Huebner, Rudden lead Marquette girls to fourth-straight U.P. championship

KINGSFORD – Lindsey Rudden of Marquette Senior High School turned in a performance Saturday most Upper Peninsula track runners never experience.

The sophomore won two individual events – setting a U.P. record in one – and ran with the winning 1,600-meter relay squad as the Redettes claimed their fourth straight U.P. title and seventh out of the last eighth.

MSHS finished with a whopping 145 points to far outdistance runner-up Escanaba (86) and third place finisher Negaunee (71).

Calumet and Menominee placed fourth with 46 points apiece, followed by Kingsford (41), Houghton (32.5), Sault Ste. Marie (28), Gladstone (25.5) and Gwinn (6)

“What a day,” Redettes head coach John Peterson said on a day where temperatures hit the mid-80s. “We’re not used to the heat, but the girls responded well.”

Rudden and freshman teammate Amber Huebner responded particularly well.

Rudden won them 1,600-meter run in a U.P. record 4 minutes, 55.28 seconds. In doing so, she became the first U.P. girl runner to ever run a sub-five minute mile.

“It’s what I’ve been working for,” Rudden said. “I’ve dreamed about this for a long time. It’s where I need to be for college.

“I made sure I was ready.”

She was so overcome at the finish line, she dropped to her knees with what seemed to be an overwhelming sense of emotion.

“I was just so exhausted and it was such a mental thing,” she insisted afterward.

After being taken to a medical tent to recover her strength, Rudden missed her next event – the 400 dash – in order to be ready for the 800 run, which she won in 2:23.54.

She was challenged by Huebner until the final few yards before putting the race away.

“I usually have some speed at the end that I can use to win the 800 with my foot speed,” Rudden said.

Said Peterson, who ran track for former MSHS coach William Hart in the Class A finals 50 years ago Saturday: “Lindsey just didn’t have time to recover for the 400. In the 1,600, she told me last year she wanted to get in under five minutes.”

Huebner turned in a banner day for MSHS. Not only did she win the 400 (1:00.44), but she took the 3,200 run (11:48.80) as well.

“She had a fantastic day,” Peterson said, noting Huebner’s two wins and runner-up finishes in the 1,600 and 800. “That’s 36 points from one person.

“She and Lindsey are a great 1-2 punch.”

Huebner said the 400 time was a personal best.

“I knew I had to push it the last 200 meters,” she said. “I felt the wind on the last stretch, but since it’s a shorter race, it doesn’t affect you that much.”

Huebner followed right behind Menominee’s Kameron Burmeister for most of the 3,200 until picking up some speed down the stretch.

“With only 800 meters left, I wanted to pass her then,” Huebner said. “But coach told me the game plan was to stay with her and sprint at the end. I just had to be patient.”

Marquette’s Hunter Viitala captured the 300 hurdles (46.27) and ran a leg with the winning MSHS 1,600 relay (4:12.84) squad.

Hailee Richards took Negaunee’s lone individual triumph, that coming in the discus with a throw of 111-feet, 1-inch.

“That’s her personal best. Our school record is 120 feet,” Negaunee coach Vickie Paupore said. “She’s getting closer to that.”

The coach noted her 3,200 relay unit of Wyleen Kniola, Clara Churchill, Alyssa Blake and Aleda Johnson took top honors in 10:08.12.

“The girls ran their best by 30 seconds,” Paupore said. “I’m so pleased with my team’s performance today. We did well competing against Marquette and Escanaba.”

Chelsea Jacques of Calumet broke up Marquette’s dominance in the running events with wins in the 100 (12.73) and 200 (26.50) dashes.

Gwinn’s lone point-getter was Nicole Usher, who came in third in the long jump in 14-2.