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Track: Outdoor season starts, indoor season completed

Somerset's Jack Cook (right) was a high finisher in both hurdle races at the St. Croix Central Invitational last Thursday. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 3
Senior Mariah Withuski (right) ran the opening leg in the victorious 3,200-meter relay for the St. Croix Central girls track team in their home meet last Thursday. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 3
Jenna Rogan of St. Croix Central (right) and Paige Soderstrom of Somerset (center) take off after receiving their batons in the 800-meter relay during Thursday's outdoor track meet at St. Croix Central. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 3

New Richmond and Somerset competed at the UW-Stout Elite Meet, an indoor track meet that brought in athletes from 29 schools from all over Wisconsin and Minnesota. Stout is trying to draw top performers and with the number of meet records set on Friday, they are accomplishing that goal.

The best performance of the day for the Tigers was generated by sophomore Barb Kling. She took second place in the high jump, clearing the bar at 5-2. She was one of three girls to make 5-2, sharing a new meet record.

"That's the first 5-2 jumper we've had in many years," said Tiger girls coach Judy Weiss.

Ashton Unruh also placed in the high jump, taking seventh place by clearing 4-10.

Kling was part of the distance running crew that performed well for the Tiger girls. Kling placed eighth in the 800 meters in 2:33 and Kayla Harris was fifth in the 3,200 meters in 12:36. Weiss was particularly pleased with the competitiveness shown by sophomore Willa Rogers, who passed two girls late in the 1,600 meters to earn eighth place.

"Willa raced. You could see the fire in her eyes," Weiss said.

Two sixth place finishes were the best performances for the Tiger boys on Friday. Senior Max Fore ran a career best time of 10:28 in the 3,200 meters. That's a 17-second improvement over his time at the recent Northern Badger meet.

"Max did an outstanding job. He's put in his time, I hope he can shine this year," said Tiger boys coach Roger Reuvers.

Also placing sixth was freshman Kennan Stowers in the 400. He won his heat in 54:43, improving his best time by a half-second.

The best field event performance for the Tiger boys came from Joe Charbonneau. He matched a career best by clearing 11 feet in the pole vault, which placed seventh.

Somerset had four athletes place in the meet. But nearly every Spartan who was competing had a personal indoor best time or distance.

"It ramps it up, they get a little more juiced to compete," Somerset coach Brandon Berrey said of the competition level, saying the Spartans were just happy to compete indoors after being part of the frigid outdoor meet at St. Croix Central the night before.

Somerset's top finisher was junior Eve Goldstein, who set a personal indoor record with a distance of 43 feet, 5 inches in winning the girls shot put. Goldstein also competed on Saturday in a meet titled the Wisconsin Indoor State Meet held at UW-Whitewater. She was also the champion there, with a winning distance of 42-7.

Berrey said Goldstein incorporated a spin into her shot put delivery in the off-season and she's beginning to see her distances increase in the event.

Somerset had three boys place in field events. Senior James Schachtner was sixth in the triple jump at 39-6, junior Ty Madden was seventh in the long jump at 19-4.5 and senior Nathan Dirkes was eight in the pole vault by clearing 11 feet. All three met or exceeded their previous indoor best marks.

Nine other Spartans set indoor personal bests in the meet. An indication of the competition level came in the boys 1,600. Somerset senior Ben Schmitt won Thursday's meet in 5:01. He ran a personal best time of 4:52 at Stout on Friday, which earned him 20th place.

St. Croix Central outdoor meet

The St. Croix Central and Somerset squads were among 14 teams that opened their outdoor seasons at Central's home meet on Thursday.

It was a successful meet for Central in several ways. The coaches' biggest goal was to get all 72 athletes into at least one event, which they were able to achieve. The Panthers performed quite well, with the girls winning the meet and the boys placing second. This was primarily a running meet. The only field event held was the shot put, which was held indoors.

The Panthers scored wins in four individual events and two relays. Both Panther 3,200-meter relay teams were champions. Kolbi Juen was a winner in the 100 hurdles and Marie Hamlin was the champion of the 3,200 meters. For the Panther boys, Erik Collins produced a win in the 800, as did Joe Hueg in the shot put.

Panther coach Ben Lamb said he saw promising efforts from several athletes, among them Kourtney Labeause, Josh Burgess, Trevor Kopacz and Taden Holzer. He said the team also received excellent leadership from Jacob Murtha and Claire Moll.

Somerset was also able to get every available athlete into an event. Somerset's boys placed third in the meet with the Spartan girls ranking tenth.

Somerset had two event wins. One came in the boys 800 relay, with the same team taking second in the 400 relay. Schmitt was the champion by 12 seconds in the 1,600 meters.

The Spartans had a number of noteworthy efforts. Hunter Young took third in the shot put, improving on his personal best distance by several feet. Ethan Wegscheider placed fourth in a competitive 100-meter dash. Jackson Cook did well in both hurdle races, beating his personal best by three seconds to take second place in the 300 hurdles.

Among the girls, Emmaly Fitch was the third place finisher in the 100 hurdles. Drew Kreibich, in her first high school meet ran a 1:10 time to place seventh in the 400 meters.

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 more than 30 years.

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