Members of the Menominee track and field teams get their running in while practicing indoors for Tuesday’s Superior Dome Division 1 meet. EagleHerald/Tom Kaeser
Members of the Menominee track and field teams get their running in while practicing indoors for Tuesday’s Superior Dome Division 1 meet. EagleHerald/Tom Kaeser
MENOMINEE - The Menominee girls' track and field team is ready to lay down some fresh heat on the track as soon as winter releases its icy grip on the spring season.

The season opens Tuesday when Menominee competes in the Superior Dome Division 1 meet.

With an infusion of 12 freshmen, the Maroons have 28 athletes. Chelsea Comyne, Courtney Conery and Autumn McClure are the only seniors on the squad.

The Maroons return their quartet of junior U.P. medal speed demons.

Jane Enderby claimed the Great Northern Conference gold medal in the 100, finished second by just .01 of a second to Kingsford's Carlee Benzie in the 200 and teamed with Allia Stewart, Lexi Christian and Conery to win the league titles in the 800 and 400 relays. The same foursome holds the school record in the 800 relay, which they set as freshmen.

Kennedy McDonnell placed second in the 400 at the GNC meet and Conery was third in the 200.

The Maroons also return Kameron Burmeister, McClure and McDonnell to the 3,200 relay team which placed second at GNC meet and McClure was second in the 3,200.

The Maroons placed fourth at the U.P. Finals with Marquette winning the title, Menominee was the second-best GNC team at the Finals.

The 800 and 400 relay teams encored their GNC gold medal work at the U.P. Finals.

"All of those girls are driven," said Scott Melchoir, who is in his 27th season as coach of the Maroons. "They're still young and I believe they're still hungry. They want to break their record again this year."

Stewart earned a fourth-place medal in the 100 at the U.P. Finals and Enderby added a fifth-place medals in the 200 and 100.

Conery, McDonnell and Burmeister return to the 1,600 relay team which placed third at the U.P. Finals, and McClure, Burmeister ran on the 3,200 relay team which placed fifth at the Finals. McDonnell finished up her strong season with a third-place run in the 3,200 Finals.

Sophomore cross country standouts Rebekah Wickman and Lilly Johnson will be strong in the distance events.

Comyne, who is in her fourth year on the varsity, was a U.P. Finals qualifier in the shot put last season.

"It's nice to have someone like Chelsea to count on," said Melchoir.

Freshmen Sophie Sartorelli and Paiton Plutchak are looking promising in the hurdles and junior Iris Parrish and Sartorelli will compete in the pole vault, and sophomore Brooke Janquart is also training for the event.

Melchoir noted that Parrish's strong upper body is ideal for a pole vaulter.

"She's extremely strong compared to her body weight," the coach explained.

Junior Amanda Pedersen and freshman Paige Barrette will compete in the high jump and Melchoir would like to work the two athletes in some sprint events.

"Amanda is an awesome athlete and she's getting stronger," he noted. "Paige is a machine and just a great kid."

Other members of the team are sophomores, Samantha Geib, Madison McDonnell, Hollie Tieman and Tristin Tiesling, and freshmen Madison Conery, Morgan Conery, Whitney Makowski, Summer Polaski, Breanna Retlick, Anah Schloegel, Kayla Standridge, Kristina Tetzlaff and Tasa Walcher.

"We have a great freshman group," said Melchoir. "They're really going to help us. We're looking forward to the season. It's going to be a fun year."

Scott Carhoun returns as the assistant coach.
EagleHerald assistant sports editor

MENOMINEE - There are holes to fill on the Menominee boys' track and field team but a strong veteran corps and a promising sophomore class should keep the Maroons on track for a stellar season.

The Maroons are coming off a fourth-place finish at the Division 1 U.P. Finals, just two points behind third place Manistique.

Menominee will have to offset the graduation of sprinter Jared Theisen, long jumper and relay sprinter Bobby Olsen, sprint relay runner Elijah Mojzych and high jumper Zach Budzynski, who is sidelined with a knee injury.

"I think we'll be pretty good," said coach Greg Langlois. "I don't think the competition is going to be as awesome as it has been."

The Maroon sprint relay corps will also be without assistant coach Dave Anderson, who decided to step away from the program. Drew Buyarski takes over as coach of the sprinters.

Leonard Briggs and Shaun Sullivan return to the 800 relay team which won the U.P. gold medal last year, while Bryan Hines and Sullivan are back for the gold medal 400 relay squad.

Austin Vorachek is a strong candidate for the sprint relays.

"We're still searching," Langlois said of the openings in the sprint relays. "Hopefully, Drew will coach them up and get them going. I think we'll be able to put together good sprint relays again."

Briggs and Sullivan will lead the Maroons in the sprints and sophomore Aeron Forsberg and freshman Bryce Ranta bring a fresh jolt of speed to the team.

Hines will be a big point-producer in the hurdles after taking third in the 110 and 300 hurdles at the U.P. Finals in his junior year. Senior Tyler Harmon is also poised for a solid year in the hurdles.

Sophomore Justin Brilinski will be the top long jumper and he may also see action in the relays.

The talent from the Maroon cross country team provides a deep distance crew. Davey Luplow, Travis Champeau, Gunther DeDamos and Cody Porath provide plenty of distance talent.

Forsberg is the leading prospect so far in the pole vault and sophomore Michael Melchoir is also training in the event.

"It's tough being stuck inside," Langlois explained. "We can't do the pole vault so nobody's interested."

Junior Travis Pursley and sophomore Cody Peterson are the top throwers and freshman Darek Powell will also see some action.

Pursley had his knee scoped recently, so his progress has been slowed.

"Travis and Cody are looking pretty good," said Langlois. "Darek is still pretty green."

Eleven sophomores will provide much-needed depth on the 29-athlete team. Eight seniors will provide the leadership, and there are just five juniors and five freshmen on the team.

"The sophomore group is a pretty good group," said Langlois.

Other team members are senior Jared Tappen, juniors James Brown and Karl Schloegel, sophomores Colin Derouin, Chase LaCombe, Mark Pulver and Simon Spegal and freshmen Mitchell Boucher, Justin Kaster and Conar Smith.

The Maroons open their season Tuesday at the Superior Dome.