Tomahawk races to state
The Hatchets pulled off a solid sectional feat when it qualified seven of its 17 entries for the state meet.
Senior Bryan Tomek captured the 1600 and ran second in the 3200 to set up his fourth trip to the big dance, while sophomore Hanna Meyer was the runner-up in the long and triple jumps, placed third in the 100 and anchored the 400 relay (of Emmy Larson, Lauryn Hilt and Emily Verkilen) to another third. Sophomore Dani Whiting chopped serious time to finish third in the 3200.
The girls ranked sixth, while the boys placed 18th.
“The trek to Bloomer was a long one,” THS coach John Zuelsdorf said. “For athletes to get off the bus after nearly three hours and compete at their optimal level less than an hour later is a lot to ask. Our athletes handled that adversity pretty well. Typically, if you can advance about one-fourth of your regional entries on to LaCrosse it’s a good day.
“Bryan got a chance to simulate some of the racing conditions that he will see at State next week and he really responded well. Both times were seasonal best efforts and both within one second of his PR’s. He has a lot of confidence preparing for his fourth trip to LaCrosse next week.
“Hanna had another phenomenal outing. Her jumps were both career best leaps and to qualify in the 100 and anchor the 400 relay to a seasonal best time was a bonus for her. What amazed me was her poise under pressure all day long. Emmy, Emily, and Lauryn all had near seasonal best splits in the 4-by-1 and worked on their exchanges all week prior to the meet. They really wanted to beat Medford outdoors after having their number indoors, and it turned out that we had to do that to qualify.
“Dani ran a seasonal best of 2:31 in the 3200 relay and still came back to run a career best in the 3200 run with her first sub 12-minute race of her career. She ran a strategically flawless race in qualifying for her first state meet.
“All of our under-class athletes will benefit from the experience and emotions involved with advancing and this level of competition.”
Times and distances for the qualifiers included: Tomek (1600, 4:27/3200, 9:59); Meyer (LJ, 16’ 1/2”/TJ, 35’ 2”/100, :13.17); 400 relay (:51.90); and Whiting (3200, 11:49).
Other solid finishes came from: Larson (7th, TJ, 33’ 6”, PR); 3200 rel. (7th, Larson, Whiting, Talyn Jones, Claire Kuehn, 10:47); Hilt (8th, PV, 8’ 0”/16th, 200, :29.09); Peter Pintens (9th, PV, 12’ 6”); Alex Zedler (12th, 1600, 6:08); Audrey Dichsen (12th, LJ, 14’ 5”); Kate Gaedtke (16th, 300 lows, :57.86); Lila Werner (16th, 100, :14.16); Ben Yirsa (16th, 110 highs, :18.25).
The girls ranked third and the boys sixth when Tomahawk hosted the nine-team D2 regional last Tuesday. Both squads finished within three points of a higher place; the girls 35 ahead of fourth. Ranking in the top four offered a sectional spot.
Wins came from Meyer (LJ, 15’9”/TJ, 34’2”100, 13.0); Tomek (1600, 4:43/3200, 10:26); Pintens (PV, 13’ 0”, PB); and Whiting (3200, 12:11). The 400 rel. (Meyer, Larson, Verkilen, Hilt, 2.55) was second and Hilt (PV, 8’ 3”, PB) and the 3200 (Whiting, Larson, Kuehn, Jones, 10:27) were third.
Fourths came from: Dichsen (LJ, 14’5”, PB); Larson (TJ, 32’6”-4); Werner (100, 13.5, PB); Zedler (1600, 6:08); Gaedtke (300 LH, 52.4); Yirsa (110 HH, 16.87, PB).
“It was nice to qualify as many total events as we did through to Bloomer, in a year where many thought we were rebuilding,” Zuelsdorf said. “As a team we were in the ‘thick of things’ for a Girls Regional title, if it weren’t for the DQ in one of our relays we would have been in it right down to the last event. To see some of our seniors advance was especially gratifying.
“Hosting a tournament event is always stressful for meet management, but to give our athletes a chance to compete at home is worth all the time and effort that goes into it. Our parents, teachers, coaches and administration really stepped it up and allowed us to host a quality event.”