Jays up ante at regional
The MHS track teams officially headed into the most crucial part of their season with last Tuesday’s WVC Outdoor and Monday’s WIAA Regional, both held at D.C. Everest.
Both teams finished fifth in a virtual Valley redux, plus Antigo and Rhinelander.
“What an eye opener for the Merrill guys,” MHS coach Kurt VandenHeuvel said. “Tonight they faced many challenges: pole vault had 10 guys over 12 feet, a tough 800 run, battered hurdles and a hard fought race in the relays. It was definitely the ‘Valley Reunion!’ SPASH coming in and Lakeland going out put most teams in a tough spot to qualify for sectionals. They knocked out a variety of our potential qualifiers.”
“We were focused and ready to go,” MHS coach Bethany Martinovici added.
The top four in each event qualified for Thursday’s WIAA Rice Lake Sectional.
Morgan Marnholtz keyed the Bluejays with a win in the triple jump (35′ 8″) and a runner-up finish in the 400 (1:01.87). Hannah Marrier qualified both of her hurdles races with a 3rd in the 100’s (:16.98) and a 4th in the 300’s (:49.96).
“Both girls will be ready to compete on Thursday with the recent one-on-one training that they will have had,” Martinovici said. “Hannah Marrier has been working on her technique this year and is determined to hammer out a consistent three step. This wasn’t Morgan’s farthest jump, but we are waiting for that to come when it matters most. Both athletes have a competitive chance and will be excited to see what happens Thursday.
“The 4-by-1 team missed moving on by a few tenths of a second. They really worked well together and it would have been nice to see them have another chance at sectionals. Our goal next year, with Bri (Piepenbrok) being gone, will be to strengthen the three remaining girls into a mode where they are unbeatable. The 4-by-4 team defined who they were and proved to themselves that they were tough.”
Merrill ranked 3rd and 5th in the TJ with Jake Anderson (42′ 7″) and Brandon Bartz (41′ 9″), and qualified in the 100 with Tyler Butler (:11.57), the 400 with Dalton Wilding (:53.96), the 400 rel. (Butler, Nick Peterson, Eric Ball, Lucas Lee, :45.00) and the 800 rel. (Nick Hoffmann, Ball, Lee, Anderson, 1:34.62).
“We did have guys capitalize on opportunities,” VandenHeuvel said. “Jake Anderson has been progressing quite a bit each meet in the triple jump. He is right on the heels of second. Another athlete who came up big for us was Tyler Butler, a freshman. He is a very mature athlete for his age and has dedicated full commitment to the program and the team. I appreciate the fact that Dalton Wilding puts his heart and soul in achieving his personal and team goals.
“On top of it all, our sprint relays are still hanging tough even with the other teams stacking them. We have depth and it showed with Kriss (Philipp) not running a single race. Guys like Eric Ball, Nick Peterson, Nick Hoffman, Lucas Lee, Tyler Butler and Jake Anderson can all show up as a team and still qualify for the Thursday meet.”
The Jays went 5-6 in the 300 IH with Ethan Schneider (:43.03) and Bartz (:44.57). Other fifths came from: the 400 rel. (Marrier, Anna Finnell, Bri Piepenbrok, Kaitlin Berry, :52.93), the 1600 rel. (Berry, Finnell, Lauren Hojan, Marnholtz, 4:21.48) and the 1600 rel. Wilding, Bartz, Tom Grund, Bryce Litschauer, 3:35.98).
Sixths came from: Aubrey Wardall (D, 106′ 2″); Tyler Schmidt (SP, 45′ 2″); Schneider (110 HH, :16.25); Ranta (800, 2:40.13); the 800 rel. (Piepenbrok, Kennedy Soderberg, McKenna Robbins, Berry, 1:54.00); 3200 rel. Jewell Charbarneau, Kendra Andreska, Morgan Pettit, Sarah Ranta, 11:09.65). Sevenths: Anderson (LJ, 20′ 3.25″); James Nohr (D, 128′ 1″); Piepenbrok (100, :13.55). Eighths: Cole Rajek (SP, 41′ 7″); Litschauer (800, 2:07.37); Lee (100, :11.87); Grund (400, :55.94); Svetlana Heisinger (3200, 13:27.32); Christa Schleif (100 HH, :20.77).
