Wykons girls 2nd at North Central Invitational

Kingsford's Lily Menghini runs the North Central Invitational cross country meet Wednesday in Wilson. (Dennis Grall/The Daily Press)

WILSON — Nobody could catch Adam Bruce in Wednesday’s North Central Invitational cross country meet as he cruised through the hilly 3.1-mile course on the Gorzinski farm property in 16 minutes, 48 seconds.

The Gladstone senior was followed by freshman teammate Giovanni Mathews (18:30) and classmate Jake Strasler (16:59).

“I’m happy with my time,” said Bruce, who won for the second time this season. “Our whole team ran well. This was a good warm-up for Saturday (Newberry Invitational). I like the course. It’s a tough course, but good for an early-season meet. I think this will help us out in the end.”

Gladstone, which placed four among the top 10, won with 33 points. The Braves were followed by Rapid River 80 and Republic-Michigamme 92.

The Gladstone girls edged defending champion West Iron County 69-77 for the title. Third-place Munising had 84 points.

“I’m real pleased overall, especially with the boys going 1-2-3,” said Braves’ coach Gary Whitmer. “For Adam to run that fast on this course and Gio to take second as a freshman is impressive. This also was nice for the girls. West Iron was ahead of us 44-46 through our fourth runner, then our fifth runner (Aleyna Wetthuhn) was 23rd and theirs was 33rd. That just shows how important the fifth runner is. Aleyna was our seventh runner after the first mile, but she kept plugging away.”

North Central senior Griffin Johnson placed fourth (19:10), followed by Kingsford’s Brandon Malberg (19:21).

“I tried to keep up with their (Gladstone’s) guys, but I wasn’t quite ready for that,” said Johnson. “Adam ran a great race. He’s a real good athlete.”

Munising senior Madeleine Peramaki won for the first time this season at 21:34, followed by Kingsford junior Lily Menghini (22:34) and Superior Central junior Danika Walters (23:04).

“I worked hard this summer on building up my distance because it felt like my body could handle it,” said Peramaki, who was runnner-up at Munising Aug. 21 and 10th at downstate Central Lake Aug. 18. “I’m still trying to get into racing shape. I had to go through the hard times and learn to handle the disappointments. This is definitely a confidence boost. I have to stay positive.”

Meneghini was the first of three Kingsford harriers. Sarah Kulas placed fourth (23:33) and Sydney Scott was sixth (24:05).

“I was real happy with it,” said Menghini. “I usually try to pace off Sarah and today Coach (Dan Carey) told me to go out hard and stay with the leaders. The footing was really awkward, although this is a fun course to run. We had real good weather. It wasn’t too hot or too cold.”

Carey said he was really happy with the top top three Flivver girls.

“They were able to push from the start of the race and finish strong,” he said. “Lily did a nice job of moving up early.”

In the boys meet, Malberg was followed by Flivver teammates Parker Morgan, 21st (21:13); Luke Rubel, 25th (21:29); and Luke Sturm, 34th (23:12).

“Brandon continued to push himself despite having an injured toe,” Carey said.

Joey Wentarmini, seventh (26:59), led the Flivver boys in the junior varsity meet. Logan Mitchell took ninth (32:26) and Kane Driscoll was 10th (37:49).

Kingsford’s Emily Curtis was the girls junior varsity winner in 29:10. The Flivvers also placed Meredith Treiber, second (29:55); Mckenzie Heimerl, sixth (32:11); and Ann Grider, eighth (38:31).

“Overall, the team is progressing as we get into the first part of the season,” Carey said.

— John Vrancic writes for The Daily Press in Escanaba.