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Raider Track team eyes repeat BRC titles

Hudson's Brett DuCharme clears a hurdle during the second leg of the 3x140 meter shuttle hurdle relay at the New Richmond Relays last Friday. DuCharme, Nick Jorgenson and Wade Malecha teamed up for a first-place time of 51.39 seconds to help the Raider boys take first at the 13-team meet. Photo by Dave Newman1 / 2
Hudson's Bailey Knight competes in the long jump at the New Richmond Relays last Friday. Knight cleared 13-feet, 2-5-inches to help Hudson's girls finish second at the 13-team meet. Photo by Dave Newman2 / 2

The Raider track and field teams tuned up for next week's Big Rivers Conference Championships by turning in impressive performances at the New Richmond Relays last Friday, May 4 and the Rochester Mayo Invitational Saturday, May 5.

The Raider boys took first at New Richmond and fifth at Rochester while the girls placed second at both meets.

The Raiders are off this week in preparation for the BRC Championship Meet Tuesday, May 15, at Eau Claire North. Hudson will also host the BRC JV Meet next Thursday, May 17, at Newton Field.

Hudson's boys will be trying to win their fourth straight BRC title Tuesday in Eau Claire, while the Raider girls will face some stiff competition in their quest for an eighth straight title.

"It will be really tight competition on the girls' side, with multiple schools having very strong teams and a great chance to win the title," Raider coach Jami Holum said. "It should be a great day of competition and the girls proved this past week that they are up to it."

Senior Katie Wetzstein was named the Athlete of the Meet at the Rochester Mayo Invite after winning both the 1600 and 3200 meter races. Wetzstein set a new meet record in the 1600 with a first-place time of 5 minutes, 7.23 seconds and won the 3200 meter run with a personal best time of 11:11.97. Younger sister Erin took second in the 3200 with a personal best time of 11:42.65.

Taylor Steffen also set a meet record at Rochester, winning the shot put with a throw of 39-feet, 9.5-inches. Casey Fall added a first-place leap of 10 feet in the pole vault to help the Raiders to a second-place team finish.

The Raider boys also put their name in the record books at Rochester, with Tucker Malecha, Brandon D'Andrea, Dan Kelly and Nick Jorgenson teaming up to win the 4x200 meter dash in a meet record time of 1:31.86.

The Raider boys posted three first-place finishes at the New Richmond Relays last Friday.

Malecha, Tyler Smrcina, D'Andrea and Kelly combined to win the 4x100 meter dash in 43.82 seconds, and Sam Entenza, Jorgenson, Ryan Schramm and Alex Boyer won the 4x400 meter dash in 3:31.4, while Jorgenson, Brett DuCharme and Wade Malecha won the 3x140 meter shuttle hurdle relay in 51.39 seconds.

DuCharme, Sam Somerville and Wade Malecha also took second in the 3x110 shuttle hurdle relay in 48.88 seconds.

The Raider girls' 4x800 meter relay team of Shannon Hartzell, Erin Wetzstein, Sadie Kroll and Katie Wetzstein turned in its best time of the season, winning the event in 9:54.95, while the 4x1600 meter team of Erin Wetzstein, Mary Knutson, Snyder and Kroll combined for a first-place time of 22:39.03.

Steffen threw a personal best of 40-7 to win the shot put, while Julia Douglas, Jordan Huber, Claire Zais and Katie Thielman teamed up to take second in the 4x100 meter relay with a season-best time of 50.71 seconds. The same group also took second in the 4x200 meter relay in 1:48.86.

Huber, Dakota Carlson, Catie Weese and Hartzell combined for a second-place time of 4:35.65 in the 1600 spring medley (200, 200, 400, 800), while Fall cleared 9-6 to tie for second in the pole vault.

Hudson's boys got a boost from second-place finishes in the 4x200 and 4x1600 meter relays. In the 4x200, Tucker Malecha, Smrcina, D'Andrea and Kelly teamed up for a time of 1:32.4, while in the 4x1600, Ryan Kromer, Jack Kadidlo, Logan Hammer and Grant Starr finished in 19:26.9.

Hudson's throwers got into the action by taking third place in the 4x100 meter throwers relay as Stuart Burns, Bryan Caffin, Jared Johnson and Alex Burgess combined for a time of 50.41 seconds. Caffin also took third in the shot put with a throw of 49-11.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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