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Spartan girls capture sixth at state meet

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Somerset's girls were hoping to make an impact at the 2009 WIAA State and Track and Field Championships.

The Spartans certainly fulfilled that goal, earning medals in four events as they placed sixth in the Division 2 girls team competition at UW-La Crosse over the weekend.

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The top finish for the Spartan girls came in the 400-meter relay, where the team of Gina Hanzlik, Alicia Potting, Tasha Kandakova and Lauren Westerdahl earned second place.

The Spartans earned third place in two individual events. Christina Flandrick took third place in the pole vault and Potting was the third place finisher in the triple jump.

The fourth place-winning event for the Spartans was the 800-meter relay, where Flandrick, Potting, Kandakova and Westerdahl combined to take fourth place.

With these performances the Spartans were able to amass 26 points, putting them in sixth place.

The Spartans were part of an elite showing by the Middle Border Conference, particularly in the girls meet. Osceola placed third in the girls team competition, with 43 points. Amery and Baldwin-Woodville tied for 15th with 14 points each.

Osceola's Brea Tinney was the state champion in the 1,600 and 3,200 meter races and Amery's Kelly Stewart was the champion in the 800 meters.

Relays

Somerset's relays have been outstanding all season. Performing well at the state meet became one of the early goals of the relay teams and they achieved that goal.

In the 400 meter relay Somerset knew that Milwaukee Lutheran would be their biggest obstacle.

Lutheran then put together the best time in the prelims, where the Spartans ranked second. In the finals it again became a race between Lutheran and Somerset. Lutheran was able to build a slight edge and maintained it, with the Spartans coming in a strong second in 50.71 seconds.

Earlier in the day the Spartans were able to finish fourth in the 800 relay. With Westerdahl, Kandakova and Potting, all juniors, running in both of the state relays, the Spartans are in a good position to continue their relay success.

In addition to being part of the two place-winning relays, Westerdahl also made the finals in the 100 meter dash. Westerdahl placed ninth in the 100 dash finals, in 12.94 seconds.

Flandrick and Hanzlik

Flandrick and Hanzlik, the Spartans' two seniors at state, were the backbone of the Spartans success this season and made vast contributions to the team through all four years of their high school careers.

Flandrick is a physically intimidating powerhouse of an athlete. She has chiseled arms and legs. That strength served her especially well in the pole vault. Flandrick has been one of the top vaulters in the state all season and that continued at state. Saturday's vaulting events were moved into Mitchell Hall because of the heavy rains. Flandrick cleared 10 feet, 6 inches to take third place in the state event.

One of the biggest smiles at the state meet belonged to Hanzlik after she earned her medal in the 400 relay. Hanzlik has had more than her share of near misses in trying to reach the state awards stand during her career.

While Hanzlik didn't place in the long jump this year, she holds the rare distinction of being a state qualifier in the event in all four years of her career. She finished 12th in the long jump this year, with a best jump of 16 feet, 4.5 inches.

Hanzlik and Flandrick both reached the finals in the Division 2 100 meter hurdles. They were the only teammates to reach the finals in either of the girls hurdle races in any division at the state meet. Hanzlik finished eighth in the state race in 16.24 seconds and Flandrick finished ninth in 16.55 seconds.

Potting

Potting shares the initials (A.P.) with Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. While Peterson's nickname is "All Day," Potting's could be "All Purpose."

Potting earned medals in three events at state and has several other events like the high jump and long jump where she had a realistic chance to get to state.

Potting's performance in the triple jump showed her competitiveness. She improved on nearly every jump in the prelims and finals at state.

Her first jump was 31 feet, then 33 feet. In her final jump of the prelims she hit a jump of 35 feet, 4 inches, which moved her up into third place.

In the finals, Krystal Sterling of Pewaukee hit a jump of 35 feet, 8 inches to move past Potting, but the move was temporary. Potting's first jump of the finals was 35 feet 7 inches. Then in her second jump, she sprung out to 36 feet, one-half inch, becoming the first Spartan girl to ever triple jump beyond the 36-foot mark.

Emerson

Sophomore Monica Emerson continued her progress as a middle distance runner by placing 15th in the Division 2 800 meter run at the state meet. This comes on the heels of Emerson advancing to state in cross country last fall.

Emerson's time in the 800 at the state meet was 2:26.67.

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