The Superior Central Cougars performed well at the MHSAA Division 3 Regional meet in Rapid River on Wednesday, May 17, with most of the small team qualifying for the U.P. finals.
“I thought we did really well. We set the bar high, the expectations high,” SC Head Coach Joshua Trader said. “I’m happy and proud of the kids and they feel the same way.”
Every girl athlete advanced to the state finals on the roster in either an individual event or relay. The squad’s two female seniors Riley Moore and Maddie Begovac won events to lead the squad. Moore specialized in field events, winning shot put and long jump while Begovac won the 300 hurdles, finished second in long jump and was part of the 4×400 team who was winning before the anchor leg fell down on the final stretch.
All but two boys qualified, giving the Cougars one of its largest U.P. finals qualifying rosters in a decade. Lucas Swetich scored the most individual points for SC, winning the 100 and 200 dashes and finishing second in 110 hurdles and long jump.
Trader said that the largest improvement came not from scoring, but from improvement from previous meets.
“It just goes to show that the kids are working hard and what the coaches are trying to say. On the way here, we challenged the kids to run their best and hit PRs and they did,” Trader said. “We’re not talking by split seconds, we’re talking about people cutting ten seconds off a mile, a few seconds off a 200, that’s really big in track.”
Superior Central competed at the first and the smallest of the four regionals in terms of teams present and enrollment size for the MHSAA Division 3 U.P. Finals. While some other regionals have eight or nine schools, Regional 46 only had seven. Average enrollment of those seven schools were 63 kids. Munising’s Regional on Friday averages almost 102 kids, despite having both Paradise and Mackinac Island competing. Regional 47 competed Thursday with schools from the Western U.P. and Keweenaw Peninsula had nine schools averaging 93.8 enrollment and Regional 48 competes today with seven schools closer to the Wisconsin border and averaging 111.7 enrollment.
While the smaller regional may be a benefit in advancing to the next round, Superior Central still needs to continue improving to make a difference against the next round of competitors. Trader said the team is excited about the challenge.
“It gets them excited, it gets me excited and we got two weeks to prepare for finals. I feel like we’re just getting to the peak and that’s what the finals is: the peak,” Trader said.