The Menominee girls’ cross country opened its season by winning the Larissa Vartti Munising Invitational Tuesday. Members of the team are, left to right, Lilly Johnson, Paiton Plutchak, Anah Schloegel, Kameron Burmeister, Kendall Burmeister, Paige Tickler and Paige Reiswitz. <br><i>Special to the EagleHerald/Eric Burmeister</i>
The Menominee girls’ cross country opened its season by winning the Larissa Vartti Munising Invitational Tuesday. Members of the team are, left to right, Lilly Johnson, Paiton Plutchak, Anah Schloegel, Kameron Burmeister, Kendall Burmeister, Paige Tickler and Paige Reiswitz.
Special to the EagleHerald/Eric Burmeister
MUNISING, Mich. - After piling up the miles during the offseason, the Menominee cross country teams were ready to run when the starting gun for the 2013 season went off.

The Maroon girls raced to the championship trophy at the Larissa Vartti Invitational while the boys' team took home the runner-up trophy. It was the fifth straight Larissa Vartti title for the Maroons.

"We were so thrilled when they claimed the title again. I felt winning today's meet would be a challenge since we knew Escanaba had a strong girls' team," coach Suzi Merrill said. "We were missing all-state runner Rebekah WIckman to illness and ran four newcomers.

Led by Kameron Burmeister's first-place effort, the Menominee girls finished with 39 points to outpace Escanaba by 10 points for the title in hot and muggy conditions.

Burmeister's run to the individual title in 20:17.8 on the demanding course paced the Maroon girls to the gold trophy.

She finished 19 seconds ahead of runnerup Aimee Giese of Escanaba.

"She ran alone from the start and mentally pushed herself to the race champion title, shaving over 30 seconds off of last year's time in more challenging weather today," Merrill said.

"She worked very hard this summer and is strong and focused."

Burmeister led a parade of five Maroons in the top 13.

Lilly Johnson had a fourth-place finish in 22:15.50 and Paige Reiswitz was eighth in 24:01.34 in her varsity debut.

Anah Schloegel earned a 12th-place medal with her time of 24:25.91 and varsity newcomer Paiton Plutchak rounded out the Maroons' impressive top five runners with her 13th-place medal clocking of 24:31.48. Varsity rookie Paige Tickler was 28th (26:17.59) in the 57-runner field and Kendall Burmeister, another varsity newcomer, was 45th (29:38.35).

Davey Luplow and Gunther DeDamos turned in top-10 runs to lead the Maroon boys to their second-place trophy.

Escanaba placed five runners in the top 13 to win the title with 35 points. Menominee finished with 92 points.

"The boys' team is struggling with numbers and the loss of key runners, Aaron Maas, who is playing hockey in Milwaukee and Travis Champeau," said Merrill. "So we were pleasantly surprised when the boys pulled off a second-place run today."

Luplow took silver-medal honors with his time of 17:28.06. Eric Cousineau of Escanaba won the race in 17:25.01.

Luplow trimmed a minute, 20 seconds off last year's time.

DeDamos was sixth in 18:29.29, clipping 15 seconds off his time.

Adam Nolde earned a medal with his 17th-place finish in 19:38.05 followed by varsity newcomers Erik Pohlmann in 32nd place (22:02.46), Michael Melchoir in 35th place (22:12.96) and Josh DeGayner 48th in the 61-runner field (23:44.93).

Varsity letterwinner Cody Porath did not compete in the season opener.

"If we can close the gap between our top two and bottom half runners, there's no telling what the boys' team may do this year."

The Stephenson boys finished seventh with 167 points, led by Connor Cappaert's third-place time of 18:18.63.

Josiah Newlin was 33rd (22:07.73), Brandon Kau 40th (22:38.58), Mark Cappaert 44th (22:39.09) and Josh Thoney rounded out the Eagles' top five with his 47th-place finish (23:39.09). Ian Menke was 49th (23:54.47).

Caitlyn Havelka led the Stephenson girls with her 20th-place finish in 25:22.44 and Brooke Parrett was 25th in 25:39.82. Sydnee Engel placed 38th (28:15.96), Rachel Starzynski was 42nd (29:01.04) and Katie Marks was 44th (29:26.89).

The Stephenson girls tied for sixth in the 12-team meet with 169 points.

Girls' team scores: Menominee 39, Escanaba 49, Munising 74, Kingsford 137, Westwood 148, Stephenson 169, Manistique 169, Rudyard 210, Superior Central 220, Ishpeming 227, Gwinn 283, North Central 284

MENOMINEE - 1. Kameron Burmeister, 20:17.8; 4. Lilly Johnson, 22:15.50, 9. Paige Reiswitz, 24:01.34; 12. Anah Schloegel, 24:25.91; 13. Paiton Plutchak, 24:31.48

STEPHENSON - 20. Caitlyn Havelka, 25:22.44; 25. Brooke Parrett, 25:39.82; 38. Sydnee Engel, 28:15.96; 42. Rachel Starzynski, 29:01.04; 44. Katie Marks, 29:26.89

Boys' team scores: Escanaba 35, Menominee 92, Munising 124, Ishpeming 139, North Central 152, Kingsford 154, Stephenson 167, Gwinn 187, Westwood 189, Superior Central 191, Manistique 240, Rudyard 304

MENOMINEE - 2. Davey Luplow, 17:28.06; 5. Gunther DeDamos, 18:29.29; 17. Adam Nolde, 19:38.05; 32. Erik Pohlmann, 22:02.46; 35. Michael Melchoir, 22:12.96; 48. Josh DeGayner, 23:44.93

STEPHENSON - 3. Connor Cappaert, 18:18.63; 33. Josiah Newlin, 22:07.73; 40. Brandon Kau, 22:38.58; 44. Mark Cappaert, 23:17.18; 47. Josh Thoney, 23:39.09; 49. Ian Menke, 23:54.57