The Menominee girls’ cross country team won the title at the Escanaba Invitational Saturday. The top five runners for the Maroons were, from left: Paige Reiswitz, Anah Schloegel, Kameron Burmeister, Rebekah Wickman and Lilly Johnson. Special to the EagleHerald
The Menominee girls’ cross country team won the title at the Escanaba Invitational Saturday. The top five runners for the Maroons were, from left: Paige Reiswitz, Anah Schloegel, Kameron Burmeister, Rebekah Wickman and Lilly Johnson. Special to the EagleHerald
ESCANABA, Mich. - Tiebreakers have been heartbreakers for the Menominee cross country teams the last two years.

Hooked up in a tight duel with Gladstone for the championship trophy, the Maroon girls' left past frustration in the dust at Ludington Park.

Sixth runner Paige Tickler finished six places ahead of the Braves' No. 6 runner to break a 52-52 knot for the team title at the Escanaba Invitational.

Menominee had lost five straight tiebreakers before Tickler's stretch run broke the string of tough losses.

"I told both Paige and Paiton Plutchak, who were running together with 800 meters to go that it would come down to a tiebreaker and they needed to go," coach Suzi Merrill said. "It was a sweet victory for Paige to pull off a win for her team."

It was a banner day on the shores of Green Bay for the Maroons. Led by Kameron Burmeister's first-place run, the girls claimed four top 15 medals.

The Maroon boys finished second to Escanaba with 70 points, The Eskymos finished with just 28 points.

Burmeister staged another runaway victory run for her sixth straight gold medal in a time of 19:23 in a strong wind, a whopping minute and a half ahead of the second-place finisher.

"I ran the race I planned but the wind was a little strong in the final mile," said Burmeister, who has yet to be challenged in her six races.

Paige Reiswitz and Anah Schloegel charged toward the finishing chute side-by-side with Reiswitz taking 10th (22:24) a fraction of a second ahead of Anah Schloegel.

Lilly Johnson added the fourth medal for the Maroons with her 14th-place clocking (22:41) and Rebekah Wickman turned in her strongest run of the season to finish 16th, just three seconds behind Johnson and one spot shy of a medal.

Tickler's had a title-clinching time of 23:50 for 22nd and Plutchak was 24th (24:12).

"It's a very difficult thing to take home a first-place trophy at Escanaba and this only the second time since I've been coaching that we've accomplished it," Merrill said. "Way to go, girls."

Davey Luplow ran with the lead trio in the boys' race. After giving Eric Cousineau of Escanaba an encouraging pat on the back, Luplow passed the Esky runner 400 meters from the finish line.

Cousineau got his second wind and passed Luplow for the win while Luplow took third in 17:14.

"In the end it's character that counts," Merrill said of Luplow's show of sportsmanship toward Cousineau.

Gunther DeDamos paced himself off the three lead runners and raced to a fourth-place medal in 17:32.

"Gunther looked focused today, keeping the frontrunners in sight and pacing to an outstanding finish," Merrill said.

Adam Nolde stayed strong until the finishing chute to add the third Maroon medal with his 15th-place time (19:59).

Michael Melchoir was 21st (20:38) and Josh DeGayner was 27th (21:25) to round out the boys' top five. Erik Pohlmann was 28th (21:27) and Jack Hendricks 35th (22:23).

Cody Porath battled through a head cold to win the junior varsity race. His time of 19:24 would have earned him a varsity medal.

"The boys had a fantastic day," said Merrill. "The boys have been a fun group to work with."

Kayla Standridge led the Maroons' junior varsity girls with her fourth-place time of 24:57.

Girls' team scores: Menominee 52, Gladstone 52, Escanaba 56, Ironwood 111, Norway 111, Manistique 191, Gwinn 165
MENOMINEE - 1. Kameron Burmeister, 19:23, 10. Paige Reiswitz, 22:24, 11. Anah Schloegel, 22:24, 14. Lilly Johnson, 22:41, 16. Rebekah Wickman, 22:44, 22. Paige Tickler, 23:50, 24. Paiton Plutchak, 24:12
Junior varsity girls: 4. Kayla Standridge, 24:57, 8. Kendall Burmeister, 25:38, 20. Mallory VanDeHey, 30:57

Boys' team scores: Escanaba 28, Menominee 70, Gwinn 89, Ironwood 92, Gladstone 121, Norway 145, Manistique 191
MENOMINEE - 3. Davey Luplow, 17:14, 4. Gunther DeDamos, 17:32, 15. Adam Nolde, 19:59, 21. Michael Melchoir, 20:38, 27. Josh DeGayner, 21:12, 28. Erik Pohlmann, 21:27, 35. Jack Hendricks, 22:23
Junior varsity boys: 1. Cody Porath, 19:24, 2. Nathan Racsak, 23:07, 30. Austin Perry, 24:01, 31. Zach Bowers, 24:04.