Jacobson reaches state podium for St. Croix Central track teamThe athletes and fans of the St. Croix Central track team held their breath for several seconds at the end of the Division 2 100 meter dash championship at the WIAA State Track Meet in La Crosse on Saturday.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The athletes and fans of the St. Croix Central track team held their breath for several seconds at the end of the Division 2 100 meter dash championship at the WIAA State Track Meet in La Crosse on Saturday.
The runners in the 100 crossed the finish line in such a pack that nobody could tell from the stands where St. Croix Central senior Korey Jacobson finished. When Jacobson’s name flashed across the large awards screen as the sixth place finisher, the Panthers were able to celebrate their first state medalist in nearly a decade.
The last Central athlete to stand on the state award podium was Megan Heinbuch, who placed fourth in the 400 meter dash in 2003. That was the first year that Central moved up to Division 2. The previous year Heinbuch had been the Division 3 state champion in the 400 meters.
Central had six individuals compete at this year’s state meet along with two boys relay teams.
Jacobson’s medal-winning effort was the result of two years where he ranked as one of the top sprinters in western Wisconsin. He finished sixth in the 100 prelims at 11.06 and he was sixth again in the finals in 11.14.
“He’s worked really hard to get into that spot,” said Panther co-coach Amanda Webb.
Central senior Steve Brunshidle ran in the Division 2 800 meters at state. As part of the slower heat in the 800, Brunshidle knew he’d have to run a career-best time to come close to placing. The coaches had hoped he’d be able to run a 57-second first lap. Instead, he ran it in 52 seconds. He led well into the second race, but he expended too much in the first lap. He ended up finishing 13th overall, but his time of 1:59.64 was just seven-hundredths off his sectional time.
“Steve was very disappointed, but he’s improved by leaps and bounds,” Webb said.
Senior D.J. Haas went into state with a goal of clearing the 12-foot opening height in the Division 2 pole vault. He cleared that height. The next height was 12-6, three inches higher than Haas’ career-best vault.
“He just missed it, he was so close,” Webb said. “He owned that event for our team.”
Senior Lauden Wood made a late-season charge in the shot put to qualify for the state meet. Wood’s best attempt at state measured 45 feet even, placing him 15th in the event.
“He worked really hard and improved a lot. He was peaking at the right time,” Webb said.
Seniors Jenna Ganther and Alyssa Melby earned return trips to state, both of them competing in the Division 2 triple jump for the second time in their careers. Fittingly, they finished within two inches of each other, Ganther taking 13th at 32 feet, 8.25 inches and Melby 14th at 32 feet, 6 inches.
The Panther boys had two relays qualify for state. The 1600 meter relay improved upon its sectional time by four seconds, moving up to 15th overall with a time of 3:28.76. It was a balanced effort, with the team of Aaron Delander, Cody Nyhagen, Carl Moll and Brunshidle all running splits in the 51-52 second range.
The Panthers’ 400 relay team was running well, but one missed handoff led to the team being disqualified. The team included Jag Johnson, Nyhagen, Dillon Holm and Jacobson.
“I think they would have had a shot to make finals. Hopefully, we can get that team down there again,” Webb said.