Ontonagon track

Keweenaw Classic Provides Indoor Competition as UP Spring Begins

By John Vrancic
Special for Second Half

Girls Track & Field, Boys Track & Field


April 28, 2022

HOUGHTON — The weather may still be in no particular hurry to warm up, but many Upper Peninsula track & field teams found a way to beat the elements earlier this month.

Michigan Technological University, as it had for many years, was ready to lend a helping hand and hosted its annual Keweenaw Classic indoor meet April 12.

Northern Michigan University also has hosted high school meets inside the Superior Dome for more than 25 years. Those meets, however, have been interrupted by COVID-19.

This year’s event at Tech included a pre-meet clinic for the first time.

“The Tech athletes were very helpful,” said Houghton boys coach Erik Johnson. “With no meets in the Dome, this kind of fills a void. It was absolutely critical to get this in. With 44 guys on the team, any open meet you can get is good. This gives us a chance to compete with schools we often don’t see.”

Baraga coach Tammy Crittenden was also thankful for the opportunity.

“The clinic was very helpful,” she said. “Hopefully, our kids got something out of it. We also brought our middle school kids to the clinic. They do a nice job putting on this meet and helping all the student-athletes.”

L’Anse coach John Jacobson had similar thoughts.

“The clinic was very valuable, and I think we learned a few things,” he said. “We’re very thankful to have this opportunity. A lot of work goes into this.”

Team scores weren’t kept, and shot put was the lone field event.

“We appreciate the opportunity to do shot put,” said Negaunee girls coach Vickie Paupore. “That’s one area I think we’re going to be real strong. It was nice for our younger kids to have this experience. I’m very grateful for our kids to have a chance to compete this early in the season. We still have snow on our track.”

Bark River-Harris sophomore Mackenzie Hoffmeyer, who won the 60 and 200-meter dashes, was grateful to have a chance to compete.

“I was real nervous at first,” she said. “After the 60 I felt little more relaxed. I was in the fifth lane in the 200. I knew I had to go out fast.”

Ontonagon junior Makennah Uotila was also anxious to get the season underway.

“Getting a meet in right now was huge,” she said. “Pretty soon we’ll be doing two meets a week. This was good for conditioning.”

Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie hosted two indoor meets this year with the more recent one taking place April 21.

John Vrancic has covered high school sports in the Upper Peninsula since joining the Escanaba Daily Press staff in 1985. He is known most prominently across the peninsula for his extensive coverage of cross country and track & field that frequently appears in newspapers from the Wisconsin border to Lake Huron. He received the James Trethewey Award for Distinguished Service in 2015 from the Upper Peninsula Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.

PHOTO Ontonagon’s Makennah Uotila, here starting the 400 at last season’s Upper Peninsula Division 3 Finals, was among athletes who competed at the Keweenaw Classic. (Photo by Kara Camps.)