Somerset track teams get noticed at 2012 WIAA State Track MeetThe Somerset track teams went to the 2012 WIAA State Track and Field Championships intent on getting noticed.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The Somerset track teams went to the 2012 WIAA State Track and Field Championships intent on getting noticed.
By earning medals in five state events, the Spartans achieved that goal at the 2012 meet held Friday and Saturday at UW-La Crosse.
Somerset’s girls earned medals in the 400 meter relay, the high jump and the 200 meter dash. The Spartan boys reached the awards podium in the 110 high hurdles and the 400 meter relay.
Somerset’s girls did so well at state that they earned 15 points, which placed them 16th among the 67 Division 2 schools with athletes competing at state. Somerset’s boys earned nine points, which left them in 27th place.
Somerset’s girls definitely overachieved at state. While the Spartans had hopes of placing in several events, none was a lead-pipe cinch. Easily the biggest surprise was the Spartan 400 relay team of Natalie Broome, Lauren Rathai, Sara Henry and Siera Myer. They were seeded last among the 18 teams entered at state. Their first surprise was taking second in their heat in the prelims, which got them into Saturday’s finals. Their time of 50.17 seconds was two seconds better than the time they ran at the sectional meet.
In the finals the Spartans ran another flawless race, with Broome’s strong charge as the anchor runner getting the Spartans onto the state awards stand in fourth place.
Broome also earned a state medal for an individual performance. All season she has been locked behind New Richmond’s Kat Keller and Osceola’s Aimee Rice-Strand, two of the top sprinters in the state. Broome proved at state that she also deserves to be included in that class. She took fifth in the Division 2 200 meters in 26.10 seconds. Her time of 25.88 in Friday’s prelims was a personal best for her.
“Natalie was really at her top speed both days,” said Somerset girls coach Dave Praschak.
The Spartans were well represented in the field events by junior Sarah Krig, who competed in the high jump, pole vault and triple jump at state. Krig reached the awards stand with her fifth place finish in the high jump. She earned another point for the team by finishing eighth in the triple jump. She ranked 10th in the pole vault.
In the high jump Krig was one of five girls who tied for second place by clearing the bar at 5 feet, 4 inches. The places had to be decided on misses at previous heights, which put Krig into fifth place in the final results.
In the triple jump Krig competed in the first flight, meaning she would have to outperform several girls who qualified for state with better distances than she had. Krig did that, hitting a jump of 34 feet, 9.25 inches in the prelims. Knowing she would need a career best jump in the finals to have a chance at earning a medal, Krig increased the speed in her sprints down the runway in the finals. Krig had one attempt that would have been a personal record, but the attempt was ruled a scratch.
In the pole vault Krig was able to clear the bar at 9 feet, 6 inches. The fatigue of three events appeared to catch up to Krig in her final attempts and she wasn’t able to clear the bar at 10 feet.
“Sarah learned a great deal and now has enough experience to compete at the highest level in her three field events,” Praschak said.
The girls team has had a number of good years at state, but Praschak couldn’t say enough about this year’s effort.
“This was one of our best team performances at state,” he said.
The Spartan boys weren’t able to achieve as much as they’d hoped at state, but their performance was another step forward in the progress they’ve made the past two years.
Junior Luke Praschak started Saturday on a strong note for the Spartans by placing fourth in the 110 high hurdle finals. This was an incredibly close finish, with the second through sixth place finishers all reaching the finish line in a pack. The five of them were separated by .14 of a second.
Spartan boys coach Mike Holmquist said Praschak’s work with the team’s sprinters really paid off in improving his speed this season.
The Spartans also reached the podium in the 400 meter relay. That’s really the second half of the story in the relays. The Spartan 800 relay looked in great shape to reach the medal stand Saturday until anchor runner Alex Baillargeon pulled up with hamstring tightness. That dropped the Spartans back to ninth place.
With Baillargeon unable to run in the 400 relay, senior Luke Peters was brought in. Peters had run in the relay until suffering an injury in the New Richmond Relays. Peters stepped in flawlessly, teaming with Robbie Lang, Robbie Flom and Mitch McConaughey to set a school record of 43.77 seconds and place fifth in the state finals.
Lang also competed in the 200 meter dash finals. It was his sixth race of the state meet. Lang took ninth place in the finals in 22.75 seconds.
“He was a little exhausted,” Holmquist said. “He came out of the blocks great, but after 100 meters he didn’t have anything left in the tank.”
Somerset’s 1600 meter relay team finished 18th at state in 3:35.97. Junior Shane Miller was running with a wrap around his injured hip, but the injury affected his time. Senior Tyler Kampsula cramped, which affected his split. Junior Josh Verdeja ran the third leg. With the Spartans out of contention to advance to the finals, the coaches had Flom conserve his energy in the anchor lap, hoping to save his strength for the 400 and 800 relay finals.