Hatchet harriers run away with both events at Rhinelander’s Cavoc Ski Trails
Drew Bolder places 1st overall, Rachael Reilly 3rd
For the Tomahawk Leader
RHINELANDER – On Thursday, Oct. 1, the Hatchet Cross-Country team traveled to Rhinelander and were met ‘head on’ with the challenges of the hilly Cavoc Ski Trails, just east of town. The Hatchets were small in numbers, but up to the challenge as they swept both events over the host Hodags, Ashland, and Three Lakes. Successful strength running in the hills propelled the locals to victories.
“One of the challenges today for our athletes was getting a gauge on where you were ‘really’ at in the race with the wave starts,” said head coach John Zuelsdorf. “Our athletes in the 2nd and 3rd waves not only were some of the top ones in their waves, but closed the gap on athletes in a higher wave which really helped us a team in the overall results.”
Drew Bolder raced to his second individual invitational title of the season as he topped the 26-runner field with his time of 18:09 over 5K. The Hatchet boys placed all five scorers in the top 8, too much for any challengers to overcome. Varsity finishers for Tomahawk were Noah Buckwalter (3rd), Alex Norman (4th), Arden Ziert (5th), Hunter Borchardt (8th), and Ethan Liebnitz (11th).
Boys’ team scores were Tomahawk-21, Rhinelander-37, Ashland-71, and Three Lakes-DNS.
“Drew, Noah, and the top runner from Rhinelander went out together, but by the mile Drew started to pull away from the Rhinelander runner looking smooth as he attacked each hill and downhill stretch,” Zuelsdorf stated. “Noah’s shoe came off in the first 1000 meters and he had to stop and replace it. I’m sure that this took some valuable time and cost him some positioning. He did a nice job recovering and placing in the top three. Alex, Arden, and Hunter really did a nice job handling the challenges of the course. This will benefit us as a team later on as we are entering the important tournament stretch. Ethan is a natural strength runner so this was his type of course. It showed as he was in front of scoring runners from all the other squads!”
Freshman Rachael Reilly led the way for the Tomahawk girls, finishing 3rd overall in the 29-runner field and covering the 5K course in a time of 22:03. Placing four in the top eight and all scorers in the top half of the field were Greta Tjugum (4th), Kate Reilly (6th), Macey Mann (8th), Morgan Hansmann (14th) and Tiana Gerstenberger (21st).
Girls’ team scores were Tomahawk-30, Rhinelander-42, Ashland-51, Three Lakes-DNS.
“Rachel and Greta went out with a head of steam in wave #1 and were giving two of the state’s best (top runners from Ashland and Three Lakes) something to think about for the first mile,” Zuelsdorf said. “Even after the tough second mile they were in striking distance leading the way for us. Kate is a strength runner and to see her handle the terrain the way she did was nice. This was her best competitive race to date. It will be nice to see her on a fast course in the next two weeks! Macey and Morgan sealed the win with their performances and efforts. Tianna was able to hit her pre-race goals as well and came away with some renewed confidence competing on the varsity!”
“We’ve been in a phase of our training where we are running more at tempo pace and less at race pace or faster,” the coach continued. “This is allowing many of our athletes to get their legs back under them and it really showed. Both groups look really strong at our coaching checkpoints throughout the race.”
The Hatchets will host Mosinee, Phillips, and Three Lakes for their 44th annual Invitational at Edgewater on Thursday, Oct. 8, starting at 4:30 pm.