Hatchets peak at state meet
The Tomahawk track team qualifiers may have only medaled in one event, but five of seven athletes ripped out personal-best performances under the pressure of a packed UW-LaCrosse house at the WIAA State Meet.
“To some that are not familiar to track and field and the quality of the participants at the state meet, it may appear that it was a ‘so-so’ weekend,” THS coach John Zuelsdorf said. “On the contrary, anytime five of sevven entries have career best efforts and are near school record efforts it was a good meet. Our athletes, as well as the coaching staff, were pleased with the results and determination of our qualifiers.”
Quad-qualifier Hanna Meyer, a sophomore, ranked fourth in the triple jump and kept pushing her limit to the last leap. She reached finals at 34’ 7”, improved it to 35’ 2.5” on her penultimate jump, and upped it to 35’ 8” on her last. She finished just one inch out of third.
“For Hanna to make the medal stand and improve her position in the finals was a real credit to her athleticism and competitiveness,” Zuelsdorf said. “She is fun to watch and continues to improve in her specialty, the triple jump.
“We struggled to remember when (and if) we’ve ever had an individual qualify in four events, three of which were not relays. She was a busy young lady this weekend and was able to maintain her composure as she transitioned from event to event. She learned a lot from (the 100 and long jump) that she put to good use later in the meet.”
Meyer ranked 15th in the 100 at :13.18, but was just .13 out of 12th place. The top 10 reached finals. In the long jump, she recorded three fouls.
Bryan Tomek pulled a tough double, running the 1600 and 3200 on back-to-back days. He ranked 10th in the 3200 in 9:45.89 and was 13th in the 1600 in 4:26.14, tracking down anyone in range.
“To see Bryan finish his career at state for his eighth individual appearance – which may be a first at Hatchet High between cross country and track – and go out with PR’s was especially gratifying,” Zuelsdorf said. “He has been our ‘bread-and-butter’ for the past four years and will be missed.”
Sophomore Dani Whiting ran 13th in the 3200 in 11:37.83, nine seconds out of 12th. The 400 relay of freshman Lauren Hilt, junior Emmy Larson, sophomore Emily Verkilen and Meyer ran 15th in :51.60, but were just .52 out of qualifying 10th for finals.
“When the girls in the 3200 took off in the first 800 and came through slightly below Dani’s open PR, we were worried that she’d panic,” Zuelsdorf said. “She didn’t and with her solid aerobic base and steady pace approach, she was able to come back on the field and improve her position as the race finished. To go sub-11:40 was her goal. It was nice to see her get that.”
“The 400 relay, with all underclass athletes, was excited to run. In spite of being in an outside lane, the girls were in the thick of things throughout the race and ended it with their best performance to date. To be the second-fastest 400-meter quartet in school history isn’t too shabby. Emmy, Lauryn, Hanna, and Emily are excited about where they ended things this weekend, but are already talking about next year and a return trip.
“The bulk of our qualifiers were underclass athletes and the experience of competing before nearly 10,000 fans will be something that they will remember for years to come. The whole state experience can be surreal, but we felt that our athletes handled it well and remembered all the training and hard work that went into their season and took advantage of the opportunity.”