On Saturday, Tomahawk traveled to Waupaca High School, the site of WIAA Division 2 Sectional Cross-Country Meet. Ideal conditions greeted the 15 teams as they competed to earn the right to advance to Wisconsin Rapids next weekend for the State Championships.
The Tomahawk boys equaled their team placement from last year as they placed 6th overall with 168 points. Lakeland dominated the event with a low team score of 45 points followed by Oconto Falls (111 points), Medford (115 points), Northland Pines (139 points), and New London (141 points).
For the Hatchets, they were led by junior Mason Webster and senior Cayton Scholz as they placed 19th and 21st respectively in 17:57 and 17:58, improving their times by nearly a minute from the Comet Invite in late September. Sophomore Evan Ploeckelman covered the 5K distance in 18:25 as he placed 32nd followed by senior teammate Lucas Tjugum (46th), juniors Luke Olson (50th), Parker Johnson (53rd), and senior Justin Jarvensivu (88th). 104 athletes crossed the finish line at the Sectional event. The Great Northern Conference will be well represented in Wisconsin Rapids, as along with the boys team from Lakeland, individual athletes from Medford and Northland Pines qualified.
The lady Hatchets had one of their best efforts of the season as a team on Saturday, placing 8th overall, and improving on their 14th place finish from 2015 at Edgewater. Freshman Haley Voermans-Dean led the way, placing in the top 10th in a time of 21:08. Haley was just edged out as an individual state qualifier missing by two positions. In her 4th Sectional race, Senior Maggee Renn had a career best finish placing 21st in a time of 21:53, nearly a minute faster than she ran at Waupaca in late September. Freshman Meagan Berg passed a half-dozen runners in the final mile to finish 42nd (23:30) and senior teammate Rylie Swan finished her career with a 51st place (23:46) effort.
Underclassmen Olivia Weber, sophomore (65th-24:20), junior Morgan Waye (70th-24:29), and freshman Gillian Buckwalter (74th-24:37) completed the placing for the Hatchets. There were 100 finishers in the girl’s race at Waupaca. As expected, Lakeland won the girls event with 77 points followed closely by Clintonville (79pts) and Medford (80 pts). Peshtigo, Marinette, Mosinee, and Oconto Falls finished in front of the Hatchets. Individuals from Medford, Northland Pines, and Rhinelander will join the T-Birds at State next weekend.
The boys finished their season with a W-107 L-23 (Pct. 823) record and the girls concluded with a W-69 L-47 (Pct. 594).
“…going into the meet the coaches and athletes set realistic goals of finishing in the top seven teams for both squads. The boys knew it was going to be an uphill battle at Sectionals with senior Alex Johnson side-lined by the unfortunate DQ at conference, but they drew upon what they had done well all season ‘pack-style’ running and it paid off with their 6th place team finish. For the girls to improve upon a disastrous 14th place effort last year at Edgewater was a must. They did just that in a BIG way with their eighth place effort, only four points out of seventh.”
“Cayton had one of his best races ever as a Hatchet at Waupaca. He got out strong and ran the middle 1000 meters of his race nearly perfect. He passed seven guys between 2K and 3K, with Mason and Evan keying off of his mid-race push. He was a key reason the boys were able to achieve their team goal at this meet. Lucas Tjugum stepped it up in his final race as a Hatchet as well. He pushed himself hard in the early parts of the race and did a nice job hanging on to the finish. I will miss these senior boys, (Cayton, Alex, Lucas, and Justin) many of whom have been scoring on varsity for the past three seasons.”
“…Haley had an outstanding race finishing in the top ten and nearly advancing as an individual qualifier. She defeated some top athletes that had beaten her during the season from teams like Lakeland and Medford. She raced with a lot of determination and will return next fall focused and ready to roll looking ever so forward to a another opportunity to advance. Maggee was on a mission today as she was a key player in the team’s finish with her effort. The racing conditions were ideal and she really took advantage of that.”
“In retrospect we had a solid season, we developed a lot of young talent on the girls team and our veteran boys all ran their fastest races of their careers as seniors. With good team numbers and depth on the junior varsity the Hatchets should be poised for another strong season next year with a goal of continual improvement. This group of young men and women were great to work with, always giving it their best in practice and at meets.”
For full results, click here.