MUNISING - Pre-meet individual favorite Lindsey Rudden of Marquette Senior High School was cruising along Saturday at the MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 1 girls cross country finals.
She had a comfortable lead at the two-mile mark on the Pictured Rocks Golf Club course in Munising and appeared headed toward a personal undefeated season.
Then disaster struck. Rudden's breathing became compromised and she was unable to finish the race.
Marquette assistant cross country coach Kyle Detmers tends to Redette runner Lindsey Rudden after the latter reportedly hyperventilated nearing the finish line Saturday in Division 1 action at the U.P. Cross Country Finals Saturday at the Pictured Rocks Golf Club in Munising. Rudden was unable to finish the race. (Journal photo by Craig Remsburg)
"She was up by 30 seconds with a half-mile to go," said MSHS assistant coach Kyle Detmers, filling in for head coach Dale Phillips as the latter faces hip surgery Monday. "Then, she hyperventilated. When I got to her, her face was white and her breathing was out of control."
Rudden laid on her back on the course for several minutes with Detmers beside her until she regained her health.
"I don't know if she got too excited, or what," Detmers said. "She's very disappointed. My heart goes out to her."
Tara Kiilunen of Calumet wound up taking the title - her fourth as a prep - in 19 minutes and 44.7 seconds. According to the MHSAA, it's the first time a U.P. girl has won four titles in her running career.
Calumet teammate Leah Kiilunen came in second at 19:50.0 and Kameron Burmeister of Menominee third in 19:53.3.
Without Rudden, the Redettes fell all the way to fourth place with 96 points. Calumet (41) and Escanaba (62) went 1-2, respectively.
"Calumet beat us all year," Detmers said, "but we always say, they hand out the trophies after the race and not before.
"I'm proud of the girls, though. They had a great season."
Calla Martysz and Nichole Mackey medaled for MSHS with Martysz placing fifth (20:20.9) and Mackey 15th (21:10.3).
Negaunee, behind seventh-place runner Wyleen Kniola (20:33.6), came in seventh.
"Wyleen had an incredible race. She rises to the occasion," Negaunee head coach Lisa Bigalk said. "I expected us to be about seventh (as a team)."
Division 2 saw L'Anse (112) finish fourth to top Superiorland schools in the meet. Newberry (50) and Ironwood (52) placed first and second, respectively.
Holly Blowers of Manistique (10th, 22:04.1), Gabrielle French of Westwood (12th, 22:11.1) and Allison Koskinen of L'Anse (15th, 22:59.0) medaled among local finishers.
In Division 3, Munising came in fourth with 89 points behind winner St. Ignace (40), Dollar Bay (74) and Rudyard (81).
Emily DesJardins was the lone Mustang to medal. She placed 10th in 22:16.4.
Sarah Cullip (19:36.0) and St. Ignace teammate Lillian Calcaterra (20:47.4) placed 1-2.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.