Lakes soar above CCC track

LAKE LINDEN – With a low sky, a fine mist and strong winds, it felt like a cloud had descended upon Warner Athletic Field for the Copper Country Conference track and field meet.

It might have just signified the stratospheric level the Lake Linden-Hubbell program is at these days.

LL-H easily defended its league titles at home Monday, winning the girls’ meet by 67 points and taking the boys with nearly triple the points of second-place Ontonagon.

“I just give all the kids who came out here a heck of a lot of credit. The weather was just not a conference championship-type day,” LL-H girls’ coach Gary Guisfredi said.

The LL-H girls had 166, followed by Dollar Bay (99), Ontonagon (80), Baraga (70), Chassell (69) and Jeffers (10).

Depth ruled the day, as the Lakes won all four relays and four of five field events, easily overcoming the fact that Lori Wardynski of Ontonagon (hurdles), Jamie Dompier of Chassell (sprints), and Carli Daavettila of Dollar Bay (distance) held LL-H out of the top spot in any individual running events.

Sarah Audette claimed a double in pole vault (8-foot-6) and long jump (13-10), while Brittni Kisul (100-7 in discus) and Taylor Shepeard (27-6 in shot put) cleaned up the throwing events.

Those short bursts of strength and agility were challenging, but long runs into the teeth of the wind were especially daunting. Daavettila led a remarkably deep DB distance contingent in both genders.

“It’s brutal. The wind’s blowing right at you,” the freshman said.

Daavettila held off LL-H’s Clara Knight to win the 1,600 in 6:18, then was not seriously challenged in taking the 3,200 in 13:48. Two Bay teammates finished in the top five alongside her in both races.

“I’ve got to try and push myself to stay with the girls ahead of me and I can get a pretty good spot,” she said of U.P. Finals June 1 in Kingsford.

There may be no girls who can stay with Dompier. The senior loosed a staggering display of speed particularly noteworthy on a wet asphalt track: She won the 100 in 12.38, which would be merely a record in all U.P. divisions had it happened at the Finals, which are run on a faster rubberized surface in Kingsford. Later, she ran a 1:03.99 to win the 400 by nearly five seconds and finished with a 26.66 to win the 200 by more than 2 seconds.

Wardynski finished a distant second to Dompier in the 100 (in 13.84), but won both duels with Baraga’s Shannon Fish in the hurdle events, finishing the 100 in 17.80 and the 300 in 51.71.

LL-H hurdler James Marietta was one of only two double winners in the boys’ half of the meet. LL-H took all four relays and six individual events en route to amassing 227 points. Ontonagon was second with 79, followed by Dollar Bay (66), Chassell (54), Baraga (38) and Jeffers (six).

And to think how much better the Lakes might be at this point in the season if there had been much of a season beforehand.

“I wish we’d had a couple more meets,” LL-H boys’ coach Mike Greene said. “I have some guys who are just getting into much better shape. I wish we had a couple more meets before the Finals.”

Cody Kumpula ran an 11.83 to win a fairly tight 100 but pulled up injured with about 20 meters left in the 200 as Ontonagon’s Tony Soumis took that race in 24.47.

The Glads also snagged wins from Aaron Kaikko in the 400 and Brady Guilbault in the shot put.

Dollar Bay’s distance stable was strong here too, as Brett Houle ran without peer to victories in the 1,600 (5:22) and 3,200 (11:33).

“The backstretch is really windy. It’s hard to push yourself through that, especially when there’s lots of wind,” Houle said.

Teammate Tom Autio was runner-up in both races, though LL-H took the 800 (Alex Knight) and the 3,200 relay.

“All in all, I think we did as good as I thought we’d do,” Greene said.

Afterward, coaches voted on their annual awards, with Dompier and Houle being named overall most valuable performers in both genders.

Top distance runner awards went to Alex Knight of LL-H and Daavettila of DB. Marietta and Soumis shared top male sprinter’s honors, with Wardynski taking top female sprinter. Ross Michaels of Chassell and Audette were named most valuable jumpers, with the Lakes’ Chuck Heckel and Kisul the top throwers.

Greene, Guisfredi and Dollar Bay’s Steve Dunstan were named coaches of the year.