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Spartans sweep titles at Colfax Invitational

Winning meet championships is nothing new for the Somerset girls track team, but it is ground breaking for the Spartan boys team.

Somerset swept the championships in the Colfax Invitational, run last Tuesday at Colfax High School.

Somerset's boys finished with 90 points. Cadott was second in a closely packed field, with 76.5 points.

The Spartan girls rolled up 156.5 points to score their win. Colfax took second place with 111.5 points.

The team victory was validation for a season's worth of hard work for the Somerset boys team.

"They see they're on an upward swing," said boys coach Diane Belter. "We have momentum going right now. I think they are inspired by that."

Belter said she was more impressed with the number of personal records the Spartans achieved during the meet than with the team championship.

Several of the biggest improvements for the Spartans came in the field events. Senior Cole Cloutier won the high jump, clearing 6 feet, 2 inches for the first time in a meet.

Senior Darrin Emmeck continued his rapid ascent in the shot put. He cleared the 50-foot milestone for the first time in a meet, winning with a toss of 50 feet, 3 inches. The last Spartans who cleared the 50-foot mark in the shot put were Joe Green and Trent Landry. They both had throws of more than 53 feet in their senior season of 1996.

In the other throwing event, Spartan sophomore Isaac Neumann improved on his previous best by 10 feet. His distance of 138 feet, 8 inches proved to be the winning throw in the discus event.

The hurdle events continue to produce good things for the Spartans. Alex Praschak was the champion in the 110 hurdles in 16.5 seconds.

Paul Fohrenkamm made a huge improvement in the 300 hurdles, taking second place in 43.9 seconds. That time ranks second among all of the hurdlers in the Middle Border Conference heading into this week's conference meet.

Sophomore Dylan Rivard continued to flash his potential in the 400 meters, winning in 51.5 seconds. Belter said Rivard isn't satisfied with that time and is working on his start to bring his time down further.

The Spartans locked up the team victory by winning the 1,600 relay. Praschak, Fohrenkamm, Brett Emerson and Rivard teamed up to earn that victory.

Spartan girls coach Dave Praschak said the highlight of the meet for his team was seeing the boys squad announced as team champions.

"That was the biggest excitement of the night," Praschak said, after the girls cut short their victory lap so they could celebrate with the boys. "It was pretty cool to have both teams win."

The girls won with a combination of success in running events and field events.

Freshman Elizabeth Vanasse led the field event success. She was the meet champion in the triple jump and the pole vault.

The running events were filled with wins. Lauren Westerdahl won the 100 meters and Alicia Potting the 200 meters. Christina Flandrick and Gina Hanzlik took the top two spots in the 100 hurdles. The Spartans were champs in the 400 and 800 meter relays.

Park of Cottage Grove

The Spartans took a small group of athletes to a meet at Park High School in Cottage Grove last Thursday.

There were several positive results, most notably in the girls pole vault event.

Flandrick is the school record holder in the event at 10 feet, 9 inches. The school got a new pole for her to try at the start of last week.

First Flandrick had to run the 100 hurdles, where she fell going over the third hurdle. She got up, dusted herself off, and went immediately to the pole vault. She got one warmup run through.

For the next 45 minutes she vaulted and vaulted and vaulted.

Praschak said he was hoping Flandrick would be able to clear 10 feet as she tried to adjust to the new pole. She cleared 10 feet. Then she cleared 10 feet, 6 inches. Then she cleared 11 feet to set a new school record. Then she cleared 11 feet, 6 inches to add to her school record.

It wasn't until she tried 12 feet that she missed in the event. Only three pole vaulters in the state have gone higher than Flandrick's 11-6 effort.

Vanasse also had a good day in the pole vault at Park, clearing 9 feet.

Somerset's other win at Park was scored by Sara Henry, who cleared 5 feet, 2 inches in the high jump.

Britni Weise made big advancements in the 100 hurdles and the discus at Park to help cement her place in the Spartans' conference meet lineup.

Fohrenkamm, Praschak and Cloutier led the results for the Spartan boys at Park. They both triple jumped more than 37 feet and Cloutier gave long jumping a try, clearing 18 feet. Praschak took second in the 110 hurdles and Fohrenkamm placed third in the 300 hurdles.

The Spartans begin the WIAA tournament series when they host the Division 2 regional tournament. Field events will begin at 3:45 p.m. with running events at 4:15 p.m.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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