By Nick Beversdorf
Following a disappointing showing at Stevens Point on April 12, the MHS boys and girls varsity track teams are showing definite improvement after solid performances Tuesday (April 19) at Wausau West, with the girls participating in an invite and the boys participating in a triangular.
The Bluejay runners faced off against Wausau West, Wausau East, Bay Port and Marshfield. The Bluejay girls placed 4th out of 5 teams with 35 points. Bay Port barely edged out Wausau West with 128 points and 126.5 points, respectively. The Bluejay boys placed 3rd out of 5 teams with 52 points. West dominated the events, amassing 176 points, with Marshfield coming in a distant 2nd with 79 points.
Many Bluejay athletes had strong performances, placing 1st in their respective events. First place finishers for Merrill include Jared Ollhoff with 40 ft. 9.25 in. in the boys triple jump and 6 ft. in the boys high jump, Todd Grund with 12 ft. in the boys pole vault, Rylee Folz with 5 ft. in the girls high jump and Autumn Schenzel with 13.56 sec in the girls 100 meter dash.
Adam Laehn, Devon Annis, Nevada Laabs and Peter Seliger were also part of the boys 4×100 meter relay team which placed first with a time of 46.49 seconds.
Other strong performers include Emily Sczygelski who placed 2nd in girls pole vault with 8 ft in a three-way tie, Adam Laehn who placed 3rd in the boys long jump with 19 ft. 4 in., Jon Gruetzmatcher who placed 4th in the discus throw with 114 ft. 11 in., Morgan Pettit who placed 4th in the girls shot put with 31 ft. 2.25 in. and Dalie Thomas who placed 3rd in the girls 400 meter dash with a time of 1:02.42.
“The more we work with athletes each week the better understanding we have where their strengths are and we are now starting to place athletes where they will be most successful,” comments head coach Kurt VandenHeuvel. “Our standouts are staying consistent (Todd Grund, Jared Ollhoff, Autumn Schenzel, Rylee Folz, Dalie Thomas), but we are still looking for some kids to rise to the occasion which is where we are still lacking.”
“This week we are working on components that will help athletes focus in meets and in school that will transfer to the track,” the coach added. “They are committed to improving and are a joy to coach! I did see some huge strides in maturity as they worked with the after-school Washington program, teaching elementary students the different events of Track and Field.”
Girls varsity track will have an invitational this Friday, April 22nd at 4:30 p.m. at DC Everest. Both girls and boys varsity track will have invites on Tuesday, April 26th at 4:40 p.m. at Medford.