By BURT ANGELI
KINGSFORD - West Iron County has never won a U.P. Track & Field girls championship.
Burt Angeli/The Daily News Photo
Norway’s Alexis Kallenbach is among the top qualifiers in the Division 2 U.P. high jump.
Neighboring Forest Park last took home a U.P. girls crown in the early 1970s.
The Iron County schools both have their sights set on the top Saturday at Flivver Field.
"This is the best I've seen a group come together while I've been here," Coach Kristi Berutti said after the Wykons captured their first West PAC title.
West Iron swept the relays in winning the Division 2 regional at Westwood. Distance runner Victoria Hoogenboom and thrower Megan Miatech each grabbed two firsts.
Low hurdler Cassi Pellizzer of West Iron, high jumper Alexis Kallenbach of Norway and 400-meter runner Hailey Lafleur of Iron Mountain lead Division 2 regional qualifiers in their events.
"West Iron is definitely solid," said Manistique coach Chris Marana, who guided the Emeralds to the other regional title. "They're going to be tough to beat. We're going to have to be on top of our game. They'll definitely be a test for us."
Forest Park along with Saint Ignace, Superior Central and Bessemer chalked up Division 3 regional girls championships. The Saints captured the past three U.P. Division 2 trophies before falling to Division 3.
Brimley is a two-time defending Division 3 winner.
"These girls have been working hard all year," Trojans coach Chandra Ziegler said. "Their efforts have paid off so far.
"We've been tapering and their legs are fresh."
Gina Graff (shot, discus) and Georgie Dohl (both hurdles) paced Forest Park in the regional.
"St. Ignace will be tough to beat but nothing's impossible," Ziegler said. "Each girl needs to number one, believe in themselves, and number two, have the race of their life in order to finish where we'd like to finish."
The Trojans enter with the top Division 3 800-meter relay (1:54.29) in Maria Stankewicz, Kendra Campbell, Katie McCole and Dohl.
"We have big goals and it will be a battle on Saturday," Ziegler said. "We're ready to fight, to do our best, and let the cards fall where they may. I'm so proud of what we've accomplished. No matter what happens on Saturday, I am honored to coach this team."
Freshman Aspen Hood of Engadine, who won the U.P. 300 hurdles last year, claimed four regional titles in both hurdles, 200 and 800 relay.
In addition to Hood in the hurdles, Rudyard's Savannah Dugan leads discus and shot competition while nobody is faster than Chassell's Jamie Dompier in the 100 and 200-meter dashes.
Grand Marais-Munising Baptist eighth-grader Michaela Paramaki and Stephenson's Breanna Martin both cleared 8-feet-6 in their regionals.
"It's exciting," Paramaki said after qualifying for three U.P. events in the regional (pole vault, long jump, 100). "I've been working hard and I'm very happy."
In Division 1, Kingsford's Carlee Benzie shows the best regional long jump performance at 15-feet-4.
Marquette and Negaunee captured Division 1 regional titles earlier this month. Redettes freshman Lindsey Rudden dominated the distances with regional firsts in the 800, 1600 and 3200-meter runs.
Marquette is gunning for a third straight U.P. championship.
U.P. Track & Field Finals begin at 9 a.m. Saturday at Flivver Field with the 3200-meter relay and field events. Running events will go non-stop after the high hurdles start at 11 a.m.
Top U.P. regional girls qualifying stats follow:
Discus - Savannah Dugan, Rudyard, 110-7.
Shot put - Savannah Dugan, Rudyard, 38-8.
High jump - Bethany Engel, Wakefield-Marenisco, 5-2.
Pole vault - Michaela Paramaki, Grand Marais-Munising Baptist, and Breanna Martin, Stephenson, 8-6.
Long jump - Carlee Benzie, Kingsford, 15-4.
100-meter dash - Jamie Dompier, Chassell, 12.45.
100-meter hurdles - Aspen Hood, Engadine, 16.30.
200 - Jamie Dompier, Chassell, 26.21.
300-meter hurdles - Aspen Hood, Engadine, 47.94.
400 - Shayla Huebner, Marquette, 1:00.71.
800 - Lindsey Rudden, Marquette, 2:21.86.
1600 - Lindsey Rudden, Marquette, 5:15.20.
3200 - Lindsey Rudden, Marquette, 11:53.21.
400 relay St. Ignace, 54.06.
800 relay - Marquette, 1:53.07.
1600 relay - Marquette, 4:20.49.
3200 relay - Marquette, 10:26.34.