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Amelia Kashian
Amelia Kashian
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Being passionate is one of the best parts of being human, and I am glad that writing has helped me recognize that. I have been writing stories since I was a little girl, and over...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Opinion — Its okay to outgrow your college friends
Opinion — It's okay to outgrow your college friends
Megan PoeApril 12, 2024

Wildcat cross country grabs second place at the Upper Peninsula Championships

The Wildcats start strong in the U.P. Championships, distancing themselves from other runners from Michigan Tech, Lake Superior State, Finlandia and Gogebic Community College. // Justin Key/NW

The U.P. Championships were held last Friday, Oct. 22 at Chocolay Downs, NMU’s golf course. Five Upper Peninsula colleges and universities competed in the two races: a 6K for women and an 8K for men. Four males and I were able to run as unattached runners.

An unattached runner in a race is a runner without a team. In standard cross country meets, five runners is the minimum to have a team, though seven is the norm. As runners end the race, their place gets turned into points (second place gets two points, 32nd place gets 32 points). Those points from the top five runners on each team are totaled and the lowest score wins. In case of a tie, the sixth runners for the tied teams will be used as the tiebreaker. The seventh runner is used as an emergency runner, in case one of the usual top six athletes has a bad time or does not finish. Unattached runners do not have a team and do not get factored into scores.

The women went first, as Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan turned the race into a two-team dogfight. After two laps of the three-lap affair, the race was tight between Tech and Northern, with Tech’s Deedra Irwin having a two-step lead over NMU’s Christina Turman for first place and a litter of Huskies and Wildcats fighting for spots in the top 10. Turman had some pacing issues early in the race and it was hurting her performance, as her feet were dragging a little bit in the longer grasses of the rough near the start/finish line. Down the fairway and around the first turn, Irwin was able to get an eight-second lead on Turman. Despite cutting the gap down to six seconds and running her career best for 6K, Turman couldn’t prevent Irwin from claiming the individual title.

Michigan Tech’s Deedra Irwin and NMU runners Christina Turman (center) and Kristin Schulz lead the U.P. Championships in the second lap. Irwin went on to win the individual title, while Turman took second and Schulz finished 11th. // Justin Key/NW

The team also fell just short of the team title, as Michigan Tech edged out the Wildcats 23-33. Scoring for NMU were Turman, Rita Woitas, Mandy Dye, Helen Soderman and Kristin Schulz. Missing for the ’Cats was Nora Kiilunen. Kiilunen was out of town for a family event.

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“Kiilunen has been the third to fifth runner all season,” said head coach Jenny Ryan. “We had a couple girls not run their best races as we started a little fast. We’ve also gone pretty hard (in practice) the last couple of weeks so we can peak at the GLIAC conference meet and (the NCAA) regionals.”

Michigan Tech also won the men’s race, as they defeated Lake Superior State 22-33. The race was a lot closer than the women’s, as multiple packs of competitors were all jockeying for position. I quickly found myself in the last pack after the first    hill, as the course was primarily flat for the first half of each lap, but at the halfway point, the rolling hills started to become more present and had more of an effect on my legs. After the first lap, I was still in sight of the last pack, along with two guys from Gogebic Community College and one from Lake State. After hitting the 3K mark, I felt this huge burning sensation just above my knees that destroyed my stride and consequentially my time. I was lapped at the 5K mark and stopped just one kilometer later due to – what I found out after the race – quadricep tendonitis.

Even though I was out of shape and out of practice, I ran the race because it was the last time I could run the U.P. Championships before graduating in May. This year was considerably worse than my middle-of-the-pack finish in 2007, but the burning in my quads wasn’t anywhere close to the pride and happiness I felt as I ran along the course.

The U.P. Championships was also the last race in the Upper Peninsula for Turman and varsity runner Kristin Schulz.

“It really hasn’t hit me yet that this was my last home meet,” Schulz said. “It will mean a lot more to me after (GLIAC) conference (championships) and regionals.”

The women’s cross country team will now be preparing for the GLIAC Championships and will have a tough road ahead of them, as four teams in the conference are ranked in the national top 25.

“We want to finish in the top five,” Ryan said. “On a good day we could finish as high as third, but on a bad day we could be eighth or ninth.”

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