Somerset track team sets conference lineup at Central meet
One of the biggest unseen tasks for track coaches is setting lineups for every meet.
The Somerset track coaches used last Tuesday's St. Croix Central Invitational to collect the final bits of data used in setting their lineup for this Tuesday's Middle Border Conference meet.
Central's meet showed the challenge the Spartan coaches have in setting a lineup. The Somerset boys only won a single event on Tuesday, yet because of the emerging depth on the team, the Spartans were able to place second among the six boys teams competing. The Spartan girls don't have the depth of the boys team at this point, but they were able to win three event titles at Central.
Somerset coach Terry Otradovec said the coaching staff went into the Central meet decided upon about half of the entries for the conference meet lineup. Tuesday's results gave them more to think about.
One challenge for the coaches is that teams are limited to three entries per event at the MBC meet. The Spartans have become so deep in a few events, like the long and triple jump and 200 meter dash, that the coaches could have entered more than three boys in those events for the conference meet. The Spartans have had four long jumpers go beyond the 18-foot mark this season and the runners in the 200-400 range have continued to produce better times.
"It's a fun issue to have," Otradovec said of the depth on the team.
Otradovec said the strong overall performance at Central was exactly what the team wanted to have leading into the conference meet.
"We were solid in every phase," he said.
Somerset's win came in the 800 meter relay, where Roy Hale, Zac Maitrejean, Jack Peterson and Preston Kern won easily, finishing nearly two full seconds ahead of second place Baldwin-Woodville. The Spartans were also second place finishers in the 1,600 meter relay. That springs from the depth in the 200-400 area. The Spartans had six of the top 11 finishers in the 400 at Central's meet.
The long jump was another source of success, with Ty Madden, Hale and Bennett Baillargeon all finishing in the top five. In the triple jump, Baillargeon placed second and James Schachtner took third. Justin Rivard remained among the top shot putters in the area, placing second.
Other strengths began to emerge at Central. Young hurdlers Jackson Cook and Ethan Milbrod took second and third in the 300 hurdles. Ben Schmitt produced fourth and fifth place finishes in the 800 and 1,600. This late in the season, having more options like this emerge was exactly what the Spartan coaches hoped to see.
Central's meet also helped clarify where the strengths lie for the Somerset girls lineup. The sprints are a strength, led by junior Keely Pitcher. She was the champion in the 100 meters. In the 200, she placed fourth and freshman Jade Atkins placed second. They also teamed with Kaylee Erickson and Grace Lambert to produce a second place finish in the 400 relay.
The throws remain the strength of the field event lineup. Sophomore Eve Goldstein was the champion in the shot put and discus throw, with Brynn Kumlin and Adrianna Meath also placing high in the throws. This came a day after Goldstein competed against some of the best throwers in the state at the Throwdown in Mad Town meet in Madison. Goldstein broke school records in both throwing events, with a distance of 44 feet, 1 inch in the shot put and 135 feet, 5 inches in the discus throw.
Other promising events emerged for the Spartans at Central. Atkins was a fourth place finisher in the pole vault. Dani Schachtner knocked five seconds off her previous best time to place third in the 400 meters.
After competing at the conference meet, the Spartans will begin looking at their lineup for the WIAA Division 2 regional meet. This year's regional will be held next Monday at Amery, beginning at 3:45 p.m.