Merrill girls use mix of new and old to stay in range of Edgar
Last week Tuesday’s Merrill Indoor invite proved to the Bluejay girls at least two important projections.
That they could hold their own with a talented crew of returnees, and that their new team members would be eager to chip in.
“We were able to learn a lot about our team and I think everybody is pretty excited,” MHS coach Greg Eichelkraut said. “We challenged or broke three team records. Out of those three big highlights, we only had one first, but we had nine second-place finishes. We had a number of girls step up.
“We moved some veterans around and I felt they took advantage of the competitive opportunities. I also saw the team helping new members out. That’s just going to make this team that much deeper and better.”
Senior Emily Jones tied the overall team pole vault mark of 9′ 6″, the best indoor height in team history. Sophomore Mandy Vonderheid twice tied Kirsten Lindquist’s (:06.97 in 1987) MHS 50M record with runs of 6.91 and 6.97 that round up to 7.0. Both performances placed second to superlative feats from champion Edgar athletes.
The 400M team of Jones, Daneeca Stewart, Brianna Piepenbrok and Jess Sabey was clocked in 1:30.74, its 1:30.8, tying a 2006 mark and placing third.
“It was a tough break that Mandy was just 1/100th away from the outright record,” Eichelkraut said. “The four-lap relay came down to hundredths, too.”
Vonderheid grabbed the only win with a 1:07.96 in the 400, and freshman Kaitlyn Berry was third in 1:09.92.
The Jays worked several combination finishes, including: a 2-3-4 in the pole vault with Jones (9′ 6″), Ashley Berton (8′ 0″) and Rebecca Frokjer (7′ 0″); a 2-3 in the 200 with Sabey (:29.20) and Piepenbrok (:30.24) and the 200 hurdles with Berton (:33.83) and Lauren Hojan (:36.11); a 2-5 in the high jump with Berton (4′ 8″) and Hojan (4′ 4″); a 3-4 in the long jump with Sabey (14′ 9″) and Piepenbrok (14′ 2.25″); and a 4-5 in the 50 hurdles with Hannah Marrier (:08.94) and Christa Schleif (:09.53).
Freshman Morgan Marnholtz turned heads by earning runner-up finishes in the triple jump (32′ 9.25″), 800M (2:43.21) and the 10-lap relay (with Hojan, Berry and Sabey, 4:19.79).The 20-lap group of Jourdyn Mootz, Emily Schmidt, Robyn Opsahl and Nyssa Graap was 2nd in 12:41.09.
The 6-lap team was 4th (Marrier, Schleif, Svetlana Heisinger, Sarah Ranta, 2:32.78). Fifths came from Chelsea Kufahl (SP, 24′ 7″) and Kate Williams (1600, 6:41.90).
Two-time defending state champ Edgar won the meet with 106 points, followed by Merrill (71.5), Rhinelander (34) and Antigo (29.5).
“For the 3rd-4th year in a row, Edgar has a terrific blend of athletes,” Eichelkraut said. “They had several state-level performances.
“But our younger girls didn’t know that. They saw someone ahead of them and said, ‘I don’t like it.’ I couldn’t ask for more. We had some that tested well, but you never know until the other jerseys show up.”