By John Vrancic
Special for Second Half
MUNISING — It was a day of firsts for a pair of Copper Country schools in the Upper Peninsula Division 3 Boys Cross Country Finals here Saturday.
Dollar Bay was crowned champion for the first time, and junior Jonah Nordine became the first Ewen-Trout Creek athlete to earn an individual title.
Nordine covered the 3.1-mile course in 17 minutes, 34.9 seconds, followed by Chassell senior Kolson Kytta (17:59.7) and Brimley senior Cameron Hoonstra (18:05.5) at Pictured Rocks Golf Course.
“I just tried to stay in first and push it out the whole race,” said Nordine. “It felt good to win this one, that’s for sure. I just put in a lot of work this summer and used this for conditioning for basketball.”
Kytta said he was happy to be runner-up.
"I had a better time in the season opener at (Painesdale) Jeffers, but that was kind of a downhill course,” he added. “It looks like I peaked at the right time. Our school was shut down for two weeks (due to COVID-19), but I think that enabled me to work on some things. We usually have 8-10 races every year. We had five this year, which is kind of disappointing for my senior year, but at least we got to have a season.”
The Blue Bolts scored 42 points, and reigning champ Rudyard edged Newberry 83-85 for the runner-up honor.
“Staying healthy was huge for us,” said Dollar Bay coach Matt Zimmer. “We’re all in this together. We decided we’re going to do this as a group. When the guys saw a teammate struggling, they offered him encouragement. They never left anyone alone out there. They all finished as a group. We refer to ourselves as the Dollar Bay family.”
Zimmer was also happy with the team’s senior leaders.
“They’ve been running together for four years,” he said. “They’ve been on this course before and knew where all the turns and hills were. Munising did a great job marking the course. Everything went like clockwork. They were very well organized.”
Newberry senior Ephram Evans took fourth (18:15.6), with Dollar Bay senior Davin Hill taking fifth (18:20.3).
“It wasn’t too bad out there,” said Evans. “I had a pair of water-resistant socks which kept my feet very dry. I went out a little harder than I wanted to. I would have liked to have placed third, but this was still a great way to end my high school career. Cam (Hoornstra) and I are great friends, and he beat me for the first time this year. We worked together and tried to catch the guy in second.”
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PHOTOS: (Top) Stephenson's Griffin Brown and Engadine's Conrad Spieles (27) run with Dollar Bay's Davin Hill (14), Cooper Stout (18), and John Paul Norland (17). (Middle) Ewen-Trout Creek's Jonah Nordine has a comfortable lead in the Upper Peninsula Division 3 Final at Pictured Rocks Golf Course in Munising. (Photos by Cara Kamps.)