Merrill, Tomahawk runners speed the Edgewater fast track
The Bluejays and Hatchets met up for the second time this year in Saturday’s 16-team Hatchet Invite at Edgewater Golf Course.
Tomahawk ended up fifth for the girls and ninth for the boys, while Merrill placed seventh (boys) and 13th (girls).
“For the girls, this was our first time competing head-to-head with conference rival Lakeland and in the end we learned a lot from the meet,” THS coach John Zuelsdorf said. “Two of our scorers were sick most of the week and not at 100%, but should be healthy by the time we meet again in a week. We now know what we have to do and where we have to improve to challenge for a conference title next week on their home course.
“At Edgewater our boys had a goal of going out as a pack in sub-5:40 pace and finishing with a scoring pack all under 18-min for 5K. They accomplished both of these feats with a 17:52 scoring average and other than getting separated a bit in the last mile, they had a decent (team) split at :56 seconds. Anytime that your scoring split can go under a minute you should potentially be pleased with the overall team finish. The quality field with state-ranked caliber teams prevented this from happening.
“Overall we had a successful team event, as 32 of 41 competitors had seasonal best or personal best times.”
Leading the THS girls were runner-up Dani Whiting (15:09), Emmy Larson (20th, 16:46), Claire Kuehn (30th, 17:11), Talyn Jones (31st, 17:14) and Alex Zedler (37th, 17:32), and Maggee Renn (43rd, 17:32) and Susan Waye (50th, 17:53) competed. Troy VanStrydonk (20th, 17:20), Jacob McGuire (31st, 17:37), Tyler Wittmann (42nd, 17:56), Austin Kaiser (44th, 18:01), Lucas Tjugum (52nd, 18:16) and Jared Kiander (60th, 18:28) all PR’d for the Hatchet boys, and Alex Johnson (58th, 18:26) also ran.
The Bluejay boys were paced by: Reese Beyersdorf (28th, 17:35) Brady Schmelling (29th, 17:35), Jacob Jensen (33rd, 17:41), Treven Oberg (39th, 17:54), Brett Swan (40th, 17:55), Losha Heisinger (63rd, 18:41) and Nathan Koch (70th, 19:07).
The MHS girls counted on Shelby Harris (57th, 18:15), Morgan Pettit (78th, 19:25), Mickenna Comstock (79th, 19:28), Christa Schleif (80th, 19:29) and Rachael Romanowski (91st, 20:56).
“ ‘Tis the Season’ when it comes to the annual Tomahawk Invitational”,” MHS coach Craig Hoffman said. “Our boys and girls look forward to this race every year knowing that this course provides them with one of the fastest 5K and 4K times they’ll run this year. It’s well groomed and it’s an easy navigable course for our runners. Plus, the runners are beginning to peak when they need to be.
“Our varsity and JV girls ran their best times of the year and we want them to continue competing and climbing their way out of the cellar. Our girls stepped it up a notch this meet with some critical varsity absences of Kennedy Soderberg and Gabby Schlegal.
“Additionally, our boys varsity and JV results showed some of the runners with personal bests by over a minute or so. Yet, we have a long ways to go in preparing ourselves for the (WVC) meet next week at Nine Mile. Physically, we’re as ready as we’re going to be, but mentally, we need to prepare this next week. We’ve been running all year, but now we have to compete against some very aggressive foes. We want to place in the top third in conference, and we have the ability, but we need the ‘edge’ to do it.”
The Hatchets took both ends of last Tuesday’s Northland Pines Invite, with the boys posting a season-low scoring split of 31 seconds to win their third straight meet.
“After not competing for ten days, the NPHS invite was a great tune-up for our meet,” Zuelsdorf said. “Both Hatchet squads placed their top scorers in the top 10 and handled the hills in the mid-part of the race well. Many of our young ladies had 5K bests at the event as well.”
Whiting captured her 4th individual title of the season with a 19:41, nearly a minute faster than second place. The lady Hatchets also placed their five scorers in the top six places, and seven in the top ten to earn medals. Medalists were Larson (3rd, 21:48), Zedler (4th, 22:25), Renn (5th, 22:28), Kuehn (6th, 22:30), Waye (9th, 22:57) and Jones (10th, 23:04).
VanStrydonk (2nd, 17:52), McGuire (3rd, 18:14), Kaiser (4th, 18:15), Wittmann (5th, 18:18) and Johnson (6th, 18:23) led Tjugum (14th, 19:05) and Kiander (15th, 19:10) to the chute.