Top-quality racing by their opponents and a short-handed situation from the girls team made last Saturday’s GNC Meet performance seem slightly off for the Hatchet runners.
It was anything but.
The team came up with 21 career-best 5K efforts as the boys finished fourth and the girls fifth. Senior Dani Whiting ranked fourth in 20:23 to secure her fourth-consecutive All-GNC award, while senior Troy VanStrydonk finished 9th in a personal record 17:11 to pull off the feat for the third year in a row. Junior Alex Johnson PR’ed in 17:38 to narrowly miss the squad in 15th place.
Other Hatchet boys with PR’s were Cayton Scholz (19th, 17:50), Lucas Tjugum (21st, 17:56) and Justin Jarvensivu (24th, 18:14), and Mason Webster (23rd, 18:06) and Kyle Klopatek (37th, 19:37) also pushed the boys. Backing Whiting with PR’s were Kate Krueger (24th, 22:31), Rylie Swan (27th, 22:47) and Lauren Bauman (29th, 22:52), while Susan Waye (39th. 23:50) and Maggee Renn (40th, 24:22) ran well.
“We had high, yet what we thought were realistic expectations going into the conference meet at Medford.,” THS coach John Zuelsdorf said. “The boys knew they had to get by Northland Pines and Medford to have a shot at the pre-meet favorite (Lakeland). We were able to get by the hosts, but we were unable to offset the high finishes of Pines top end with our ‘pack’ and Lakeland ran as tough as they did at our place the weekend before to capture the title.
“Missing our #3 runner (Lizebeth Edwardsen) for the third race in a row and with our #2 runner (Renn) sick, we knew it would be tough to defend our girls title. It showed as we were asking some of our typical non-scoring athletes to step it up. They did with big PR efforts, but it was not enough to climb into positions that were effective in the scoring.”
“Although the team results did not reflect it, our athletes had a good day. As a coaching staff, we couldn’t ask for more. To see our seniors Troy and Dani make the All-Conference squad and Jakob, Kyle, Dan and Sara finish with career-best efforts was tribute to their leadership as athletes.”
The sectional meet will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday in Tomahawk.
“We are excited to host the Sectional Meet at Edgewater again this year,” Zuelsdorf sadi. “It allows our athletes the chance to sleep in their own beds, get the support at home from their fans, and race on a fast course that they are familiar with. These are all advantages that we must make use of to have any chance of advancing.
“It is an unusual year with the traditionally tough boy’s teams from the eastern part of our sectional not as strong.
The girls meet brings in tough teams from Freedom, Wittenberg, Clintonville and of course Lakeland, Medford and Mosinee from the GNC. We are hoping to be at full strength for this one and have our best finish to date. Dani will be in the mix to make her third trip to Rapids. (for state)”
Team standings– Boys– Lakeland 35, N. Pines 62, Tomahawk 87, Medford 105, Mosinee 123, Rhinelander 149, Antigo 171…….Girls– Lakeland 30, Medford 58, Rhinelander 68, Mosinee 96, Tomahawk 123, N. Pines 131, Antigo inc.