MHSAA U.P. Track Finals: Freshman Lindsey Rudden breaks three U.P. records, leads Marquette to third-straight Division 1 girls title

KINGSFORD – Three was key for the Marquette Senior High School girls track and field team on Saturday at Kingsford High School as the Redettes defended their MHSAA U.P. Division 1 title.

Marquette won its third championship in a row behind three first-place finishes and three U.P. Finals records from freshman Lindsey Rudden. The Redettes also captured first-place finishes in all three facets of the meet.

“All across the way we had kids scoring points,” said MSHS head coach John Peterson. “The cliche term is a team effort, but it really was a team effort all across the board. All the way from our field event kids to our distance kids to our sprinters.”

The 3,200-meter relay squad, anchored by Rudden, got the Redettes rolling as they cruised to a 17 second win over Escanaba with a time of 9 minutes, 55.75 seconds.

“We really just gave it our all and we work really well as a team,” Rudden said. “We ran 30 seconds faster than our best (time).”

For Rudden, the entire day consisted of “best times” as she set personal records and U.P Division I Finals records in the 1,600 (5:05.50), the 800 (2:16.46) and the 3,200 (11:26.38).

Rudden, who is a first-year track runner said she wasn’t expecting to set the record in multiple events.

“I’m really happy,” she said. “I only thought I was going to get the mile – that was my goal – but then I ended up getting two more. It’s really exciting for me because I’m only a freshmen and I don’t really know track that well.”

Along with setting a DI finals record in the 800, Rudden also reset the school record that she broke earlier in the year.

“I love running the 800. It’s so challenging and it just pushes me the whole time because it’s two laps of sprinting,” Rudden said. “I was really happy with my time. I think it was 2:16. that was my goal for this race.”

The Redettes also got a boost from their field events as sophomore Kirsten Iwanski snagged first in the shot put with a throw of 31 feet, 4 inches and sophomore Hunter Viitala leaped to first place in the high jump, clearing 5 feet, 1 inch.

MSHS sophomore Shayla Huebner dashed to a first place finish in the 400 (59.29) and was the final leg of the winning 1,600 relay team (4:14.12), where she helped propel a come-from-behind finish.

“Those kids don’t quit, they just don’t quit,” Peterson said.

“That just shows how tough those kids are and how hard they run. They love to race, they’re very strong competitors.”

Marquette won the meet with 145 points while Negaunee took second at 62.50 with Escanaba coming in third with 54 points.

After an hour rain delay, the Miners sat in second place, but still needed to fend off Escanaba in the final race – the 1,600 relay – to hold onto that position. Negaunee captured second in the race (4:18.18) edging the Eskymos by three seconds.

“The girls knew that they had to run tough today,” said Negaunee head coach Vickie Paupore. “We knew that Marquette was a heavy favorite, so we figured it was going to be a battle for second. The girls really performed and did what they needed to do.”

Helping the Miners was senior Ashley Veale who captured first-place finishes in both the 100-meter hurdles (16.57) and the 300-meter hurdles (47.31). Veale also took third place finishes in the 100 (16.57) and the 200 (27.35).

“I was so proud of the way she finished her career with two firsts in the hurdles,” Paupore said. “She wasn’t ranked that high in the 100 and 200, but she really came through for us today, as she has her whole career. It’s really just been awesome to be her coach.”