Team standings-Boys-SPASH 183, Marshfield 126.5, D.C.E. 116.5, Wausau W. 76, Merrill 55, Antigo 55, Wis. Rapids 32, Rhinelander 30, Wausau E. 25……Girls-W.W. 159, SPASH 139, D.C.E. 114, Marshfield 87.5, Merrill 53, W.E. 52, W. R. 48.5, Antigo 28, Rhinelander 19.
Both Bluejay teams finished fifth in last Tuesday’s WVC Outdoor at D.C. Everest.
“Conference was an up-and-down rollercoaster meet,” VandenHeuvel said. “I stressed to the guys the importance of taking care of their bodies and recovering over the weekend because they had a rough meet on Friday (May 10) with Otto being rescheduled. Needless to say a few guys did not take the advice to heart and it showed in some events. Those who took care and recovered performed very well, while those that did not struggled and put the team in a position that earned us fifth in the conference when clearly we are a much better team.”
Martinovici noted, “We had some illnesses that were running through our team which made it difficult to compete to the level of our competitors. Because we were short athletes, other girls had to fall in where least expected.
“The girls worked hard in each area, but Morgan Marnholtz stood out, competing in four tough events. She didn’t complain. Hannah is a determined athlete that comes into focus when needed to. She is a great team player, making people laugh when needed and serious at other times. Bri Piepenbrok also came on strong at this meet. Her sprint starts were fast and steady.”
Marnholtz took down titles in the triple jump (36′ 2.75″) and 400 (1:00.71), and helped the 400 (Marrier, Marnholtz, Piepenbrok, Berry, :52.92) and 1600 (Berry, Soderberg, Hojan, Marnholtz) teams to 4th.
The boys best event was the 100 with Kriss Philipp (2nd, :11.51), Butler (T5th, :11.81) and Lee (T7th, :11.99). The 400 squad (Butler, Peterson, Lee, Philipp, :44.90) ran 2nd.
Thirds came from: Ball (PV, 12′ 6″); Litschauer (800, 2:03.40); Marrier (300 LH, :48.41); and the 1600 (Wilding, Bartz, Strombom, Litschauer, 3:36.73).
Merrill went 4-5 in the TJ (Anderson, 42′ .25″/Bartz, 40′ 8″). Other 4ths came from: Blakeslee (HJ, 5′ 10″); 800 rel. (Hoffmann, Ball, Lee, Anderson, 1:36.02).
Fifths were turned in by: Schmidt (D, 138′ 11″); Marrier (100 HH, :18.02); Schneider (300 IH, :43.26); the 3200 rel. (Heisinger, Pettit, Andreska, Ranta, 11:16.39). Sixths: 3200 rel. (A. Seaman, Wilding, Theorin, Litschauer, 8:41.50); 800 rel. (Robbins, Smith, Soderberg, Cournaya, 1:57.66). Sevenths: Blakeslee (LJ, 19′ 8.5″); Schleif (100 HH, :18.20); Schneider (110 HH, :16.74); Ranta (800, 2:38.32). Eighths: Schleif (PV, 8′ 0″); Wardall (D, 97′ 3″); Schmidt (SP, 44′ .5″); Bartz (300 IH, :45.01); Hoffmann (200, :24.75).
Team standings-Boys-SPASH 205.5, D.C.E. 138, Marshfield 118.5, Wausau W. 84, Merrill 74.5, Wis. Rapids 44.5, Wausau E. 29……Girls-W.W. 196, SPASH 143, D.C.E. 127, Marshfield 104, Merrill 55, W.E. 37, W. R. 34.