The Hatchet cross country teams may not be sending a complete squad to Saturday’s WIAA state meet on Saturday for the first time since 2000, but they are still building for the future with a pair of underclass individual qualifiers.
Junior Rachel Sudbury (14:59, the 2nd-best time in THS history) and freshman Bryan Tomek (16:59, the 5th-fastest THS time) both finished third overall in their races, as their teams rang up 124 points.
The girls tied Lakeland for third, while the boys placed fourth, 7 behind Oconto Falls. Notre Dame (75) and Wittenberg (97) reached state for girls, and boys teams Freedom (82) and Notre Dame (103) made it from the 17-team meet.
“In spite of the conditions, our athletes were focused and it showed in their overall times and efforts,” THS coach John Zuelsdorf said. “We had all but two athletes run P.R.’s or seasonal bests.
“When athletes run their very best, like nearly our whole team did, one can’t help but be pleased with their overall effort. It was just unfortunate that all of their team goals weren’t met. We told them before they ran that they needed to focus on controlling what they could do individually, we could not predict nor control the effort of other teams. The addition of Green Bay Notre Dame and Lakeland (as they dropped to D2) by the WIAA did change the competitiveness and make-up of our Sectional and affected the overall team results.”
Backing up Sudbury-who placed 17th, then 7th in her last two trips to state-were Stephanie Welke (32nd, 16:26 PR), Jessie Harmon (25th, 16:19 PR), Kelsey Renn (32nd, 16:26 PR) and Rachael Miller (43rd, 16:54 SB). Taylor Laack (56th, 17:15 SB) and Emily Miller (65th, 17:40) also competed.
Following Tomek were Dylan Dahl (27th, 17:29 PR), Brogan Lemke (33rd, 17:43 PR), Garrett Daigle (34th, 17:52 SB), Troy Salewske (35th, 17:54 PR), Ryan Kuehn (47th, 18:17 PR) and Connor Ahrens (58th, 18:43).
“Rachel’s sub-15 minute effort was incredible and something that she has worked hard for all season long,” Zuelsdorf said. “Her summer mileage, her consistency in training, and her dedication to the sport make her a special athlete in my book.
“Bryan had an outstanding race, getting out strong running in the lead pack for the duration of the race. He did experience a new level of pacing though as he came through the mile (5:03) and two mile (10:31) faster than ever before. His confidence continues to grow each race as he faces and meets new challenges. He has exceptional talent, which people around the running community in the state are really in a buzz about.”