All-American meet lives up to its name
The All-American Track Meet lived up to its name and the New Richmond and Somerset track teams will be better from the experience.
New Richmond and Somerset took part in the annual indoor meet at UW-River Falls on Saturday that attracts many of the best teams from the Twin Cities and western Wisconsin.
Nineteen schools brought teams to the meet. New Richmond boys coach Roger Reuvers may have been most accurate when he compared the talent at this meet to the teams the Tigers will face at the Division 1 track sectional meet.
"Anoka and Lakeville have to be comparable to Wausau and Stevens Point," Reuvers said in comparing the top teams from Saturday's meet to the teams that are usually the most potent at the sectional meet. "This was very top notch competition for this early in the year."
New Richmond and Somerset both stood up well against the strong competition on Saturday. The New Richmond girls placed seventh and the boys placed eighth. Somerset's girls earned a fifth place finish while the Spartan boys were 15th.
New Richmond's girls finished in third place in three events, with senior McKenzie Kelly involved in all three. Kelly ran to third place in the 800 meters, then jumped to third place in the triple jump. She teamed with Mary Balow, Shelley Stockey and Morgan Kelly for a third place finish in the 1600 meter relay.
Freshman Kat Keller continues to establish herself in the sprints, taking fourth place in the 55 and 200-meter dashes.
Molly Holland placed sixth in the high jump by clearing 4 feet, 11 inches.
The Tiger boys were led by senior Jake Wickham. In his first race of the year Wickham was able to run a 4:42 time in the 1,600 meters, taking second place.
Wickham opened some eyes as the Tigers' anchor runner in the 1600 relay. Wickham has always run longer distances, but was a late addition to the relay when a teammate was ill. Wickham ran a 52.8 second time in the 400, showing he has the ability to drop down and help in the middle distances. He teamed with Nate Suo, Cody Taubman and Tyler Wilson to take fifth in the 1,600 relay.
The hurdles continue to be a strong area for the Tigers. Suo was third in the 55 hurdles, with Taubman placing sixth. Taubman also took eighth place in the long jump. Patrick Hailey was the winner in the 55 hurdles at the JV meet on Friday night.
Freshman Tyler Cran made another strong showing, placing fourth in the 400 meter dash. The 800 meter relay team of John Peper, Tony Stockey, Anthony Hennlich and Shaun Peper placed fifth in the meet.
The throwing events look like they should be solid again for the Tigers. Seniors Blake Jacobson and Alex Thorson placed sixth and seventh in the shot put.
Some of the less experienced Tiger runners put together a good effort in the 3,200 meter relay. Scott Anderson, Jake Bellows, Elijah Kelley and Dalton Sabby combined for an eighth place finish in the race.
Somerset's girls continue to make an early-season splash. The Spartans were led on Saturday by senior Christina Flandrick. She earned the team's only individual title, as the only girl to clear 9-6 in the pole vault. She also placed fourth in the 55 hurdles.
Somerset's 800 relay team looked crisp. Freshman Elizabeth Vanasse was moved into the lineup with Lauren Westerdahl, Tasha Kandakova and Alicia Potting and they were able to finish third in the race. Their 1:50.63 time was quite respectable for this early in the season.
Westerdahl and Potting also did well in individual events. Westerdahl was third in the 55-meter dash, with Potting taking eighth. Westerdahl also reached a personal best in the long jump, with a jump of 15-5, to take second place.
Potting tied for second place in the high jump, clearing 4-11. Kandakova came back to take third place in the 200 meter dash.
Vanasse also earned a point for the Spartans by taking eighth place in the pole vault, clearing eight feet.
The Spartan boys were able to earn points in three events. Dylan Rivard ran another strong race in the 400 meters, taking fourth in 54.86 seconds.
Alex Praschak made a strong advance in the 55 meter hurdles to place seventh on Saturday. Cole Cloutier showed some excellent possibilities in the high jump, clearing 5-10 to take eighth place.
Somerset's indoor season is now complete, but New Richmond has two meets in the upcoming days. The Tigers will be back at the River Falls facility on Thursday, before competing at Menomonie next Tuesday.