MANISTIQUE - There may be fewer schools entered this time, but there will still be plenty of competition Wednesday in the Third Annual Manistique Invitational cross country meet.
Marquette and Gwinn are expected to join the Emeralds in a meet to be held at the Environmental Education Lab east of Manistique.
The meet begins at 4 p.m. with the jayvee race, followed by the girls' varsity, boys' varsity and junior high events. High school races are 3.1 miles. Junior high runners go approximately 1.8 miles.
The Marquette girls are fresh from dominating last week's Kingsford Invitational, placing seven among the top nine at Iron Mountain City Park.
"Their girls support each other so well on the course and they're very well coached," Manistique coach Laurie Lindstrom said of the Redettes. "They have a strong tradition."
What makes the Redettes even more scary is they ran last week without their top runner, sophomore Lindsey Rudden, who was ill and didn't make the trip to Iron Mountain. She is expected to be ready on Wednesday.
Freshman teammate Amber Huebner won the hilly 3.1-mile race in 20 minutes, 37 seconds.
Manistique sophomore Holly Blowers, who won this meet a year ago, will try to bounce back after becoming ill and passing out with slightly more than a half-mile remaining in Saturday's Newberry Invitational. She opened this season by placing third in the Munising Invitational on the Valley Spur Cross Country Ski Trials.
"We hoping to see five runners show up for the girls," said Lindstrom. "Holly has been looking strong, only she wasn't feeling well on Saturday. Overall, the kids have shown improvement."
The Marquette boys were runners-up to Escanaba at Iron Mountain. The Redmen also ran without their leader, senior Cole Riebolt, who was playing in a prep soccer match.
Sophomore teammate Lance Rambo, however, helped pick up the slack by winning in 17:49.
This year's post-race awards ceremony will feature a change from the traditional medals. The top three finishers will receive homemade honey, with the next 12 receiving Keweenaw jam.