THS girls first
The Hatchet cross country teams overcame daunting conditions in their first meet of the year in Thursday’s 14-team Ashland Invite. The girls brought home the title for the second time in the past four years, while Bryan Tomek won the boys race to help Tomahawk rank a solid fourth.
“A torrential pre-race rain served up a wet and muddy course for the teams, and slowed the times for the athletes,” THS coach John Zuelsdorf said. “The conditions were challenging, especially the footing with the unusual amount of water on the course. The predominantly clay base made for some slippery conditions. We were fortunate not to have many of our athletes in critical positions fall and lose position during their races.
“Superior won the meet the previous two years and had a squad that nearly doubled ours in size. So for the girls to break thru to the podium was a huge accomplishment and something they can take pride in this early season. Much of the credit has to do with their summer mileage, agility camp, and their focus in practice these past two weeks. Dani and Alex ran super races in the lead group of athletes.
“At the two mile we were tied 64-64 with Superior and our athletes in the 3-4-5-6 positions (Larson, Jones, Kuehn, and Gass) really finished strong and came through for us.”
The lady Hatchets placed two in the top ten as medalists, with sophomore Dani Whiting (3rd, 17:07) and junior Alex Zedler (6th, 17:43) leading the way. A pack of Hatchet juniors led by Emmy Larson (12th, 18:26), Talyn Jones (16th, 18:45), Claire Kuehn (26th, 19:11), and Kayla Gass (27th, 19:15) completed the scoring for Tomahawk. Other finishers for the lady Hatchets were: Kaitlyn Gaedtke (55th, 20:38), freshman Rylie Swan (57th, 21:22), Alex Bellile (60th, 21:26), freshman Kate Krueger (75th, 22:15), Adrianna Schultz (88th, 23:12), Morgan Webster (91st, 23:26), and Tiffany Knight (93rd, 23:39).
“Dani is running with a lot of tenacity and confidence,” Zuelsdorf said.
Tomek cruised to the tape in a time of 17:51 over the 5100 meter course, leading Troy VanStrydonk (18th, 20:27), Austin Kaiser (27th, 20:49), Jacob McGuire (28th, 20:49), and Tyler Wittmann (37th, 21:17). Other Hatchet finishers: freshman Kyle Klopatek (39th, 21:25), Jared Kiander (48th, 22:03), Dakota Tomek (49th, 22:04), freshman Eric Zedler (53rd, 22:20), Jakob Panzer (56th, 22:37), Jared Jarvensivu (57th, 22:39), Lucas Tjugum (59th, 22:48), Alex Johnson (62nd, 22:55), Justin Jarvensivu (66th, 23:12), Chandler Tollison (69th, 23:21), Josh Wick (74th, 23:38), Brett Gerber (83rd, 24:10), Chris VanStrydonk (96th, 25:22), Dillon Kouba (97th, 25:22), Aslan Thinkohkaew (112th, 28:20), and Kyle Theiler (117th, 29:36).
“Chequamegon is one of the early-season favorites to take the boys (state) D3 crown and we knew going in that they would be hard to upend,” Zuelsdorf said. “However, we ran tough with the next tier of teams to improve on our 2012 finish.
“Our boys gained great varsity-level racing experience last year as underclassmen and their racing experience is starting to show. Troy, Austin, Jake, and Tyler ran solid and competitive races.
“Bryan’s confidence in his racing abilities really showed as the raced progressed. He was able to surge at will from the Superior boy at key places in the race to pull away for a comfortable win. The course was about 100 meters long and with the challenging conditions times were definitely affected. This is really his year to shine.”