By John Vrancic
For the Newberry News
Engadine cross country Coach Tracy Germain had every reason to smile after the Eagles swept both ends of the Eastern U.P. Conference Jamboree opener in Newberry on Sept. 19.
The Engadine boys scored 31 points, followed by Mackinaw City 64, Rudyard 91, Newberry 112, Brimley 115, Pickford 127, St. Ignace and Cedarville-DeTour 157 and Paradise 176.
Engadine’s girls had 57, followed by Rudyard 70, Newberry 73, St. Ignace 84, Brimley 90, Mackinaw City 94, Cedarville-DeTour 95 and Pickford 108.
“We’re very happy about that,” said Germain. “We’ve got the talent and numbers, even though everybody’s still not 100 percent. I know there weren’t a lot of runners here today, but it’s still nice to see the boys and girls come out on top.”
The Engadine boys grabbed the top three places with senior Conrad Spieles earning his first varsity victory, covering the 3.2-mile course in 20 minutes, five seconds on this breezy and mild day on the Zellar Meadows Trail.
He was followed by Duane Krenek (20:21) and Dakota Taylor (20:48).
“A 1-2-3 finish; that was amazing,” said Spieles. “I had been dealing with a knee injury. This is my second meet back and I was a little nervous about it. I was just trying to figure out how my body felt. The conditions were good. This is perfect weather for running.”
Ethan Edwards placed 10th for the Eagles at 22:15, followed by Zach Vallier 15th (23:09), Elijah Parker 24th (25:10) and Vern Loeback 34th (29:35).
“Conrad is just getting back into form,” said Germain. “Duane is capable of a lot more. He’s a hard worker who’s just getting into a groove. Dakota is super strong, and Ethan is a strong and steady runner.”
Senior Derek Bowler was Newberry’s leader in 11th (22:29), followed by sophomore Sam Rahilly 16th (23:20), Kellan Bruno 18th (23:32) and Brandon Brown 31st (26:32).
“I was hoping top 10 for Derek,” said Newberry Coach Lori Fair. “I think both freshmen boys ran their best races of the year. This is a learning experience. Right now, they’re learning all about strategy. It’s just a matter of gaining confidence.”
Paradise was represented by sophomore Jaiven Kohler, who took 32nd (28:32) in his cross country debut.
Freshman Samantha Taylor won the girls’ race in 20:52, followed by Mackinaw City’s Larissa Huffman (23:37) and Cedarville-DeTour’s Lilianna Cason (23:54).
“It was a little hot out there,” said Taylor. “That’s why I didn’t do quite as well as I did in some of the other races. It’s sometimes hard to push yourself when you’re that far ahead. I’m happy to have Kaylen (Clark) back. It’s nice to have somebody to practice with.”
Clark, who had been nursing an ankle injury, took sixth at 24:35 and Phinnaea Bloom was 20th (33:31).
“My ankle is not good,” said Clark. “I just tried to see how I could run with an injury and it bothered me the whole race.”
Senior Leah French paced Engadine in fifth (24:23), followed by Ally Loebach ninth (26:08), Clara Gould 11th (26:43), Hali Butkovich 15th (29:36), Lacey Ross 17th (31:39) and Lillia Bigelow 19th (32:53).
Taylor won again in Saturday’s Rapid River Invitational at 20:19.4. She was followed by Munising senior Monique Brisson (21:30.5) and Newberry’s Clark (21:49.8).
“I think this is a confidence builder,” said Taylor. “I felt I did good. I prefer these conditions over what we had Monday. The rain made the sand a little harder. We weren’t sinking as much. I also wore spikes and that helped me out.”
Munising won with 27 points, followed by Stephenson 43 and Superior Central 57. Newberry, Manistique, Norway, North Central, Rapid River and Crystal Falls Forest Park didn’t field complete teams.
“Sam had a real good race,” said Fair. “I think this was her best race of the year, and Kaylen is returning to her usual form, which is encouraging.”
Munising’s Hattie Cota placed sixth (23:12.6), followed by Dayne Behning 10th (24:03.2), Olivia Cotey 11th (24:08.2), Avery Seymour 16th (25:04.6) and Elizabeth Holloway 18th (25:23.9).
Superior Central’s leader was freshman Kiera McDonnald in eighth (23:24.2), followed by Calla Porter 13th (24:16.7), Rowan Allender 23rd (26:42), Rory Hancock 24th (26:45.8), Janessa Perron 34th (30:59.1) and Newberry’s Phinnaea Bloom 35th (31:16.1).
Munising sophomore Dan Goss edged Escanaba Holy Name sophomore Joe Carlson on a lean for the boys’ title.
“It was very close,” said Goss. “He slowed down very slightly. I didn’t think I was going to catch him. I like the rainy weather and the course was well marked. I really wanted this race. He beat me by a lot the first time.”
Goss was clocked at 19:09.5, followed by Carlson (19:09.8) and Manistique senior Grant Mason in a personal-best 19:14.7.
Rahilly was Newberry’s leader this time in 10th in a personal-best 20:40.5, followed by Bowler 14th (21:18), Brown 22nd (22:30.5) and Bruno 23rd (22:32.1).
“Our boys had a good day,” said Fair. “I told the freshman boys if you can practice with them, you can race with them.”
Superior Central’s Cody Moore placed 11th (21:01.7), followed by eighth-grader Will Spranger 12th (21:02), Clay Horne 27th (23:10.7) and Isaac Gleason 33rd (25:34.3).
They were followed by Munising’s Frank Carlson 35th (28:02.1) and Superior Central’s Joseph Augustyn 36th (32:08).
Newberry and Engadine ran in the second leg of the Straits Area Conference Jamboree at Cheboygan Monday and Munising hosted the El Harger Memorial Invitational Tuesday.
Area teams resume in the Sault Ste. Marie Elks Invitational Saturday at 1 p.m.
Engadine hosts the second leg of the EUP Jamboree at Naubinway Monday at 4, then travels to Flat Rock for Tuesday’s Gladstone Barnyard Invite, also at 4.