Varsity Hatchet harriers sweep Fall Creek Cricket Invite
For the Tomahawk Leader
FALL CREEK – The Tomahawk Hatchet cross country team traveled west to Fall Creek to compete against 12 other schools in the 26th annual Cricket Invite on Saturday, Sept. 11.
For the seventh year in a row and 16th time in the last 17 years, Tomahawk brought home the overall combined score team traveling trophy. The Hatchets swept the varsity meet, winning both races, and the JV girls won their event, while Ty Anthes captured the individual JV boys’ title.
“We haven’t make the trek to Fall Creek since 2018 due to COVID-19 in 2020 and a rain out in 2019, so only a handful of our seniors had any experience on this course,” said head coach John Zuelsdorf. “Many of our athletes were surprised by the challenges that this course presented. It’s very hilly, and most of the hills occur in the last third of the course. After working out this week at Kings Hill, our athletes were mentally ready for the course, but the heat and humidity really exacerbated the hills on the course.”
The varsity boys handled the hilly and challenging course and were led by medalists Presley Gutbrod (6th-19:30) and Arden Ziert (10th-19:47). The remaining Hatchet harriers were separated by only 15 seconds for their best scoring pack effort of the season. Sam Zastrow (13th-20:14), Owen Dickrell (14th- 20:15), and Brett Borchardt (18th-20:39). Additionally, Jacob Towle (30th) and Taje Casey (49th) rounded out the varsity boy’s in the 67-runner field.
“It was nice to see our boys in the thick of things at this meet,” Zuelsdorf stated. “They knew going in that if our scoring pack all ran solid races with no falters, we would challenge the top teams. Our pack stayed tight, and we had all five scorers in prior to most teams’ number three. That combination is hard to beat. To run well going into a meet like Smiley next weekend will only help and provide confidence.”
The 9th-ranked (in State-D2) varsity girls remained undefeated as they captured their third invitational title of the season, placing two runners in the top ten as medalists. They were led by the 4th- and 5th-place finishes of Rachael Reilly and Emily Lacina in times of 22:11 and 22:23, respectively. Other Lady Hatchets contributing to the championship were Macey Mann (12th), Morgan Hansmann (16th), Ava Dragosh (23rd) and Geena Wanta (25th).
The junior varsity girls ran to a team title as well, showcasing the Hatchet depth. The girls edged Durand by six points to claim the title. The JV boys did not have enough competitors to score as a team; however, both Hatchet entries were medalists. JV co-ed medalists for Tomahawk were Ty Anthes, who won his race, along with Sophie Urmann (2nd), Alli Palmer (3rd) and John Mark Hawley (4th). Other JV finishers were: Marie Gorell (6th), Serena Reinke (7th), Kambyl Mattke (8th), Halle Derleth (9th), Izzy Lee (12th), and Arawen Alberg (13th).
“It’s very difficult to single out just a few athletes today with such a solid team effort,” Zuelsdorf said. “When you nearly sweep all four races, it’s usually due to the fact that everyone is contributing, it’s not just a few athletes having success.”
The Hatchets’ next meet is set for Saturday, Sept 18, when they will compete in the prestigious 60+-team Smiley Invitational at a new course located at Wausau East High School on the northeast side of Wausau. Racing gets underway at 8:30 a.m. with the boys JV D2/3 combined race.
Zuelsdorf noted that the team has done a good job of handling its recent long trips to meets.
“It was great to get to compete against these different teams across the state,” he stated. “However, it will be nice to run in our own backyard in Wausau next week at the Smiley.”
Athletes of the Week
Emily Lacina, 5th-place medalist
“Most outside of our program don’t know it, but Emily has been on the mend since the end of last season. It’s nice to see her at Fall Creek looking near 100% for the first time in a while! She has worked so hard to get back to that level, and it’s starting to show. She had an incredible week of practice as well going into this meet. Additionally, her leadership skills with the team are really helping the younger athletes on a daily basis.”
Ty Anthes, JV champion
“Ty is in his first year of high school cross country, and yet he has found his niche, getting better each race as he grows as a cross country runner. It was nice to see him get his first individual race title, medal and lead the field from start to finish in the process!”