Prep track: MSHS sweeps Marquette County Track and Field Meet

MARQUETTE – No test, literally, was slowing down Marquette Senior High School’s Alex Gagnon and the Redmen on Monday as they defended their Marquette County Meet title at William R. Hart Stadium in Marquette.

Gagnon, a senior, missed the 100-meter dash due to an AP English exam, but returned in time to win the 200-meter dash in 23.60 seconds and anchor both the 400- and 800-meter relay teams that snagged first.

“We’re really coming together as a team this season” Gagnon said. “At the beginning I was kind of nervous because we were really young. The young guys are stepping up and the distance runners are really helping us out. As a sprinter, I’m trying to help everyone get into it so the sprinters can be part of the point scoring.”

The balanced point spread paid off for the Redmen as they won the meet with 138 points, followed by a second place tie between Ishpeming and Negaunee at 92 points apiece. Gwinn snagged third at 22 with Westwood close behind at 21 points.

MSHS boys head coach Kyle Detmers said Monday’s relay performances solidified the lineups heading into regionals.

“We’re still working on who we wanted to put together on Thursday and I think we found the combination in both our 4-by-100 and 4-by-200, and it’s the same guys, so we just have to work on our handoffs,” he said.

While the sprinters appeared to have found their stride at the right time, the distance runners continued their dominance for the Redmen.

Behind freshman Lance Rambo and junior Cole Rieboldt, Marquette was able to distance themselves from Negaunee, who trailed by 12 points heading into the 3,200 – the second to last event.

Rambo captured first place (10:27.69), while Rieboldt cruised in at a close second (10:29.21).

“In the two mile we work together and flip flop every lap to keep the pace,” Rieboldt said. “Even meets when we don’t have that much competition him and me push each other to get faster.”

The distance duo also nabbed the top two spots in the 1,600, with Rambo crossing in 4:44.15 and Rieboldt right behind at 4:44.43. Rambo said they’re still working on their pace heading into the final stretch of the season.

“For the mile, we want to stay around a 70 (second) for each lap,” Rambo said. “It’s hard, it’s very hard. Second and third lap are just hard to take it. We got about a 68 first lap, slowed down to about 73, 74. We need to figure out how to keep our pace around 70 and we’ll be good.”

For the Redettes, relays and distance were also the theme of the day as Marquette captured first place in 10 of the 17 events to edge second place Negaunee 158-109.5. Gwinn took third (43) with Ishpeming following in fourth (24.5) and Westwood rounding out the scoring with 18 points.

MSHS girls head coach John Peterson said the team is clicking at the right time heading into Thursday’s regional.

“I think everyone did really well,” Peterson said. “Our sprinters did well, the relays looked good, the distance kids; we got some points in the field events. I think it’s really a team effort all the way around.”

Marquette snagged first place finishes in the 3,200, 800 and 400 relays.

While the runners put the points up on the track, Kirsten Iwanski captured first place in the shot put (34 feet, 6-inches) and the discus (89-6.5).

Lindsey Rudden gave the Redettes a boost with her distance performances, capturing first in the 1,600 (5:11.53) and in the 800 (2:17.59).

“Lindsey trains hard, she runs hard and she races hard,” Peterson said. “She is a very talented young lady, but at the same time it’s a team effort all the time and she is just as much as a team member as anybody else.”

While the Redettes took the team title, Negaunee senior Ashley Veale broke a school record in the 300 hurdles (47.03) that had been in place since 1985.

“I knew it was going to be in one of the bigger meets to because I needed someone to push me,” Veale said. “(Marquette’s) Hunter Vitalla sort of did that for me. She took off pretty fast so I had to try to catch up to her and then at the end was just guts. All I needed was someone to push me into the finish line.”

Negaunee head coach Vickie Paupore said Veale is deserving of the record because of her work ethic and commitment.

“It’s just such a pleasure to coach an athlete like Ashley Veale because every day she comes to practice ready to work and she makes her teammates better because of that,” Paupore said. “She always does everything I ask of her and then more.”