Somerset track teams competing equally with top area programsAnticipation ran high through the Somerset track teams as they prepared for the Hudson True Team Invitational last Friday.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
Anticipation ran high through the Somerset track teams as they prepared for the Hudson True Team Invitational last Friday.
This is a meet that measures depth on the team and the Spartans, especially the boys team, was almost giddy at the chance to prove what it could do against much larger schools from western Wisconsin and the Twin Cities.
The Spartans proved they can compete evenly with some of the best programs in the area. The boys team placed third in the meet, behind Hudson and River Falls, while beating vaunted programs like Hill-Murray and Park of Cottage Grove. The Spartan girls placed sixth in the meet.
“Finishing third is a solid accomplishment from a growth perspective,” said Somerset boys coach Mike Holmquist, whose team placed sixth at the True Team meet a year ago. “The kids performed very well in very bad conditions.”
This was the second straight year that the True Team meet was held in bitter weather conditions. Holmquist said he was pleased that the Spartans didn’t let the weather affect their performances.
“There’s a perseverance aspect to it. The attitude is where it needs to be,” Holmquist said.
The leading performance for the Spartan boys came from junior Robbie Lang. In the unfavorable conditions on Friday, Lang was able to run a 22.36 time in the 200 meters. This ranks as the top time in the state this year in all divisions for the 200, according to the Wisconsin Track Honor Roll. The time also breaks the school record of 22.37 seconds set by Jay Martell in 2008.
“I don’t think I’ve seen anyone enjoy track as much as he does,” Holmquist said of Lang. “This is his playground. He loves every second of it.”
The Spartans were also champions in the 400 meter relay at the meet.
The team’s overall depth showed with the Spartans placing second in three events, third in two events and fourth in four events.
There were a number of events where the Spartans showed they can compete at the upper echelon. In the 110 hurdles, Luke Praschak placed second and Shane Miller took third. They both have times that rank in the top 10 in the state in Division 2 this year.
The improvement in the pole vault Friday had the coaches excited. Senior John Russell and sophomore Aaron Joppru both cleared 10 feet, 6 inches for the first time in a meet and sophomore Gage Kreucher cleared the 10-foot mark for the first time.
The depth in the sprints showed brightly in the open events. The Spartans took three of the top six spots in the 100 meters, with Lang finishing second, Luke Peters fifth and Robbie Flom sixth. Lang had plenty of backup in the 200 meters, where Alex Baillargeon took sixth and Flom took seventh.
The Spartan girls were able to win more events than the boys, but their depth isn’t as advanced as the boys has become.
Junior Sarah Krig was a double winner in the field events, winning the high jump and the triple jump. She also was the third place finisher in the 100 hurdles.
Junior Sarah Northey continued to bring down her time in the 100 hurdles, winning in 16.86 seconds. Northey and Krig give the Spartans tremendous depth in the triple jump. They both went beyond 32 feet on Friday, with Northey finishing second behind Krig.
The girls took second place in the 400 relay. They got third place finishes from Natalie Broome in the 200 and Sara Henry in the 400.
Girls coach Dave Praschak is trying to find girls to build up the strength in events where the team currently isn’t scoring points. He said Rachel Plourde and McKell Larson are making good progress in the throwing events. He was pleased that sophomore Emma Lepper has tried several different events to see where she fits best into the team’s plans.
The Spartans now have a week between meets. Their next competition will be next Tuesday in a new addition to their schedule, a meet at Cumberland.