Anne Somerville Besanceney

Anne Somerville BesanceneyImages courtesy of Anne (Somerville) BesanceneyAnne (Somerville) Besanceney was an all-around great athlete, but she excelled in running. She gradu­ated from Luther L. Wright High School in Ironwood with 12 varsity letters total, including letters from basketball, volleyball, track, and cross country. She was part of seven Upper Peninsula Champion Red Devils’ teams—four in track, two in cross country and one in volleyball. Her senior year (1998) was the fifth consecutive year that the Red Devils Girls track team won the Class C U.P. title. During this competi­tion, Besanceney won the 800-meter run, 1600-meter run and helped win two relays. She still holds the Class C record for the 800 meter run, 2:21.27. At one time, Besanceney held six Red Devil Girls Track re­cords. In both 1997 and 1998, Besanceney was named both Runner of the Year at the Dennis Simpson Track and Field Meet in Superior, Wisconsin, and Most Valuable Player for track by the West Pac Conference.

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Becky Drake Cecconi

Becky Drake CecconiBecky (Drake) Cecconi was a very successful athlete in two sports while she attended Kingsford High School, gymnastics and track and field. In high school, she was named one of the area’s best track and field athletes among other competitors from Kingsford, Florence, West Iron County, Niagara, Norway, Iron Mountain and Forest Park High Schools. She was named best athlete in the 100 yard dash (11.65 sec­onds), 440 yard dash (61.3 seconds), and the high jump (5 feet 3 inches). In 1977, the Mining Journal ques­tioned whether she was “untouchable” when she made an 18 foot, three inch long jump at the U.P Finals (still a U.P record). During her senior year at the 1979 U.P. Finals in Marquette, under Coach Marilyn Phil­lips, the Kingsford Girls Track and Field Team took first place with 59 points, beating out seven other teams. In total, the Kingsford girls won six firsts and Cecconi won three of those: the 100 meter dash (12.7 seconds), the 400 meter dash (1:00.3) and the long jump (5.31 meters). She also placed second in the high jump (149 meters). Cecconi finished her high school track career at the Great Northern Conference Track Championships in Escanaba. The Kingsford Girls took second place overall, but Cecconi won four events and broke three Great Northern Conference re­cords.

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Christy Salonen Provost

Christy Salonen ProvostYou could say she was a natural. Growing up on the slopes of Ski Brule, Christy (Salonen) Provost was picked out by a local ski instructor for free private lessons. That early training helped her develop into the greatest champion in Michigan high school skiing. Skiing for West Iron County High School, Provost won the State Championship in Giant Slalom all four years, the slalom her senior year, and she qualified for the U.S. Nationals in her junior and senior years. Pro­vost was a member of the Central Division (USSA) Junior Olympic Ski team from 1992-96 (she also con­tinued to be a member through her first three years of college at NMU).

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Dave Besonen

Dave BesonenImage Courtesy of Dave BesonenCalled by some "the greatest Panther ever," Dave Besonen had a stellar career as the point guard for Ewen Trout Creek from 1979-1982. A dead-eye marksman from the field, he averaged an amazing 31.5 points a game in his senior season with a field goal percentage of 58%. He was also an incredible ball handler, passer and defensive specialist. In 1982, he led the Panthers to the State Final, only to be beaten by Covert in the highest scoring final game in history, 110-94. Besonen scored 38 points, which is the 9th highest tally by a player in a final game. Dave would go on to play basketball for the Michigan Tech Huskies.

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Dom Jacobetti Jr.

Dom JacobettiStill the holder of the U.P. record for career points in boys basketball (2,140 ), Dominic Jacobetti Jr. was a four-year standout at Negaunee St. Paul.

A starter his entire career, Jacobetti was named all­conference four years in a row, All-UP three years in a row and All-State three years in a row. While play­ing for St. Paul, he helped lead the team to three dis­trict titles, two U.P. titles and in 1963, to the Class D State Final game, where they lost to Britton-Macon, 59-58. In 1965, his team lost to Pickford in the State Quarterfinal, but after the game a reporter came up to Jacobetti to tell him that he had broken the U.P. scoring record. He had no idea that he was even in the running.

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Payment Raised the Bar

John PaymentJohn Payment stands on the 1st place podium after winning the U.P. Class D Finals High Jump competi­tion at Marquette Senior High School, May 1989.By Linda Bouvet & Rob Roos Sault Evening News

Seven feet, one inch.

It's a number that stands out in Upper Peninsula sports his­tory, and it has now been 23 years since John Payment set a state record in the high jump. Payment remembers the spring of 1989, during which he set the state record by clear­ing 7 feet, 1 inch at the Upper Peninsula State Finals Mar­quette High School, like it was yesterday.

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