Lady Hatchets win big at Smiley, boys’ team takes 4th in D2 at Wausau
By Jed Buelow
Tomahawk Leader Co-Editor, Sports, Nature Editor
All smiles. That is how you could sum up the Tomahawk co-ed cross country team’s performance at the big Smiley Invite held at the Wausau Tribute Golf Course Saturday as the Lady Hatchets took the top spot and the boys’ team finished in 4th place in Division 2.
One of the biggest high school cross country invites to take place in the region, 63 teams and nearly 2,000 runners from across the state gathered to compete for divisional bragging rights.
Tomahawk competed in D2/D3 races and the varsity girls took top honors in the overall D2/D3 race, taking down defending state champion Medford and seven other state-ranked teams to get the big win. Overall, 34 varsity D2/D3 teams competed in the race.
“Our theme this year is ”TRADITION”, and our athletes have a rich history at the Smiley. We told the squads prior to racing in each huddle that Tomahawk holds the record for most consecutive wins at Smiley in the 63 year history for both boys (10 titles) and girls (6 titles). More than any other D1-2-3 team competing,” stated Hatchet head coach John Zuelsdorf. “That may have fired each squad up as they ran well out of the gates.”
Not only did tradition fire up the Lady Hatchets to win their respective division, the boys’ team also cranked things up in Wausau as they bettered their performance from last year (7th overall/6th in D2), as they placed 5th overall and 4th in D2. The Varsity boys race was won by state-ranked Shorewood, with Sheboygan Lutheran close behind.
The JV boys started the morning off on a positive note for Tomahawk as they placed 3rd overall out of 26 D2/D3 schools, with only Shorewood and Little Chute in front of them. Not to be outdone, the JV girls placed 3rd overall out of 28 D2/D3 schools, with Kiel and Boscobel going 1st and 2nd, respectively.
The champion varsity girls were led once again by senior Haley Voermans-Dean with a nice 5K effort on a tough course, as she placed 2nd in D2 (3rd overall out of nearly 200 runners) in a time of 20:19.
Sophomore Emily Lacina, despite being under the weather with a cold, went 20:47 for 4th place in D2 and a new PR (Personal Record)! Kate Reilly helped propel the Hatchets to the title as she had her highest Hatchet team finish of the year and placed 11th in D2 in the process. Meagan Berg placed 17th in D2 to give the Hatchets their fourth medalists in D2 for the victorious Hatchets. Macey Mann (21st), Greta Tjugum (47th), and Geena Wanta (51st) rounded out the Hatchet attack.
“To PR today was a huge accomplishment. Both Emily Lacina and Alex Norman really raced outstanding in their respective varsity races as they PR’d. The day and course were not conducive to racing PR’s across the board as the course was soft and ran somewhat slower than in recent years,” Coach Z stated. “Also, for the girls to top the entire D2/D3 field for the first time in over a decade was awesome. They came into this one just wanting to compete/defeat conference rival and defending state champ
Medford. We ran with passion and confidence with each athlete knowing what they had to do to accomplish this and they were able to do it.”
In the first varsity race of the day the Hatchet boys were led by Drew Bolder as he raced to a 5th place effort in D2 (7th overall out of over 241 varsity finishers) in a time of 17:04 and earned medalist honors along with junior teammate Noah Buckwalter, who placed 11th in D2 a PR time of 17:24. Other varsity D2 finishers included Garron Albrent (39th), Alex Norman (41st in a PR 18:27), Trey Baalke (54th), Arden Ziert (55th), and Keaton Jed (57th. Shorewood and Madison Edgewood, both state-ranked teams, were the top two D2 teams.
Finishing as medalists for both 3rd place Co-Ed JV squads were: Gillian Buckwalter (6th), Hunter Borchardt (7th), Tiana Gerstenberger (11th), and Hunter VanRyen (14th). Other JV finishers for the Hatchets were: Neenah Fuste (21st), Jack Lacina (22nd), Matt Johnson (25th), Reed Zedler and Serena Reinke (both 35th in their respective races), Brady Tjugum (37th), Jacob Towle (40th), Ava Dragosh (44th), Leslie Vance (45th), Henry Calhoun (68th), Taje Casey (71st), Autumn Peissig (76th) and John Mark Hawley (109th).
The Hatchet speedsters are back in action tomorrow (Thursday) as the co-ed varsity squads travel to Big Sand Golf Course southeast of Three Lakes for the 11-team Blue Jay Invite. The meet gets underway at 4:15 pm.