KINGSFORD — The Upper Peninsula Track Finals were still being held in Marquette the last time the Kingsford boys were crowned champions.
It was 1990. Bill Clinton was president, gasoline was selling for approximately $1 a gallon and the Flivvers were U.P. Class A-B champs.
They finally got the opportunity to be crowned Division 1 champions at their own facility Saturday, scoring 127 points. Marquette squeezed past Negaunee 82-81 for the runner-up trophy.
“The kids came together as a team, and I think today showed our depth,” said Kingsford assistant coach Bryan Johnson. “Even after winning big in our (Great Northern) conference meet last week, the guys never lost focus and Doug (coach Roberts) instilled that in them.”
The Flivvers added an exclamation mark to their victory by winning the day’s final event, the 1600-meter relay in a school-record 3 minutes, 31.18 seconds.
“We all ran great,” said junior Tyler Roberts, who anchored that relay. “There was great competition here today. Everybody competed hard, and we got it done. All year we trained hard and a ton of hard practices prepared us for today.”
Roberts also won the 400-meter dash in 51.08 seconds. Senior Jonah Carlson took discus at 140 feet, 11 inches and Ryan Camp earned the title in pole vault (13-0).
The Flivvers also won the 800 relay (1:31.94) and placed second in the 3200 event.
Senior Cole Tengesdahl, who helped the 800 relay, was runner-up in the 100 (11.57) and 300 (22.9).
Senior Ed Sexton added a second in the 110 hurdles (16.81). Junior Dan Fleming was runner-up in the 300 (42.49), with sophomore Brandon Kowalkowski second in high jump (5-11).
Sault Ste. Marie sophomore Parker Scott set a U.P. record in the 1,600 (4:18.09) and won the 800 (1:58.59), retaining his title in both races. He also placed third in the 3,200 (10:26.53) and helped the Blue Devils finish fourth in the 3,200 relay.
“I tried to run an even pace for the first two laps in the 1600,” said Scott, who will be moving to Texas with his family this summer. “I eased back a little in the third lap because I wanted to save it for the finish. I really like running up here, and I wanted to end it with a bang. This is really a special meet, and it’s great to have built all the camaraderie.”
Marquette opened with a victory in the 3,200 relay, and sophomore Lance Rambo was runner-up in the 1,600 (4:34.09) and 3,200 (10:16.79). Junior Andrew Banitt, who helped the winning relay, added a second in the 800 (2:01.71).
Negaunee had double winners in senior Kevin O’Keefe and Jason Bell. O’Keefe was clocked at 11.38 and 22.6 seconds in the 100 and 200, respectively, and Bell captured the 110 hurdles (15.95) and 300s (41.72).
Houghton junior Jacob Colling, running with stress fracture in his leg, did only the 3,200 and won that race in 10:07.67.
Defending champ Gladstone dropped to sixth this time with 39 points. Senior Cody Malanowski wont shot put (49-1½) and took second in discus (137-8).
PHOTO: Kingsford's Lucas Jennings works to move up in the pack during the 1,600 at Saturday's U.P. Division 1 Final. (Click to see more from RunMichigan.com.)