victory in the 400 relay. (Photo courtesy of Cara Kamps.)