By John Vrancic
Special for Second Half
KINGSFORD — The Marquette High School girls have dominated their competition throughout this track and field season.
That held true again Saturday as the Redettes captured their sixth consecutive Upper Peninsula Division 1 title with 169 points. Escanaba and Sault Ste. Marie shared runner-up honors with 61 apiece on a day during which rainy conditions eventually gave way to partly sunny skies at Flivver Field.
“This was a great day for our whole team,” said Marquette coach Natalie Messano. “I’m real proud of their effort. I was a little nervous at first about the weather, but the girls didn’t let it get to them. We have an excellent program and (former coach) John Peterson did a great job building it. It’s going to be hard to lose our seniors, but we have a lot of strong juniors coming up.”
The Redettes grabbed four of the six places in the 1600 and 3200-meter runs.
Senior Lindsey Rudden had a hand in four firsts, taking her fourth straight title in the 800 at two minutes, 16 seconds and 1,600 (5:03.31) and anchoring the winning 1,600 (4:05.4) and 3,200 (10:12.92) relays.
“I was a little slow today,” said Rudden, who set the U.P. 1,600 record at 4:55.28 two years ago as a sophomore. “It felt like I pushed hard. I’m pleased with the victories, but I’m definitely disappointed I didn’t break five (minutes) in the 1,600. Although, it’s still fun. A lot of our girls qualified, and I’m happy our team did so well.”
Senior Holly Blowers led off both relays and was runner-up in the 800 (2:22.69) and 1,600 (5:16.1).
“I think our handoffs went well, and we still have pretty solid times after losing Shayla (Huebner) to graduation last year,” said Blowers. “This is a real emotional day. It’s hard to believe it’s over.”
Marquette’s Izzie Peterson won the 100 (12.6), 200 (26.9), and helped the winning 400 relay (52.59) and runner-up 800 relay (1:49.28).
Junior Amber Huebner, also part of Marquette’s 1,600 and 3,200 relays, placed second in the 3,200 run (11:57.47) and third in the 1,600 (5:18.43).
Escanaba junior Jeny Brandt won discus at 108 feet, 10 inches. Negaunee’s Caylee Dempsey was runner-up (100-1), with Escanaba senior Haile Waters third (97-0).
Sault Ste. Marie senior Brenna James captured the 300 hurdles (47.11) and placed second in the 100 dash (13.03) and fourth in the 200 (27.55).
“My times improved a lot from last year,” said James. “My first 200 in the hurdles was solid, then I really had to fight through the last 100. I have to give credit to my opponents, too. That’s a tough race. Early in the meet, it was hard to stay warm with all the rain we were getting. We had to wear a lot of layers.”
James was followed by Marquette’s Jacquie Cammarata in 48 seconds flat and the Redettes’ Hannah Detmers (48.11) in the 300 hurdles.
Menominee senior Paiton Plutchak won the 100 hurdles (15.95), followed by Escanaba senior Sunny Martineau (16.42) and Cammarata (16.79).
“I felt pretty good,” said Plutchak, who finished with three straight victories in the 100s. “I hadn’t practiced all week because of my hip, but I felt the whole thing went well. My goal was to not hit any hurdles. I had kind of a mental block before the Regionals. I needed to get a few wins to get my confidence up.”
Kingsford’s Olivia Allen took the 400 (1:01.22), and helped the winning 800 relay (1:49.1) and runner-up 1,600 relay, which was clocked in a school-record 4:10.13.
Click for full results.
PHOTOS: (Top) Marquette's Lindsey Rudden leads the pack during the 1,600 at the Upper Peninsula Division 1 Finals. (Middle) Menominee's Paiton Plutchak outpaces Escanaba senior Sunny Martineau (left) and Marquette’s Jacquie Cammarata in the 100 hurdles. (Photos by Cara Kamps.)