Somerset track teams sharing successBoys and girls track teams generally practice together, so it serves the track program well when both teams are competing at a high level.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
Boys and girls track teams generally practice together, so it serves the track program well when both teams are competing at a high level.
That is the case for the Somerset track teams, which both enjoyed a high level of success in their meets last week. At the St. Croix Central Invitational last Thursday, the Spartans were champions in both halves of the 12-team meet. Two days earlier at the Menomonie Indoor Invitational at UW-River Falls, the Spartan boys were champions while the Somerset girls took third place among the eight teams.
The Spartan boys fared well in the indoor meets, but they were excited to see what they could do in their first outdoor meet of the season on Thursday. The biggest story for the Spartans Thursday was the performance of the relay teams. The relay teams wanted to gauge themselves against the times they were running at the end of last season. The Spartans swept the relay titles in the boys meet at Central and all four relays were within a second of the times they ran at the sectional meet last year.
Somerset coach Mike Holmquist credited this success to the work the runners did in the off-season, using the 3,200 relay as an example. At Central’s Invite last year, the Spartans were near the back of the pack in this relay. This year, with the same team of Tyler Kampsula, Jake Wishard, Emmitt Foster and Josh Verdeja, the Spartans won the race by four seconds.
Having nearly 70 boys out for the team has helped too. Runners have stepped up to fill roles in several of the relays. This has freed up runners like Robbie Lang, Robbie Flom and Alex Baillargeon to compete in more open events, piling up more team points for the Spartans.
The Spartans had a number of top finishes. Juniors Luke Praschak and Shane Miller ran almost identical times to take the top two places in the 110 high hurdles. Tyler Ledbeter won the triple jump by more than three feet with a personal best distance of 41 feet, 1 inch. Lang took second place in the 100 meters and Flom took second place in the 200 meters.
Recording wins for the Spartan boys in the indoor meet last Tuesday were Praschak in the 55 meter hurdles, Lang in the 55 meter dash and Verdeja in the 800 meters.
The Spartan girls were able to rise to the top at Central on the strength of five first place finishes. Junior Natalie Broome continues to make steady progress in the sprints, winning the 100 and 200 dashes. Junior Sarah Northey was the champion in the 100 hurdles. Junior Sarah Krig took the top spot in the high jump. The Spartans’ 400 relay team of Broome, Lauren Rathai, Siera Myer and Courtney Buckland was also able to come out on top.
The girls team is also developing a more balanced attack. They had one girl in the top five finishers in every individual running event. Runners like Myer, Heather Hartwick, Sarah Brown and Grace Becher all made solid contributions to the team’s point total.
The Spartans also recorded a number of wins in the final indoor meet. Broome took the top spot in the 55 meter dash. Krig was a double winner, topping the competition in the pole vault and the triple jump. Rathai took first place in the long jump, with a leap of 15 feet, 3 inches.
There are more big meets on the horizon for the Spartans. Their depth will be challenged on Friday, when they compete in the Hudson True Team Meet. Next Tuesday the Spartans will take part in the Osceola Invitational.