The Calumet High girls and Houghton boys cross country teams narrowly took firsts at the Hancock Invite Thursday afternoon. But on a warm and balmy afternoon at McLain State Park, it was Shitaye Sam of Chassell who stole the show in the girls meet. Sam, a senior, edged out Calumet’s strong runner Leah Kiilunen by posting a time of 20.20.
“It was one of Shitaye’s best efforts,” Panthers coach Marco Guidotti said. “She ran a real strong race and that was her best time of the season.”
Calumet coach Arnie Kinnunen said Kiilunen had defeated Sam in two previous races this fall.
“She (Kiilunen) had finished first twice before this one, but she strained a calf muscle playing Powder Puff football this week,” Kinnunen commented. “But I know she wouldn’t use that as an excuse because the Chassell girl ran a very good race.”
Guidotti said that Sam works hard at cross country.
“She takes it seriously …. and she’s a hard worker,” he said. “I was happy to see her win today.”
Calumet’s girls totaled 60 points, just one better than Ishpeming, Chassell was third and Houghton came in fourth. Calumet also got a third place from Alexa Anderson and a 9th from Jessica Berryman. Lela Rautiola of Chassell came in fourth while Anabel Needham of Houghton placed fifth. Cami Daavettila posted an eighth for Dollar Bay.
On the boys side, Houghton was able to outlast Ishpeming by five points, posting 62 points, Chassell was third and Calumet was fourth. Houghton’s first-place showing was paced by Jeff Helman with a fourth. No other Gremlin runners were in the top ten, but four, Finn Storer, Matt Chard, Jacob Belmas and Leif Odegard, placed in the top 20. Ishpeming’s Spencer Giroux took first place with a time of 16:58. Chassell’s third place was led by Abe Gockenbach. Calumet was led by Mitchell DeLong’s second place and Ryan Nelson’s sixth. Dollar Bay received a seventh place from Jacob Facono and an eighth from Brendan LeClaire.
Local teams will be at the Calumet Invite Monday at the Swedetown Ski Hill.