Cross country: Rapid River boys take Skyline title

Mid Peninsula girls 1st

WILSON — The weather was hardly fit for man or beast at times Wednesday, but it didn’t stop North Central senior Griffin Johnson or Superior Central junior Danika Walters from mastering the conditions in the Skyline Central Conference cross country meet.

Johnson earned his first league title on this cloudy and rainy day, splashing through the wet and slippery 3.1-mile course in 19 minutes, two seconds.

He was followed by Rapid River junior Azariah Hernandez at 19:29 and sophomore brother Ishmael Hernandez (19:41), Munising’s Larson Nebel (19:43) and Stephenson’s Evan Kakuk (19:46).

“The conditions were less than ideal, but it was fun,” Johnson said. “After the first mile we had about a 75-yard stretch where I was up to my ankles in water. At 1 1/2 miles, I stepped into a hole and almost ate it. Being a senior, it was nice to get a couple memorable races on our home course. I’m proud of my teammates. We just tried to do our best which is all our coach asks. Not having Gladstone here this time made for a more level playing field.”

The Mid Pen girls retained their title with 36 points. followed by Munising 40 and Stephenson 74.

“Our girls are a little smaller than everybody else, but we did well enough to win,” said Mid Pen coach Mark Branstrom. “It was the same thing for everybody else. I was very proud of the way the girls ran. The Munising girls looked strong. I think they ran better than they have all year. Maddy and Danika really ran well.”

Walters was also crown SCC champion for the first time at 21:27 on the Gorzinski farm property. She was followed by Munising senior Madeleine Peramaki (21:53), Mid Peninsula sophomore Daisy Englund (22:18) and freshman Landry Koski (22:27) and Stephenson’s Kylee Kuntze (23:00).

“I actually run better in the cold, but I have asthma and my lungs are pretty bad this year,” said Walters. “I think the conditions may have brought it on. The pools of water made it challeging, but It was fun and getting my first league title made it more satisfying. I worked real hard this summer and it was nice to see how it played out. I tried to stay with Madeleine and gave it my all in the end.”

Peramaki said she was happy with the Mustangs’ runner-up finish.

“Our team did real well,” she said. “Everybody had to run in the same conditions and we gave it everything we had.”

The Rapid River boys won with 34 pionts, followed by Stephenson 45 and North Central 79.

“This was not a fast race, but it was a real good effort by our team,” said Rapid River coach Zach Truitt. “The guys ran exactly how I wanted them to run. It was super wet and fun to watch. Unfortunately, one of our guys (Matt Snay) rolled his ankle and had to drop out. I wasn’t sure we’d pull it out, but everybody moved up nicely. We’ve gotten faster in every race. It’s going to be tight at the Finals.”

Azariah Hernandez had similar thoughts.

“It was a tough race,” Hernandez said. “Before the large hill (early in the race), we had some water and I slipped with my spikes. It was wet, that’s for sure. But we all did good. Everybody did his job.”

Most area teams resume in Tuesday’s Norway Invitational.

Boys

Team standings — Rapid River 34, Stephenson 45, North Central 79, Norway 104, Mid Peninsula 120, Munising 134.

Top 10 — 1, Griffin Johnson, North Central, 19:02; 2, Azariah Hernandez, Rapid River, 19:29; 3, Ishmael Hernandez, Rapid River, 19:41; 4, Larson Nebel, Munising, 19:43; 5, Evan Kakuk, Stephenson, 19:46; 6, Aaron Cappaert, Stephenson, 19:57; 7, Adam Cavagnetto, Norway, 20:03; 8, Noah Sefcik, Rapid River, 20:13; 9, Buckley Carey, Stephenson, 20:14; 10, Nathan Olson, Rapid River, 20:32.

Girls

Team standings — Mid Peninsula 36, Munising 40, Stephenson 74, Superior Central 100, North Central 117, Rapid River 136, Norway 138.

Top 10 — 1, Danika Walters, Superior Central, 21:27; 2, Madeleine Peramaki, Munising, 21:53; 3, Daisy Englund, Mid Peninsula, 22:18; 4, Landry Koski, Mid Peninsula, 22:27; 5, Kylee Kuntze, Stephenson, 23:00; 6, Megan Matson, Munising, 23:30; 7, Cheveney Koski, Mid Peninsula, 23:43; 8, Kennedy Englund, Mid Peninsula, 23:53; 9, Jenna Matson, Munising, 24:28; 10, Taylor Behning, Munising, 24:50.

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