SHAWANO, Wis.—The Marinette cross country team, along with squads from Peshtigo and Gillett, were among the 22 schools competing in the Shawano Hawk Invitational on Saturday.
Competing on 9/11 hits home for Marinette High School cross country coaches Steve and Jennifer Campbell. Steve serves the community as a firefighter in Marinette and he took the opportunity to ensure that the students in his care remember what happened 20 years ago.
“Two years in a row now we have had a meat on 9/11,” Campbell said, “and all of the kids on our team weren’t even alive during the tragic event. Being a firefighter for the City of Marinette, my main objective is to make sure nobody forgets, and we remember the sacrifice and heroism of that day.
“Before the meet we talk about the event and what the first responders went through, what they did, and we take a black permanent marker and write 343 on our arms to honor the 343 fallen firefighters that day. Whenever our kids feel defeated or they want to give up or give in, or slow down and listen to that voice in their head they always have that reminder when they look down and see the 343.”
The Marines were in need of some extra effort from both squads as they were short three girls and one boy.
“We were shorthanded, but we showed a lot of heart out there and had a lot of kids step up in a big way,” Jennifer Campbell said. “You can’t ask for more as a coach.”
For the girls, senior Ava Dahlman led the Marines in a time of 23:08 to place 48th overall in a crowded field of 125 athletes and 20th amongst the Division 2 competitors.
Freshman Addison Lacy was right on Dahlman’s heals with a personal record 28:18, good for 24th in Division 2. Senior Molly Knutson ran 23:45 to finish 29th. Junior Karissa Valitchka set a PR at 26:23 to finish 49th and junior Makenzie Hebert ran 28:12 to place 56th in Division 2.
With 353 points, the Marines were 13th overall and sixth in the Division 2 field.
“The course is flat, but there are a lot of turns and that slows you down, but I’m impressed with the ladies stepping up as they know they can.”
Peshtigo’s Holly Pesch (21:18) and Sydney Lund (21:41) notched top-20 finishes. Pesch placed 12th overall while Lund crossed the line 18th. Arikka Carroll ran 26:13 and Alaina Archamboult ran 28:11 for the Bulldogs.
Gillett placed just ahead of Marinette at 268 points led by a 21:28 from Carleigh Kaczmarek that was good for 15th overall. Angela Mosconi (22:54), Kasey Hansen (24:09), Cheyenne Krueger (24:25), Laney Debauch (25:00), Alaina Herzog (25:07) and Amber Brehmer (26:52) also represented the Tigers.
For the boys, the Marines fielded only four athletes. However, three of them set personal records.
David Jazowski led the team with a time of 19:03 to place 54th out of 139 athletes and 23rd in Division 2. Jackson Draheim, Dillon Hebert and Isaiah Beaudo all set personal records on the day. Draheim placed 45th in the Division 2 field with a time of 20:42 while Hebert ran 22:53 and Beaudo crossed the line in 25:27.
The Gillett Tigers had a strong showing, placing 10th of 17 teams overall and first among Division 3 teams. Alex Peterson finished fifth with a time of 16:39 while Even Peterson was 13th at 17:29 and Conner Hanson was 39th in a time of 18:26.
Peshtigo’s Andrew Nelson and Logan Smith placed 31st and 32nd respectively. Nelson ran a time of 18:03 with Smith just two seconds behind. Cole Grabian ran 21:53 to round out the Bulldog contingent.
Marinette should be back at full strength at their upcoming home meet. “We are really looking for our girls to place strongly and compete for a win at our home meet. We’ve just got to keep everyone healthy and working hard,” Jennifer Campbell said.
The Marinette High School Invitational is scheduled for a 9 a.m. start on Saturday.