Somerset track teams aim for top of the Middle Border Conference meetThe goals for the Somerset track teams are slightly different, but both squads plan to be among the contenders for the 2012 Middle Border Conference championships.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The goals for the Somerset track teams are slightly different, but both squads plan to be among the contenders for the 2012 Middle Border Conference championships. The 2012 MBC track meet will be held at Osceola next Tuesday.
The Spartan boys have been aiming at the conference meet all season and their expectations have not changed.
“If we take care of ourselves, we expect to contend,” said Somerset boys coach Mike Holmquist. “We want to win it.”
Health is a concern for the Spartan boys, especially with sprinters Luke Peters and Alex Baillargeon sidelined.
Holmquist said one of the unique challenges this season is calculating all the possible events, because five teams have legitimate shots at winning the boys meet. He included the Spartans with Prescott, Osceola, Ellsworth and New Richmond as contenders for the title.
“The talent pool is so much stronger than last year. Everybody has a ton of talent,” Holmquist said.
Spartan girls coach Dave Praschak said his team faces a challenge in overcoming strong teams from New Richmond and Osceola.
“We are preparing for the opportunity if it should arise,” Praschak said of moving to the top of the conference. “The goal will be to score 100 points as early in the meet as possible and hope to finish strong.”
The Spartans teamed up for three event victories, including one record-setting performance, at last Friday’s New Richmond Relays. The Spartan boys placed fifth among the 13 teams in the meet while the Spartan girls were seventh in their half of the meet.
The record was set by the boys in the high hurdle shuttle relay. The team of Luke Praschak, Shane Miller and Max Praschak won the event in 46.51 seconds, breaking the record of 46.6 that was set by an Amery team in 2007.
Somerset’s boys were also champions in the 800 meter relay. The team of Robbie Lang, Robbie Flom, Luke Praschak and Mitch McConaughey won the event with a time of 1:31.33.
The win for the Spartan girls came in the high jump relay. Sara Henry and Sarah Krig both went 4-10 and Sam Simma cleared 4-0 to combine for the win.
One of the best moments for the Spartan girls was senior Lizzy Vanasse running her first hurdle race of the season. Vanasse joined with Krig and Sarah Northey to place third in the 100 hurdle relay.
“It was really great to see an athlete work their way back and compete. Lizzy was all smiles and her teammates are excited to have a third hurdler at practice,” Coach Praschak said.
Praschak had the girls treat The Relays as a fun meet. He worked a number of younger girls into the lineup, including going with an all-new 1600 meter relay team of sophomore Emma Lepper and freshmen Heather Hartwick, Courtney Buckland and Susan Schmitt.
The Spartan boys took a much more serious approach to the meet. The Spartans’ hopes were dealt a blow when senior Luke Peters pulled his hamstring in the 400 meter relay. The Spartans were leading the race when Peters pulled up during the second leg of the race. He hobbled the final meters to the handoff and the Spartans were still able to take third.
Holmquist said he doesn’t expect Peters to run at the conference meet, but he does hope that Peters can compete in the throwing events.
The night before The Relays, the Spartans took part in the annual Amery Invitational. This was the meet the Spartan girls took seriously and it showed, as they won the meet with a 55-point margin over second place St. Croix Central.
Coach Praschak said he wanted to use this meet as a test because New Richmond and Osceola wouldn’t be competing. He wanted to see how the Spartans compared to the rest of the MBC teams.
The biggest highlight for the Spartan girls was a school record performance by Natalie Broome in the 200 meter dash. Her time of 25.57 broke the school record set by Krissy Parnell in 1987. Broome was also the champion in the 100 meter dash on Thursday.
Northey nearly joined Broome in the record book. Northey’s win in the 100 hurdles was .03 of a second shy of the school record set by Diane Duval in 1990.
Krig had another standout meet, winning the pole vault and the triple jump while placing second to Northey in the 100 hurdles.
The Spartan boys only competed fully in a few events at Amery. The hurdle trio of the Praschak brothers and Miller took first, second and fourth in the 110 hurdles. The Spartans also competed well in the sprint relays.
The Spartans hosted their only home meet of the season last Tuesday and they handily won both halves of the quad meet with Spring Valley, Grantsburg and Barron.
The Spartan girls won 12 of the 14 individual events in their half of the meet in rolling up 127 points, compared to 81 for second place Spring Valley.
The depth of the Spartan boys showed through as Somerset totaled 131 points, compared to 61.5 for Spring Valley.