Daavettilas run as sisters, rivals

ONTONAGON – There is a desire even more fierce than running for your school. A drive even more intense than a conference championship. A motivation so basic and so primal, it has goaded men and women to higher heights than initially thought possible.

Trying to beat an older sibling.

Dollar Bay athlete Cami Daavettila runs with this intensity every meet, as she and her sister Carli Daavettila have established themselves as the top two distance runners in the Copper Country Conference.

That competitiveness was on display again Monday, and after 2,995 meters the Daavettilas were still neck and neck, ponytail and ponytail. Only a last gasp surge allowed Cami to pass Carli by less than half a second in the two-mile and win bragging rights at the family dinner table.

For this week at least.

“We are so competitive,” Cami said after winning the 3200 in 13 minutes, 25 seconds. “It’s like that in the mile too. It is always a sprint-off to see who wins. I almost died in that race, but when she was ahead of me, I really didn’t want her to beat me. I had to catch her.”

Cami won the 1600 as well, edging Carli 6:03 to 6:04.

The pair usually run in a pack for the first nine-tenths of the race, gaining space with each successive lap from the rest of the field until they try and separate from each other at the end.

Cami said they do not plan it that way.

It just happens when neither wants the other to gain space even for a second.

“She always beat me last year,” Cami said. “But she’s older.”

All of Dollar Bay benefits from the sibling rivalry as Cami, Carli and older sister Julia Daavettila led the Bays to relay wins in the 3200 while all three placed in the 800.

The mountain of points the Daavettilas racked up kept them within striking distance of the Lake Linden-Hubbell team score, but the Lakes’ superior depth was able to edge the day 176-146. Ontonagon took third with 114 points and Chassell finished fourth with 34.

“It really helps push me, being able to run against her,” Cami said. “I just don’t want her to beat me ever.”

Along with the Daavettilas’ banner days, Lake Linden-Hubbell junior Sarah Audette made her mark Monday, tying the conference meet record in the pole vault with a nine-foot clearance.

She now shares the conference record and school record with coach Gary Guisfredi’s daughter Angela.

Most impressive, Audette has been doing this all on a sore ankle after an injury sustained during softball.

Not that it stopped her from winning the 100, pole vault and high jump Monday afternoon.

“It’s swollen still, but we just keep taping it up,” Audette said. “It makes it a little bit difficult, but I try to fight through it.”

Audette has her sights set on defending her U.P. pole vault championship this season, as well as trying to clear at least 9 feet, seven inches, which would give her solo ownership of the school record (9-6), which she tied at last year’s U.P. Finals.

“I just have to make sure I am strong at the end,” Audette said. “Take that extra breath and get myself focused.”

Cami Daavettila was named the CCC MVP with three wins and a fifth place finish.

Ontonagon’s Paige Blake was voted as the conference’s top sprinter with wins in the 200, long jump and a second-place finish in the 100.

Audette was named the best jumper and teammate Vivica Nelson won best thrower with a win in the discus (93 feet) and second place in the shot put.

Guisfredi was named coach of the year.

Other notable performances came from Lori Wardynski (winning both hurdles races) and Chassell’s Shumete Sam for the 400.