Cooper, Hannah pace Mustangs to Div. 3 boys title

KINGSFORD – Munising High School’s boys track and field team no doubt enjoyed its ride home after the MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 3 finals at Kingsford High School on Saturday.

The Mustangs, led by four individual wins from Andy Cooper and two from Brett Hannah, compiled 107.5 points to outdistance runner-up North Dickinson (68) and third place finisher Rapid River (60). Lake Linden-Hubbell finished fourth (52) and Ironwood fifth (35) among the 18 teams that competed.

Munising claimed its first U.P. boys’ championship since 1996 with the win.

“It’s a good day,” Mustangs head coach Matt Mattson said. “We knew with Cooper and Hannah, we’d have a good team. I thought we’d have a chance to win.”

Cooper captured the 110- (16.11 seconds) and 300-meter 40.77) hurdles; the 800 run (23.89); and the high jump (6-feet).

“I tried 6-6 in the high jump. I was close, but didn’t get it,” Cooper said.

“In the 110 hurdles, I hit a hurdle early and twisted my ankle a little, but I was able to catch him (runner-up Tim Hruska of North Dickinson) in the last 10 meters.”

Cooper won the event by one-hundredth of a second.

“When I leaned (at the finish line), that definitely helped,” he said.

Cooper set a personal best in the 300 low hurdles.

“On the turn, I went over one hurdle with the wrong foot,” he noted. “That cost me a second.”

Hannah won the 1,600 (4:41.62) and the 3,200 (10:49.97) runs. He also placed second in the 800 (2:08.70) run.

“You have to have some energy left for the middle laps, where you have to go to work,” he said after the 1,600 win, his personal-best time. “You have to focus ahead of you and not take anything for granted.”

Mattson said Hannah missed two days of practice during the week with a back injury and was limited in a team workout Friday.

“He still looked good,” the Mustangs’ coach said.

Superior Central, which finished 10th with 20 points, got a second-place finish from Greg Seppanen in the 100 dash (11.87) and a third from Nicholas Maki in the 400 dash (53.36).

The Munising girls, meanwhile, finished fifth among 22 teams with 37 points. Brimley took top honors with 84, followed by Ironwood (67), Forest Park (55) and Pickford (38).

“The girls did well, but we’re so young,” Mattson said. “Our point-getters are young. We could challenge for a U.P. title in the next couple of years, though.”

Michaela Peramaki produced Munising’s lone win on the day with a 9-0 effort in the pole vault.

Superior Central, with a 26-point total for a 10-place finish, got a win in the 400-meter relay (54.08).

Anchor Teslyn Tyner, who sported a “faith” tattoo on her wrist, thought the SC unit was behind most of the race.

“But we had it in us (to win),” said Tyner, whose name and those of her relay teammates were not listed in the pre-meet qualifying list nor the final stat sheet.

“It was closer than I thought, but it definitely feels good to be U.P. champs.”