Tomahawk runners step up to fill shoes of top runners
The Tomahawk cross country teams cruised to runner-up finishes in last Thursday’s eight-team Flambeau Invite despite missing their top performer in each gender.
Bryan Tomek was rested after running in the huge Griak, although his presence wouldn’t have been enough to overcome the minimum 15-point performance of the state’s top-ranked Chequamegon, just spoil the Screaming Eagles’ perfection.
But the girls were edged by a mere two points from Chequamegon, 39-41, and the injured Dani Whiting surely would have pushed THS in front. Alex Zedler (16:41) and Emmy Larson (17:12) still managed to grab the top two spots in the race, and Claire Kuehn (17:48) and Talyn Jones (17:48) ran 10th-11th. Alex Bellile closed the scoring at 20th in 19:10, and Rylie Swan (21st, 19:15) and Kayla Gass (24th, 19:33) also competed well.
Chequamegon may have taken the top five spots in the boys race, but the Hatchet had a bloc of their own with Troy VanStrydonk (18:16) and Jacob McGuire (18:18) ranking 7th-8th before THS ripped off the 10th-16th spots. That crew included: Austin Kaiser (18:44), Alex Johnson (18:56), Kyle Klopatek (19:11), Tyler Wittmann (19:14), Lucas Tjugum (19:30), Dakota Tomek (19:31) and Cayton Scholz (19:32).
“Our athletes really looked forward to this meet to see our middle level athletes compete and support them,” THS coach John Zuelsdorf said. “It was a great experience for our younger athletes to see their peers – and in some cases their role models – perform.
“Alex (Zedler) made an aggressive move early and distanced herself from the competition. She ran a strong race from the front and handled the head-winds well in winning her first high school race. Emmy made a super move with less than 800 meters left, going from sixth to second.
“Claire and Talyn ran strong again and put us in a position to take the team title, despite the absence of our #1 runner, Dani. But, with a gap of over a minute between our #4 and the next scoring pack, too many opposing runners were able to fill the gap and inflate our team score.”
The boys pushed to make up ground on Chequamegon.
“Our boys made every effort to avoid a sweep, but the Screamin’ Eagles were just too deep,” Zuelsdorf said.
“Jake had a great race with a strong finish and nice P.R. effort. However, he was one of the only veterans to run a personal best 5K and for us to make progress as a team we need to have that consistently happen across the board. Our freshmen boys continue to progress and improve. Alex Johnson and Kyle Klopatek both ran P.R.’s. We pointed out to our freshmen boys that they would have beaten the freshmen from Chequamegon in a head-to-head dual 27-35. They can take pride as a group of where they are at and how they continue to progress.”
Team standings-Girls-Chequamegon 39, Tomahawk 41, Lk. Holcombe 97, Bruce 102, Flambeau 102, Ladysmith inc., LCO inc. , New Auburn inc……Boys-Chequamegon 15, Tomahawk 48, Ladysmith 85, Bruce inc., N. Aub. inc., Flambeau inc., LCO inc., Lk. Hol. inc.