By John Vrancic
Special for Second Half
KINGSFORD — The Marquette girls upheld a proud tradition Saturday, earning their seventh consecutive Upper Peninsula Division 1 track & field championship with 118 points.
Runner-up Negaunee scored 91 and Kingsford placed third at 70.
“Our depth came through,” said Marquette coach Natalie Messano. “We did what we needed to do. We came a long way this year. The team really came together and peaked at the right time. We have a strong tradition.”
Marquette sophomore Ahnika Puskala won the 100-meter hurdles in 16.32 seconds, followed by Iron Mountain’s Olivia Berutti (16.34) and Marquette senior Jacquie Cammarata (16.43).
Cammarata won the 300 hurdles (48.52), followed by classmate Hannah Detmers (49.16) and Escanaba sophomore Courtney Boyle (49.81).
Marquette senior Izzie Peterson added a first in the 100 (12.85) and helped the Redettes take the 400 and 800 relays.
“Delaney (Sall) ran strong today,” said Messano. “I think every one of our girls scored some points, which is huge. We have some seniors whom we’ll miss, but we have a lot of talented girls coming back.”
Sall placed second in the 400 (1:01.16), thrid in the 800 (2:25.73) and anchored the Redettes’ 1,600 relay to a second-place finish (4:23.11).
Negaunee, paced by junior Clara Johnson and freshman Emily Paupore, showed its strength in the distances.
They helped the Miners take the 3,200 relay (10:06.41), and Johnson captured the 800 (2:23.46), 1,600 (5:27.73) and 3,200 (12:02.08).
“Our teammates always give us motivation,” said Johnson. “Every girl on our team helps each other get going. It really got hot for the 3,200 (about 80 degrees). In the beginning you’re layered up, the next thing you know the sun comes out and it gets very warm. When it’s hot, we take a break after each race and go into the shade. We also eat light and stay hydrated.”
Paupore was runner-up in the 800 (2:24.97), 1,600 (5:31.05) and 3,200 (12:05.36).
“Winning the 3,200 relay definitely gets you going,” said Paupore. “It’s a good way to start the day. Everybody on our team is supportive of each other. We just go out as hard as we can. Everybody has to run in the same conditions.”
Kingsford sophomore Olivia Allen finished first in the 200 (26.53) and 400 (59.53) and anchored the winning 1,600 relay (4:12.67).
“I think things went pretty well,” said Allen. “I think we did a good job running our races as if they were our last. I’m still learning how to use my blocks and finish races. This is a motivator for next year. We wanted to push our seniors this year so they could also have good performances in their last meet.”
Escanaba senior Jen Brandt captured her third straight discus title at 123 feet, 6 inches, and was second in shot put (32-3¼), both personal bests.
“I definitely felt the pressure, being a senior,” said Brandt, who will be playing basketball at Alma College next winter. “I threw a personal-best (116-8) in the GNC (Great Northern Conference) meet in Menominee (May 25). At that point, I felt I could threw farther. Coach (Dan DeLong) told me it would be nice if I could get that done. He told me nobody had done that while he has been coaching.
“I think track has really prepared me for college basketball, getting that adrenalin rush and performing on a stage.”
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PHOTOS: (Top) Marquette’s Ahnika Puskala, right, and Jacqueline Cammarata charge ahead in the 100 hurdles final; Puskala won the race and Cammarata came in third. (Middle) Negaunee teammates Clara Johnson, front, and Emily Paupore round a corner on the way to taking the top two places in the 1,600. (Photos by Cara Kamps.)