For the 23rd consecutive year, the Tomahawk Cross Country team traveled to Fall Creek to compete against 14 other schools in their annual “Knudtson Invite.” For the fourth year in a row and 13th time in the last 14 years, Tomahawk brought home the overall combined score team traveling trophy. Noteworthy, also was that the locals were able to win two out of four high school races at the event, and finished in the runner-up spot in the other two races.
Despite placing three athletes in the top 10 with a one-minute scoring split, the boys were upended by state-ranked Durand by 12 points. Finishing the hilly and challenging course as medalists were: Mason Webster (4th-18:21), Evan Ploeckelman (7th-18:43) and Cayton Scholz (9th-18:51). Rounding out the Hatchet varsity effort was Alex Johnson (11th), Lucas Tjugum (17th), Justin Jarvensivu (28th) and Erik Zedler (31st).
Freshman Haley Voermans-Dean led the girls to a runner-up title with her 21:57 4th place medalist effort. Other lady Hatchets contributing to the team effort were: Maggee Renn (16th), Lauren Bauman (18th), Olivia Weber (21st), Meagan Berg (26th), Rylie Swan (29th), and Natalia Robinson (40th) in the 71-runner varsity field.
Both junior varsity squads ran to team titles, showcasing the Hatchet depth scoring a perfect 15 points in route to victory. JV Co-Ed Medalists for Tomahawk were freshmen Gillian Buckwalter and Matt Johnson (both winning their respective races), Morgan Waye and Luke Olson (both 2nd), Kate Krueger and Keegan Karlen (both 3rd), Tehya Street and Keaton Jed (4th) and Arianna Schreiner and Brett Gerber (both 5th). Other finishers for Tomahawk in their respective races were: Jackie Wick and Parker Johnson (both 6th ), Brittany Jashinsky and Josh Wick (7th), Orion Spaulding (8th), Anthony Ierulli (10th), Rylie Flohr (11th), Sam Von Schrader (12th), Jared Leverance (12th), Corinn Genelin and Shawn Dirkx (both 14th), Jacob Miller (15th), Jenny Zheng (18th), Grant Alvey (19th), Reed Zedler (22nd), Jarett Flynn (28th) and Carl Theiler (31st).
Next meet is Saturday as Tomahawk competes in the prestigious 60-team Smiley Invitational at the American Legion Country Club on the north side of Wausau. Racing gets underway at 8:30 a.m. with the boys JV D2/3 combined race.
“…It was great to see some schools from the Western part of the state that we normally don’t get a chance to compete against. The athletes rose to the challenges presented to them and were able to snag the combined trophy and keep the streak alive. Combined with the JV ‘slam’, the coaching staff was pleased with the race efforts of our athletes today!”
“…Durand came loaded for this meet and brought an undefeated record to the event. They were tough placing four in the top ten and earned the invitational win. We thought our varsity boys responded well to the hills and did an admirable job keeping a tight group coming out of the hills. For us to continue to be successful in the next two big events (Smiley and Lourdes) we need to keep a tight pack and start dropping times.”
“We also were proud of the way our girls scoring pack worked through the hills late in the race. They were able to produce a nice split under a minute for runners #2 through #6 and were able to significantly cut into last year’s deficit to Colfax.”
“For the first race where our Junior Varsity squads competed separately, it was exciting to see them perform so well. Many of them earned their first medals in competition. A couple of our younger athletes are even making a bid for varsity spots with their efforts.”
“Matt Johnson….for a freshman he is doing an awesome job! He is racing like a veteran. His background from running middle level last year at Rosholt is proving to be a valuable asset. He has excellent form and has a great racing instinct. He allows things to develop during the race and doesn’t panic. This is a veteran-like characteristic! (Although he is only a freshman!) ”
“Gillian Buckwalter…although she is relatively new to the sport and started after our early season, she is making her presence known in a BIG way. After actually earning a varsity-level position in her first race last week, we mutually agreed to get a little more racing experience ‘under her belt’ and held her back to race JV this week. She responded by learning some ‘front pack’ racing strategy and earned her first individual invitational title. There’s no holding her back any more!”
For the full results list, click here.