Prep cross country: Marquette’s Rudden pays the price before recovering from winning Marquette Challenge

MARQUETTE – The Marquette Senior High School girls cross country team looked just about perfect at its own Marquette Challenge at Presque Isle Park on Thursday afternoon.

Actually, the Redettes were better – as in faster – than perfect.

That wasn’t a good thing, though, in the sunny, hot and humid conditions that even nearby Lake Superior couldn’t temper.

Sophomore Lindsey Rudden won the race as the only girl to break the 20-minute barrier in 19 minutes, 55.9 seconds.

But she paid for her victory by collapsing just as she crossed the finish line, overcome by the heat.

After a break lying down in the shade while getting covered in cool towels and taking in fluids for about 15 minutes, she was doing much better.

“At the end, my legs were just getting really tired,” Rudden said from the comfort of her parents’ air conditioned vehicle afterward. “I began the first mile at 5:20, which was too fast for the conditions we had.

“The last few hundred yards, it was very hard, but when you can see the finish, you want to push yourself. I didn’t want what happened at the (Upper Peninsula) finals last year.”

That was when she hyperventilated and had to pull up about a half-mile before the finish line while leading the Division 1 field. And that was in the relative coolness of a late October day.

Rudden, who said she rededicated herself to training since then, said she’s learned that a cross country runner going full tilt will be about 20 degrees warmer than the climate he or she is running in, which on Thursday included a heat index into the 90s.

“This is worse than snow,” Marquette head coach Dale Phillips said about Thursday’s weather. He should know, considering this is his 37th season with the program.

Rudden, however, did lead a dominant performance by the Marquette girls, who went 1-2-3 with freshman Amber Heubner coming in at 20:17.3 and junior Calla Martysz in 20:48.2.

Insuring the team win were another four Redettes also finishing in the top 15 with senior Nichole Mackey sixth, junior Shayla Huebner ninth, junior Martha Storm 10th and senior Cassidy Thomas 13th.

Marquette scored 20 points, far ahead of Escanaba’s 59 even though the Eskymos had five girls in the top 16.

“And we still have more depth, since our JV girls swept the top five places in the JV meet,” Phillips said, pointing out that freshman Hannah Detmers’ winning JV time of 23:16.2 would’ve put her 15th in the varsity meet.

Gladstone was third among varsity teams with 89 points, Munising took fourth with 108 and Negaunee was fifth with 136. Westwood came in seventh with 185 and Ishpeming eighth with 207 while Gwinn and Manistique didn’t field full teams.

Top individual performances for each area school included Holly Blowers of Manistique in seventh overall, Marissa Immel of Munising in eighth, Wyleen Kniola of Negaunee in 12th, Gabbi French of Westwood in 29th, Khora Swanson of Ishpeming in 35th and Autumn Hedlund of Gwinn in 55th.

On the boys side, MSHS won a much closer race, 34-39 over Escanaba, as Redmen senior – but first-year cross country runner – Cole Rieboldt won in 17:27.3, about 12 1/2 seconds ahead of runner-up and sophomore teammate Lance Rambo’s 17:39.7.

Rieboldt is keeping busy this fall since he’s also a key cog of the MSHS varsity soccer team.

“I haven’t run cross country since I was in middle school,” he said. “The two sports help each other, though soccer gives me more for cross country since you’re always running when you’re on the (soccer) field.”

He did say, however, that since he dedicated himself to longer runs since the end of last spring’s track season, it’s also helped his stamina on the pitch.

“I’ve been trying to run five miles or workout on hills every other day,” he said. “I have way more endurance now in soccer.”

Rounding out the contributions to Marquette’s win were sophomore Logan Zueger in seventh, sophomore Troy Sergey in 10th, sophomore Alex Wyble in 23rd and junior Trevor Slinkard in 35th.

With 10 schools posting team scores, Negaunee finished third with 76 points, followed by Gladstone with 131, Ishpeming with 154, Westwood with 175, Gwinn with 186 and North Star Academy with 214. Munising and Manistique didn’t post team scores.

Individually leading each area school was Brett Hannah of Munising in fifth, Grant Johnson of Negaunee sixth, Skyler Dakota of Westwood 11th, Kazmine Langness of Ishpeming 17th, Robert Ayotte of Manistique 21st, Michael Brown of North Star 25th and Aiden Anderson of Gwinn 32nd.