SAULT STE. MARIE — Northern Michigan's spring sports season is right on track with past years.
With that, most springs sports teams have been off track, literally and figuratively.
For area track and field programs, however, the solution so far for some has been to take advantage of indoor event opportunities.
Over the weekend, a host of local track and field teams hit another collegiate hosted event, with Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie hosting the Yooper Invitational inside.
Charlevoix, Boyne City, Inland Lakes, Cheboygan and others from throughout Northern Michigan took part.
For Charlevoix boys coach Nick Barnum, just getting his kids some action this early in the season was big.
"With Northern Michigan weather like it is, it was super exciting to get the kids on the track competing again,” said Barnum. “Starting the official season with an indoor meet is a new experience for us, but a good one"
Within the large school division, Charlevoix’s boys trailed only Alpena in the race. Alpena was the winner on both sides, while the Inland Lakes girls also placed third.
The day came with solid finishes all around for the Charlevoix and Boyne City teams, along with a few firsts for the Bulldogs as well.
Boyne City’s Phillip Banner placed second in both the 55 meter run (7.03 seconds) and 200 meter dash (24.83), with Charlevoix’s John Sauer also taking third in the 200 (25.03) and teammate Scott Bush placing fourth (25.57).
Charlevoix freshman Logan Wadkins also placed fourth in the 55 meter run (7.16).
In the 400 meter dash, Charlevoix’s Benjen Sheaffer placed second (58.03) and Landon Swanson took third (1:00.79), then Rayder senior Sam Peterson led the 800 meter run (1:59.71), besting the competition by over 15 seconds.
Boyne City's Tyler Lochman also had a strong finish in the 800, placing seventh (2:30.21) in a tight race.
Dominic Schwein of Charlevoix also took second in the 1600 (4:58.45) and Charlevoix’s Peyton Scott was third in the 55 meter hurdles (10.24).
In relays, Charlevoix’s 4x400 meter team of Sauer, Peterson, Thomas Arnold and Scott Bush also earned a first place finish (3:47.12).
In a limited option of field events indoors, a pair of Inland Lakes athletes stood out within the long jump, with Sam Schoonmaker placing first (5-foot, 8-inches) and Noah Shugar placing second (5’6”)
On the girls side of the invite, Charlevoix girls coach Mike Bush was equally proud of his team, and like Barnum, just happy to see them compete.
"The kids did exactly what we wanted them to do: be competitive and have fun,” said Bush.
Starting off in the sprints, Inland Lakes’ Olivia Monthei earned a first place finish within the 55 meter dash (8.23), then Boyne City’s Ava Maginity placed first in the 200 meter dash (30.01).
Charlevoix’s Abbey Wright and Alexandra Baron were also just off the podium in fourth (30.50) and fifth (30.71), respectfully.
Mackinaw City junior Larissa Huffman, who competes with the Inland Lakes track team, then won the 400 meter dash with over a five second advantage (1:05.64).
Charlevoix's Dana Brown was also a fifth place finisher in the 55 meter hurdles (11.63), her first hurdle race of her high school career.
In distance, Charlevoix’s Katie Rohrer placed second overall (2:44.56) and Maginity was a second place finisher in the 1600 (5:53.97). Alpena’s Madi Szymanski won both events.
Maginity's first and second place finishes impressed Boyne City coach Andy Place, though Place thought his whole team showed up for the meet.
"This meet was a great experience for the whole team," said Place. "We have girls improving and showing their toughness. Ava's 200 was super impressive, as she was trailing the other five girls in her heat until the final corner where she out-sprinted them to win."
No area relay squad earned a first, though Inland Lakes’ group of Lauren Fenstermaker, Monthei, Lannah Engler and Huffman came within a second of first in the 4x400 relay (4:45.12).
Charlevoix’s 4x400 relay group of Wright, Kate Wood, Rohrer and Baron also turned in a strong time (4:49.26) to place third.
Boyne City’s Grace Dawson then won the high jump for a second straight meet to open the season (4-feet, 10-inches), while Huffman placed second (4’8”) and Boyne City’s Keni Ciesielski tied for third (4’6”).
Charlevoix and a host of other area track and field teams will hope to next begin the 2022 outdoor season with the annual Harbor Springs Ram Scram on Friday, April 15.
Contact Sports Editor Drew Kochanny at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @DrewKochanny, and Instagram, @drewkochanny
This article originally appeared on The Petoskey News-Review: Charlevoix track gets season started at indoor Yooper Invitational