Incredible depth carries New Richmond girls to 2012 MBC track championshipAn incredible showing of depth, plus standout performances from some of the elite athletes on the team, carried the New Richmond girls track team to the 2012 Middle Border Conference championship last Tuesday.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
An incredible showing of depth, plus standout performances from some of the elite athletes on the team, carried the New Richmond girls track team to the 2012 Middle Border Conference championship last Tuesday.
This is the first MBC title for the Tigers since 2006. The Tigers have won 12 conference titles in their history. Ten of them have been won under current Tiger coach Judy Weiss.
Six event championships got the Tigers the most recognition at the conference meet, but the contributions from so many girls were really the deciding factor. The Tigers won the title with 184 points, compared to 132 points for second place Osceola.
Individual championships were captured by senior Kat Keller in the 200 and 400 meters, senior Morgan Kelly in the 800 meters and junior Anna McShane in the triple jump.
There are 14 individual events in the meet. The Tigers didn’t have an entry in the discus throw. In nine of the 13 other events, the Tigers had multiple placewinners, including five events where they took three places.
“That was the highlight of the meet, getting so many kids to score points,” Weiss said. “We say ‘every point counts’ and they took it to heart.”
The depth on the team allowed the coaches to pull Keller, Kelly and several other top athletes out of the relay events so they could concentrate on scoring points in individual events. That simply meant more girls had to step up in the relays. The Tigers took two firsts and two seconds in the relays, earning 36 of a possible 40 points in those events.
The team of Carley Brotzler, Peyton Olien, Abby Blader and McShane earned the championship in the 800 relay. Olien, Emily Bischof, Maddie Kelly and Morgan Kelly teamed up to win the 1600 relay.
One of the clashes fans couldn’t wait to see at the conference meet was the battle between Keller and Osceola’a Aimee Rice-Strand in the sprints. They are two of the best sprinters in the state. In the 100 meter finals, Rice-Strand beat Keller by inches, the first time Keller has lost at a conference meet since her freshman season.
The loss only stoked Keller’s fierce competitiveness further. She came back in the 400 meters and won easily, with one of the best times of her career, 58:25. Maddie Kelly also moved up and passed Rice-Strand, taking second place.
Keller and Rice-Strand squared off again in the 200. Again it was Keller, winning with a dazzling 25.15 second time.
The Kelly sisters drew cheers down the straightaway with their comeback win in the 800. A Somerset runner went out hard in the first lap, establishing a healthy lead. Morgan Kelly tracked her down in the far curve to win the event. Maddie Kelly made a big charge in the final stretch to get second place.
McShane’s win in the triple jump was a tribute to the Tigers’ excellence in the jumping events. McShane, Erika Bohmke and Nicole Hedlund took first, third and fourth in the triple jump. Hedlund and Bohmke also ranked second and third in the long jump.
Injuries and the youngest roster in recent memory meant the Tigers saw their reign as five-time MBC champions come to an end.
The Tigers fell back to fifth this season, scoring 81 points. The Tigers ran up against one of the stronger and more balanced fields in recent years. The four teams ahead of the Tigers all scored more than 100 points in the meet.
The Tigers didn’t have an event championship to their credit until the final event, when they earned the title in the 1600 relay. Seniors Eli Kelley and Alec Knox teamed with juniors Joey Miller and Alex Charbonneau for the relay victory.
Kelley was also able to add a second place finish, doing so in the 400 meters.
While the Tigers weren’t able to maintain their streak of titles, they did show promise for the future. Charbonneau and freshman Jack Utzman performed well in the distance races, including Charbonneau taking second and Utzman fifth in the 1600 meters. Gabe Harvieux continued his rapid progress in the high jump by taking second place.
Brendan Maki has made rapid progress recently in the pole vault, taking third place. Miller has been a solid contributor in the jumps, taking fourth in the long jump.