“Go! Go! Go!” You can almost hear West Iron’s Ally Jo Polich urging teammate Carli Johnson on after passing her the baton for the final leg of the 400-meter relay. Casey Harrington and Elizabeth Pellizzer were the other members of the first place quartet.
KINGSFORD—There were no secrets heading into the Division 2 girls U.P. Finals on May 31 at Flivver Field.
West Iron County and St. Ignace had been on a collision course for division supremacy pretty much from the get-go this spring.
The defending Division 2 champion Wykons knew all along that the Saints, who won the Division 3 crown last year and entered with four consecutive U.P. titles, stood between them and another championship trophy.
In the end, the Wykons fell a bit short, as St. Ignace regained the Division 2 championship on a sun-drenched and hot Saturday. The Saints compiled 116 points, while West Iron wound up with 107 to finish runner-up for the third time in the past five years.
Newberry (75), Manistique (63.5) and Ishpeming (59.5) rounded out the top five.
The team loss was especially difficult because the Wykons were not at full strength. Early in the meet, distance runner Tori Harris-Hoogenboom fell ill and was not able to finish the 1600. She also was forced to scratch in the 800 and 3200.
The loss of those potential points was too much for West Iron to overcome, said Wykon coach Kristi Berutti.
“We had a good season and everything was good until today,” Berutti said. “Tori got sick, but what can you do? There’s nothing you can do.”
Harris-Hoogenboom was not available for comment, but fellow 3,200 relay runner Brianna Lambert said the junior had flu-like symptoms during the week and likely became dehydrated early Saturday morning.
“When we were warming up in the beginning (for the 3,200 relay), she was having a hard time with that,” Lambert said. “You could kind of tell. Her energy is always up, she’s always the one that gives us our extra oomph when we don’t have it. We all feel really bad for her. Just really bad timing.”
Nevertheless, the team loss did not overshadow record-setting performances from Wykon senior Cassilyn Pellizzer and freshman Emmy Kinner. Pellizzer broke her own school record in the 300 hurdles of 48.70 by running a 48.19 to capture her second straight U.P. title.
Pellizzer said she was much calmer this year than last.
“Today I wasn’t as nervous. It didn’t feel like the U.P.s or my last (meet),” said Pellizzer who also placed second in both the high jump and the 100 hurdles and won 1600 relay with Lambert, Kinner and Elizabeth Pellizzer. “Today I was calm. It just felt like a normal meet, and I’m really happy with the results in the end.”
While Pellizzer’s high school career is complete and she will now move on to compete at Northern Michigan University, Kinner is just starting her prep days. The final performance of her rookie season was a memorable one.
Kinner set a new West Iron standard in the 400, recording a 1:00.98 to win the race by going away. The previous mark was 1.01 set by Chris Buhro in 1988.
“It felt great because from the first time I ran (the 400), everyone was talking about how I had a chance to break it,” said Kinner, who also took second in the 200 and third in the 100. “I knew I just needed a warm day. Your muscles are so much looser and you just feel better running.”
The 1600 relay team just missed setting a new WIC benchmark, dominating the final event by nearly 17 seconds. The group recorded a 4:18.96, just 0.19 seconds away with the school record.
“We worked all season individually to make our 400s stronger and stronger,” Lambert said. “It’s disappointing we didn’t break the record, but beyond that it’s been a really good season.”
The other Wykon first came from the 400 relay team of Casey Harrington, Ally Jo Polich, Elizabeth Pellizzer and Carli Johnson. The quartet held off Ishpeming to win in 53.38.
“It feels pretty great, especially it being my last event,” said the senior Harrington. “It was a good way to end the season.”
The 3200 relay group of Madeline Waara, Alyssa Possanza, Lambert and Harris-Hoogenboom began the day by finishing second. The 800 relay team of Harrington, Sarah Penkivech, Lambert and Johnson also finished runner-up for WIC.
Junior Alexis Golfis took third in the long jump and sixth in the 300 hurdles. Johnson finished fourth in the 200 and fifth in the 100.
Senior Megan Miatech, the defending shot put champion, struggled in her final meet and wound up fourth with a 33-6.25, far below her usual standards.
“Extremely upset since it’s my last track meet ever,” Miatech said. “I was doing great warming up. I honestly had no idea this was how it was going to be.”
Sydnie Mazurek placed fifth in the high jump, while Polich (100 hurdles) and Elizabeth Pellizzer (400) each took sixth to round out the point-scorers for the Wykons.
3200 relay: 2. WIC (Madeline Waara, Alyssa Possanza, Brianna Lambert, Tori Harris-Hoogenboom), 10:50.84; 800 relay: 2. WIC (Casey Harrington, Sarah Penkivech, Brianna Lambert, Carli Johnson), 1:53.55. 400 relay: 1. WIC (Harrington, Ally Jo Polich, Elizabeth Pellizzer, Johnson), 53.38. 1600 relay: 1. WIC (E.Pellizzer, Lambert, Emmy Kinner, Cassilyn Pellizzer), 4:18.96.
100 high hurdles: 2. C.Pellizzer, 17.03; 6. Polich, 18.38. 100: 3. Kinner, 13.72; 5. Johnson, 14.07. 400: 1. Kinner, 1:00.98; 6. E.Pellizzer, 1:04.77. 300 low hurdles: 1. C.Pellizzer, 48.19; 6. Alexis Golfis, 52.14. 200: 2. Kinner, 27.42; 4. Johnson, 28.27.
Shot put: 4. Megan Miatech, 33-6.25. Long jump: 3. Golfis, 14-7.5. High jump: 2. C.Pellizzer, 4-10; 5. Sydnie Mazurek, 4-6.
The West Iron boys tied for seventh with Ironwood with 36 points. Ishpeming captured the title with 115 points, with Manistique (76) and Hancock (61) filling out the top three in the 11-team field.
Senior Ryan Rogers finished his prep track career in fine fashion by winning the long jump title, plus taking fourth in the 400 and sixth in the 100. Rogers, who finished second in the long jump a year ago after being seeded first, reversed that order this time with a leap of 19-7.
“I was losing by one inch today, and then I passed it on my last jump,” said Rogers, who battled through a knee injury late in the season. “It feels good to take first this time.”
West Iron’s next-best finish came from senior Tylor Capadagli, who supplied WIC with eight points by finishing runner-up in the 300 hurdles with a time of 44.36.
“It’s my senior year, so I didn’t want to think that I had more in me at the end of the race,” said Capadagli, who also combined with Joe Pisoni, Tommy Keski-Kastari and Colton Pangrazzi to finish fifth in the 3200 relay. “I started off as fast as I could, and I was pretty close to empty at the end.”
Pengrazzi contributed WIC’s other top-three result with a third in the 800 in a time of 2:09.88. He also took sixth in the 400.
Other point-scorers for West Iron included Keski-Kastari (fifth in the 800) and the 400 relay team of Phil King, Jake Polich, Nik Thoney and Brandon Olson (fifth).
3200 relay: 5. WIC (Tylor Capadagli, Joe Pisoni, Tommy Keski-Kastari, Colton Pangrazzi), 9:07.79. 400 relay: 5. WIC (Phil King, Jake Polich, Nik Thoney, Brandon Olson), 47.21.
100: 6. Ryan Rogers, 12.16. 400: 4. Rogers, 54.82; 6. Pangrazzi, 56.33. 300 low hurdles: 2. Capadagli, 44.36. 800: 3. Pangrazzi, 2:09.88; 5. Keski-Kastari, 2:14.64.
Long jump: 1. Rogers, 19-7