Tomahawk’s top two runners have lit up their courses all year long, but for completely different reasons both junior Rachel Sudbury and freshman Bryan Tomek struggled in Saturday’s WIAA State Cross Country Meet in Wis. Rapids.
“It was tough to watch our athletes struggle for the first time this year, but we are sure that both will use this to motivate and drive them in making a return trip next year,” THS coach John Zuelsdorf said.
Sudbury was competing for the third time at the state venue, and she had ranked 17th in 2008 and 7th in 2009. But she dropped off to 48th place in 16:10.03 this year, after suffering through gastro problems. Lakeland’s Delaney FitzPatrick, who nipped Sudbury at the wire at sectional, placed 7th in 15:15.
“Early in Rachel’s race it appeared to the coaching staff that she was having some sort of trouble,” Zuelsdorf said. “We didn’t find out ’til after the race that she had stomach issues and they got worse as the race progressed. After three years she has developed a pre-race routine that she monitors closely including what she eats, and we are pretty sure that wasn’t the culprit. Pre-race she was focused, relaxed, and ready to go. Sometimes things just happen that seem unavoidable and out of your control. It’s just unfortunate for Rachel that it happened at a race that was so important to her and that she had set high realistic goals for.
“Rachel is well-schooled in her approach to running and competition. She’ll bounce back with a purpose and new meaning to her running. I’m sure that she is already planning her off-season in preparation for the oval in the spring.”
Tomek ended up 99th in 18:04.70, after clashing with other runners early in the event.
“Bryan, no fault of his own, got tangled up avoiding another fallen athlete early in the race, causing him to break his stride and stumble as well,” Zuelsdorf said. “Unfortunately, he never recovered from that and having to work thru traffic caused him to use up a lot of energy. It was an unfortunate thing, but part of racing. It’s just too bad that he wasn’t at 100% after that and able to showcase his talents.
“He’s already excited about rewriting the script next year and putting this one behind him. All in all, one can’t take away from his successful season and all that he has accomplished. No one else can say that they are the fastest freshman 5K runner in Hatchet history in the same sentence with #5 on the all-time list at any grade level. The experience he gained this weekend is something that no one can take away and he’ll be stronger from it down the road.”