By Dan Hardenbrook
An incredible season full of record-breaking runs culminated in an EUP Conference Championship for the Newberry Lady Indians on Monday. As they have all season, the Lady Indians stormed the course on their way to another win at the Northwoods Christian Camp in Pickford. Monday’s meet was the third and final leg of the EUP Conference schedule, and the Lady Indians stood tall with a team performance that could lead to more championship success at the UP Finals later this week.
Newberry made a statement, with four of five runners earning All Conference placing, and a fifth who narrowly missed the cut. While many years feature plenty of drama in the title race, the Lady Indians literally ran away from the competition with all five runners finishing 16th or better to leave no doubt who this year’s top team was.
Sophomore star Sammy Taylor set the tone again, finishing runner up in Pickford with a final time of 19:39. Taylor has now recorded one of the fastest ever recorded race times for Newberry in four straight races during a season in which she completely rewrote the NHS record book.
Younger sister Abby, following a race where she had the second-fastest ever time for a Newberry female runner, continued to chase down her older sister, finishing third with a time of 19:59.
Senior Captain Kaylen Clark capped off one of the greatest careers in program history, finally getting a team title after dominating individually for years. Clark’s 4th place finish (20:52) helped seal the deal for the 2023 EUP crown for the Lady Indians.
Addison Schroeder was a new addition to the team, and finished off an impressive debut season earning an All Conference spot with a 7th place finish (23:25).
While they have dominated most of their competition this season, the Lady Indians, coached by Anthony Kitzman, needed a 5th runner in order to qualify for any team titles. They went looking, and what they found was more than what they could’ve hoped for. Mid-season addition Makennah Russell originally questioned her ability and her impact, but after steadily improving, she made all the difference in the world for Newberry, with a 16th place finish to bring home the hardware.
Newberry’s boys duo also had strong showings. Sam Rahilly earned an All EUP Conference spot finishing 6th in the Boys Varsity race. Rahilly ripped through the course in a time of 19:39 in his regular season finale. Kellan Bruno wasn’t far back, continuing his string of solid performances with a final time of 20:22.
Last year’s EUP Conference Champions, the Engadine Lady Eagles were also well represented. Ally Loebach finished among the best runners in the league with a 5th place finish. Engadine also put a pair of boys in the top five after Duane Krenek crossed in second and Dakota Taylor finished fourth.
The Lady Indians also sent a statement to the rest of the Upper Peninsula, as teams prepare for this weekend’s UP Finals in Gladstone. The Lady Indians will be among the favorites in the Girls Division 3 Team competition, with both Taylor sisters and Clark among the top 10 rated runners in the race for individual All State honors.