MARQUETTE — The Marquette boys grabbed four of the top seven places here Saturday, retaining their Upper Peninsula Division 1 cross country title with 38 points.
They were followed by Sault Ste. Marie with 47 and Houghton with 69.
“Running as a pack paid off for us again,” said Marquette coach Kyle Detmers. “Our guys really came through. My biggest perspective was getting the meet in, and the fact we got it in is huge.”
Sault senior Jaron Wyma, who’s verbally committed to Saginaw Valley State, won the 3.1-mile race in 17 minutes, 19 seconds. Houghton junior Eric Weiss was runner-up at 17:32.5.
“Going into this race, I really didn’t know where I’d finish,” said Wyma. “This is a big surprise. I thought it would come down to the last few steps. The last 800 meters were tough. My legs were burning, although I felt good the whole race. I engaged my arms and used the hills to my advantage. I knew I could win it if I toughed it out mentally. I guess you could say I was on a mission. It feels great to win this meet.”
Sophomore Carson VanderSchaaf was Marquette’s pacesetter in third (17:40.8). He was followed by Escanaba senior Derek Douglas (17:46.9) and twin brother Colin VanderSchaaf (17:50).
“I kind of wanted to stay with the lead pack,” said Carson. “He (Wyma) pulled ahead at 1 1/2 miles and Eric from Houghton made his move at about two miles. I’m satisfied with how I ran and how the team did. Having a bunch of guys to run with in practice helps our training, and today it paid off.”
Douglas said he adjusted his strategy for Saturday’s Final.
“My strategy was to go out hard and take the lead and stay with the pack through the woods,” he added. “It was a little cold, but there wasn’t much wind. Although, the wind didn’t really bother me. It felt pretty good taking the lead, and I think it helped me. Although, once we got into the woods I changed things up. I always get a little tired in the second mile, but tend to pick it up in the third.
“This is a great way to end the season. This was my last high school race. I wanted to give it everything I had.”
Sault came into this meet with high hopes, according to coach Jim Martin.
“We ran well, and Jaron worked so hard,” he said. “We’re just glad we got to run today.”
PHOTOS: (Top) Sault Ste. Marie's Jaron Wyma heads to the finish line in first place in the Division 1 Cross Country Final at Presque Isle Park in Marquette. (Middle) Marquette's Lincoln Sager (41), Carson VanderSchaaf (42), Luke Janofski (37) and Colin VanderSchaaf (43) lead the way at the start of Saturday’s race. (Photos by Cara Kamps.)