By John Vrancic
Special for Second Half
KINGSFORD – The race for the Upper Peninsula Division 1 girls track & field championship came down to the wire here Saturday, as Marquette edged reigning champion Negaunee 106-100.
Marquette secured its eighth title in nine years by winning the 1600-meter relay in four minutes, 14.58 seconds.
Negaunee, which held a three-point lead going into the day's final race, took sixth in the 1,600.
"What a day," said Marquette coach Natalie Messano. "It was a battle all day. Negaunee has a great team. It's real stressful as a coach, although I had faith in our girls. We had our eye on the trophy. But they made us work for it, that's for sure."
Negaunee gained the upper hand in the previous race with juniors Emily Paupore and Talon Prusi going 1-2 in the 3,200 run on this sunny and warm day at Flivver Field.
Paupore retained her 3,200 title in 11:57.64, with Prusi at 12:32.67 and Marquette sophomore Josie Danielkiewicz third (12:36.32).
"It was close all the way," said Negaunee coach Vickie Paupore. "To say I'm proud of our team is an understatement. Talon really stepped up in the 3,200, and our throwers had big performances. Emily and Chloe Norman are hard workers. Both gave it their all and did what they needed to do."
Marquette swept the relays, also taking the 400 (52.06), 800 (1:49.55) and 3,200 (10:07.44).
Emily Paupore added firsts in the 800 (2:23) and 1,600 (5:16.79). Norman won high jump at five feet, long jump (16-1) and 300 hurdles (45.56) and was runner-up to Menominee sophomore Mackenzie Wellner (16.43) by just more than half a second in the 100 hurdles.
"I didn't have my best 3,200 run, but I'll take it," said Emily Paupore, who took a week off after the Regional (May 16 at Negaunee) due to shin issues. "I'm learning to deal with adversity. Not everything goes the way you want. You just have to push through it. Having to deal with it makes you stronger. I have so much support from my family, coaches and friends. I love this kind of pressure. It makes you work so much harder and want it more."
Sault Ste. Marie sophomore Emily McLean set the U.P. Finals shot put record for the second straight year at 39-2, also matching her school-record toss from the Regional (May 16 at Escanaba). Her team finished third overall.
"My coach (Brad Boven) is really helpful," said McLean, who was runner-up in discus (108-3). "He gives me a lot of pointers. Today, he just told me to worry about myself and stay positive. My throw in the Regional was a little bit of a motivator, but I always try to get better. I had a real good throw in disc, but it was a scratch. That's just the way it goes. The girl from Negaunee (junior Abbie Tollefson) is really good."
Tollefson won discus (109-9) and was fourth in shot.
Kingsford senior Olivia Allen won the 400 in a school-record 58.93, added firsts in the 100 (12.93) and 200 (26.47) and was runner-up in long jump (15-9).
Click for full results.
PHOTOS: (Top) Marquette’s Molly Welch runs her leg of the Redettes’ winning 3,200 relay Saturday. (Middle) Negaunee’s Chloe Norman clears a hurdle on the way to winning the 300 race. (Photos by Cara Kamps.)