FLAT ROCK — The Jeffers boys were ready for anything on Saturday as they retained their Upper Peninsula Division 2 cross-country title by 27 points.
The Jets were followed by Ishpeming 70 and Ironwood 78.
Jeffer’s senior Tavin Larson clinched his first title by completing the 3.1-mile course on the Richer Farm property in 17 minutes and 43.83 seconds. He was followed by newcomers Landon Larson (17:44.4) and Cameron Anderson (17:53.34).
“That was my best race of the year” said Tavin. “When I took first place (after the first mile), I tried to hold my brother back. Our top four runners always run as a pack and we’re always within 30 seconds of each other. Our top runner from last year missed this season with a broken leg, but we have two newcomers who are fast. We also have a lot of good middle school runners coming our way. The future looks bright.”
Sophomore Joey Lauzon was fourth (18:07.36), followed by Hancock rookie Todd Kilpela (18:19.29), Ironwood senior Alex Korpela (18:37.28) and Jeffer’s sophomore Brit Heinonen (18:42, 82).
“We came with a really solid game plan and we were as ready as we could be,” said Jeffers coach Sam Kilpela. “We really worked on the pace in practice and are exactly where we should be. Although the 1-2-3 was unexpected. Brit had a really bad cramp halfway through the race but still ran a solid race. This was just a rewarding day. The guys are talented. They work together.”
Ironwood coach Ben Schmandt said he was pleased with the Red Devils’ performance.
“We got where we expected” he added. “The boys left everything on the course. You’ve worked hard all year and got a nice finish. We will continue to work on this, although we will miss our seniors. Hopefully we keep working hard and stay in competitive mode.”
Dollar Bay senior Amos Norland won the D-3 race in a school record of 16:44.18. He was followed by Pickford’s Hayden Hagen (18:00.14) and Munising’s runner-up Trevor Nolan (18:04.1).
“Lots of sleep and a healthy diet have been key over the last two days,” said Norland. “I was doing 1k reps in training and trying to keep a consistent pace today. I got the school record with 21 seconds, which was definitely unexpected. I knew I had a chance, but I figured I’d get it in a few seconds.”
Stephenson took the team title with 77 points, followed by Engadine 86 and Republic-Michigamme 89, Munising 94 and Dollar Bay 97.
As expected, Marquette took his fourth straight D-1 title with 29 points. The Redmen were followed by Sault Ste. Marie 83 and Houghton 97.
Sault newcomer Gabe Litzner was the individual winner with 16:41. He was followed by Gladstone senior Drew Hughes (16:48.83) and Marquette senior Brady Ketzenberger (16:58.81).
Senior Cyrus Hamlin was Houghton’s leader in 11th (17:50.78) and senior Dane Anderson was Calumet’s pacesetter in 20th (18:42.5).
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