By John Vrancic
Special for Second Half
KINGSFORD — Sophomore Emily Paupore and senior Clara Johnson provided the Negaunee girls with a potent 1-2 punch in the distance races Saturday, helping them earn their first Upper Peninsula Division 1 track title in eight years with 115 points.
With the win, the Miners also broke the seven-season championship streak for Marquette, which came in second this time with 89½ points. Kingsford was third with 84.
“This was a very exciting day,” said Negaunee coach Vickie Paupore. “At the beginning of the season we knew this was a special group of girls, and our seniors were excellent leaders and role models. They fought real hard. It was exciting to see Emily and Clara go 1-2 those races. It’s so inspiring to see the way they care about each other.”
Emily Paupore and Johnson helped the Miners open with a victory in the 3,200-meter relay in 10 minutes, 4.56 seconds. Paupore then captured the 800 (2:23.7), 1,600 (5:15.23) and set the U.P. meet record in the 3,200 (11:25.52), shaving 86 hundredths of a second off the previous record by Marquette’s Lindsey Rudden (11:26.38) in 2013.
“I’ll take anything if it’s a U.P. record,” said Emily, who also owns the school record in the 3,200 (11:11). “Being my fourth race, I knew it’d be tough.
“The past two years I’ve had so much support from Clara. It’s really sad to see she’s going.
“I always get butterflies before a race, which probably helped me in the 800. You can always build off that energy. I’m going to keep myself busy this summer with weight training and local road races to get ready for cross country. I love cross country. That’s my favorite.”
Johnson, who plans to play basketball at Michigan Tech next winter, was runner-up in the 800 (2:24.44), 1,600 (5:16.7) and 3,200 (12:01), all in personal-best times.
“It was nice having somebody to train with the last two years,” said Johnson, who like Paupore was nearly overcome with emotion after their last high school race together. “There was a lot of pressure being the second seed because I knew there would be a lot of people coming after me. I did what I had to do to get second. I PRd, which is what you hope to do at the Finals, especially with this being my last one. In my junior year, I led Emily and pushed her to get better. This year she led and pushed me to get better.”
Sophomore Chloe Norman, also part of the winning 3,200 relay, added a first in the 300 hurdles (47.78), second in high jump (4-8) and third in long jump (15-2½).
“Last year we set our school record in the 3,200 relay (9:46.91),” said Norman. “This time we just wanted to get a good place and conserve energy for other events.”
Marquette’s Rachel Hunt won long jump (15-2½), edging Houghton junior Anabel Needham by a half-inch. Hunt also helped the winning 800 relay (1:49.2) and was runner-up in the 200 (27.35).
Kingsford junior Olivia Allen took the 100 (13.09), retained her 200 (27.07) and 400 (59.51) titles and helped the Flivvers repeat as 1,600-meter relay champions (4:19).
“I’ve been working pretty hard on my starts, and I think I had one of my best starts in the 100,” said Allen. “It wasn’t perfect, but it gives me something to work on for next year.
“We had a great bunch of seniors who helped us so much. The weather was definitely on our side today. The breeze helped cool us off a little on the back stretch.”
Click for full results.
PHOTOS: (Top) Negaunee’s Emily Paupore checks to make sure teammate Clara Johnson will finish second to her in a race Saturday; they came in first and second, respectively, in three events. (Middle) Kingsford’s Olivia Allen breaks across the line first in the 100-meter dash. (Photos by Cara Kamps. Click for more at RunMichigan.com.)