Merrill girls jump into the fray at state track meet
The MHS girls track team sent two sophomore individual qualifiers to last weekend’s WIAA State Track and Field Meet, and although they came up short of the podium, it certainly wasn’t for a lack of effort.
Morgan Marnholtz ranked ninth, just one place out of the points, with a personal record triple jump of 36′ 5.25″, and Hannah Marrier finished 18th in the 300M low hurdles in a time of :48.16.
“The weather cooperated for the girls on Friday as they competed well in both of their respective events,” MHS coach Bethany Martinovici said. “Morgan jumped her personal best in preliminaries to help her earn her spot in the finals. She was well prepared and had some experience on her back from last season going into the state meet and wanted to improve off of that mark.
“She did exactly what she had hoped-placing higher than she did last year and making finals. But Morgan not only made finals, this was her best jump by almost a foot. She is a strong all-around athlete and is utilized in many ways in track and field. She has been a consistent performer all year and we look forward to her working hard in the off-season to come back strong in the spring.”
As for Marrier, Martinovici noted, “Hannah made her debut this year at the meet and proved to be successful as well. She had a difficult place on the track in the 300 hurdles, not being able to see the other competitors. She had to rely on her practices from the week before and running her best race. Her time wasn’t where we wanted it to be, but the experience was like no other.
“She is ready to compete hard in the off season, spend some time in the weight room and on the track in the summer months, and wanting a repeat experience next year.”
The Jays ended up fifth in the Valley and fifth at regional this past season.
“All girls had a terrific season,” Martinovici said. “We would like to suggest to all the athletes that they should take the experience they had this year and push themselves to improve their overall performances for next year. Whether that means to get in the weight room more over the year or come in ready to compete in the spring.
“We had many injuries that we had to face this year and the girls did a great job filling in where needed and picking up some points where we were weak. The assistant coaches and I are proud of what was accomplished and ready to start off on another positive foot next year. Of course, an overall goal would be to have more numbers from the girls team attending the state meet next year, perhaps a relay or two and another individual event would be nice to have in the mix. Oh, the opportunities we have with such a large group of girls who will be returning next spring.”
Multiple state qualifier Renee Sladek (discus, high jump) and top WVC sprinter/jumper Mandy Vonderheid headlined the group that missed all or part of the season due to injury.