Bluejay boys race away with Merrill indoor invite

The Bluejay boys ran away with Thursday’s six-team home indoor meet, nearly tripling the team points of their nearest competitor.
Merrill not only captured nine of 17 events outright, but they placed two in the top three in six-of-11 events that had more than one Bluejay entrant. That excluded the four relays, which MHS swept.
They scored at least a second place in all but two events, with an injury keeping a top competitor out of one of those races and 2/10ths of a second standing in the way of the other.
Merrill racked up 145 points to blow away a tight group of Mosinee (56.5), Waupaca (50), Rhinelander (48.5) and Wittenberg-Birnamwood (45). Abbotsford was sixth (7).
“It’s hard to judge,” MHS coach Kurt VandenHeuvel said. “It’s a lot different going against Valley teams. If we’re going to compete in the Valley, we’ve got to go 1-2. We’ve got to keep that level high no matter who we’re going against.
“We were limited with our total entries. The kids are getting antsy to compete, as they should. We have 90 kids and we have 50 of them who could be varsity. We were only allowed 20 entries, really making it tough. In our outdoor meets, we’ll be allowed more entries.
“The score shows our team not only has the good athletes, but we have good depth, too.”
The Jays went 1-2 in premier events like the 50M dash (Kriss Philipp, :06.10 with :05.92 qualifying/Tyler Butler, :06.16, after :06.19 qual.), the triple jump (Jake Anderson, 40′ 6″/Brandon Bartz, 39′ 11.5″), and 800M run (Paul Theorin, 2:15.41/Jacob Jensen, 2:18.10).
Philipp cracked the 6-second barrier for the first time in Bluejay indoor history, undercutting Bill Ott’s :06.00, set the year he won the state championship 100.
“I was proud to see Kriss break that 50 school record,” VandenHeuvel said. “It shows he’s been putting in a lot of hard work and dedication over the winter.”
Merrill also placed 1st, 3rd and 5th in the high jump with Dan Blakeslee (6′ 0″), Scott Wallace (5′ 4″) and Austin Reissmann (5′ 4″).
Other wins came from: Andrew Seaman (1600, 5:07.50); the 20-lap relay (Bryce Litschauer, Dalton Wilding, Michael Seaman, Theorin, 8:42.10); the 6-lap relay (Nick Hoffmann, Eric Ball, Bartz, Jake Nohr, 2:00.50); the 4-lap relay (Butler, Nick Peterson, Lucas Lee, Philipp, 1:14.80); and the 10-lap relay (James Nohr, Wilding, Bartz, Litschauer, 3:37.63).
“Andrew is starting to run well in the distance. He ran a PR, which is pretty hard to do when you’re cutting 60 meters off the track and making the corners tighter,” VandenHeuvel said. “Our long jumpers and triple jumpers looked good. Jake broke out a 40-footer in the triple, and Brandon jumped well, too.
“It was nice to see that I put a couple of younger kids, Reissman and Wallace, into the meet and they performed pretty well. I was a little leery with them being freshmen, but they came through.”
The boys went 2-3 in the long jump (Blakeslee, 19′ 3″/Peterson 18′ 10.5″) and 400M (Anderson, :57.10/James Nohr, :57.90). They placed 2nd and 4th in the shot put (Tyler Schmidt, 45′ 8.5″/ Cole Rajek, 41′ 4″).
Other runner-up finishes were turned in by: Ball in the pole vault (12′ 0″), Bartz in the 50M int. hurdles (:08.24) and Dylan Schielke in the 3200 (11:39.59).
Hoffmann (4th, :25.79) was edged out of a higher ranking in the 200M dash and Lee was 5th (:26.22) .
Additional top finishes came from: Scott Arneson in the pole vault (5th, 9′ 6″); Blakeslee in the 50 IH (6th, :09.02); and Austin Bonnell in the shot put (7th, 38′ 6″).

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