Boys U.P. Track & Field championship preview


Sports Writer

KINGSFORD – North Dickinson wants to leave Flivver Field with the U.P. Track & Field Division 3 boys championship Saturday.

“We have high expectations and the boys seem excited to try meet those expectations,” Nordics coach Mike Lindholm said. “I think we do have a chance to be in contention for the title but like always in the Finals you have to have everything fall into place.

“I think every point is going to be critical.”

North Dickinson earned the Division 3 title in 2008.

Tim Hruska’s four firsts – both hurdles, 100 and 200-meter dashes – ignited the Nordics to the recent regional title. Defending U.P. champion Pickford, St. Ignace and Bessemer bagged the other regional team awards.

St. Ignace won the past three U.P. Division 2 titles.

“In Division 3 this year, I think there are many teams who could can make a run at it,” Lindholm said. ” The boys thinking they can win it is a huge hurdle a track team has to clear because I don’t have to convince them. They’ve had that sort of confidence all year.

“Now they just have to compete, and hopefully, it will work out for them.”

North Dickinson shows strength in the hurdles with three in each event – Hruska and Kenny Pekarek both cracked the 110 and 300; Matthew Schultz is in the 110 while Logan O’Neil competes in the 300.

Field specialist Cody Berg qualified in the shot, high jump and long jump along with the 400.

“Cody could surprise some in the 400 dash, along with Derek Wagner who has been really improving,” Lindholm said. “O’Neil should compete well in the pole vault also.”

North Dickinson qualified 14 boys for Saturday’s events.

“All of them are critically important,” Lindholm said. “As is always stated, every point counts. It should be a exciting for them.”

The area features another standout in Forest Park’s Chris Hilberg, who leads Division 3 regional high jump qualifiers at 5-feet-10.

In Division 1, Kingsford’s Hilding Beaudoin returns to defend his U.P. discus title. Beaudoin won the 2012 U.P. title with a 143-feet-10 toss and took the 2013 regional in 142-7.

The Flivvers are also leading Division 1 pole vault qualifiers with Ryan Camp topping 11-feet-6.3.

Kingsford, fueled by a relays sweep, copped a regional title along with Gladstone. Marquette is after a fourth straight U.P. championship.

Ishpeming and Manistique pulled off Division 2 regional team titles.

Iron Mountain’s Daniel Kulas ran to the 1600 and 3200 honors.

Teammate Luke Zambon captured the U.P. Division 1 high jump title last year at 5-feet-10. However, in 2013, the senior must deal with Newberry’s James Sutton, a U.P. qualifier at 6-feet-7.

Sprinter Tyler Stafford plus the 400 and 800 relays lead the Wykons.

U.P. Track & Field Championships begin at 9 a.m. with the 3200-meter relay and field events. Running events will continue at 11 a.m. with the high hurdles. Admission is $7.

Top regional boys qualifying marks follow:

Discus – Brett Branstrom, Mid Peninsula, 146-3.

Shot put – Jared Vuksan, Gladstone, 52-2.

High jump – James Sutton, Newberry, 6-7.

Pole vault – Cole Stevens, Ironwood, 13-0.

Long jump – Justin Pederson, Gladstone, 20-7.

100-meter dash – Justin Pederson, Gladstone, 10.78.

110-meter hurdles – Vincente Carlson, Westwood, 15.40.

200 – Shaun Sullivan, Menominee, 22.65.

300-meter hurdles – Kennar Broullire, Manistique, 40.67.

400 – Chris Sedenquist, Gladstone, 52.24.

800 – Andrew Banitt, Marquette, 2:03.79.

1600 – Lance Rambo, Marquette, 4:39.41.

3200 – Eric Cousineau, Escanaba, 10:13.92.

400 relay – Menominee, 45.64.

800 relay – Menominee, 1:33.43.

1600 relay – Escanaba, 3:38.49.

3200 relay – Escanaba, 8:36.38.