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Boys track team ties River Falls for first

Raider junior Don Clark leads the pack early in the 3200 meter run at the Northern Badger Indoor Track and Field Classic last Saturday at Johnson Fieldhouse in Menomonie. Clark finished sixth with a time of 11 minutes, 1.31 seconds helping the Raider boys' tie River Falls for first place in the 14-team Large School Division.

Ryan Schramm and Alex Beyer finished first and second in the 400 meter dash, John Uchytil set a new Raider sophomore record in the pole vault, and Bryan Caffin threw a personal best to win the shot put at the Northern Badger Indoor Track and Field Classic at UW-Stout's Johnson Fieldhouse in Menomonie last Saturday.

Hudson finished in a tie with River Falls for first place in the 14-team Large School Division with 90 points. La Crosse Central was a distant third with 75.

One week after winning the season-opening Blue Devil Invite in Menomonie, Raider coach Gerry Uchytil said the team continued to improve at the same venue Saturday, and credited the athletes' off-season training for getting them prepared.

"We're happy with the progress we are making and can see how valuable the Raider Elite program is for off-season training," he said. "With the weather the way that it is, we are doing our best to get in good smart practice, but it's been a challenge."

The Raiders posted three first place finishes Saturday, including Schramm and Beyer finishing one-two in the 400 meter dash. Schramm won with a time of 53.65 seconds while Beyer was second in 54.33.

John Uchytil cleared 13-feet, 4-inches in the pole vault to take first and set a new Hudson sophomore record, while Tyler Anderson gave Hudson two of the top five spots with a fifth place height of 11 feet.

Caffin bettered his fourth place throw of 55 feet in the shot put at last year's state meet by 10.5 inches Saturday to take first for the second straight week, while junior Jared Johnson was third at 50-0.75, also a personal best.

Sprinters Brandon D'Andrea and Dan Kelly picked up points in both the 200 meter dash and 55 meter dash. D'Andrea was second in the 200 in 23.18 seconds and Kelly was sixth in 24.28, while in the 55, D'Andrea finished sixth in 6.81 seconds and Kelly was eighth in 6.91.

Wade Malecha was fourth in the 55 meter hurdles in 8.4 seconds and Jack Kadidlo took sixth in the 1600 meter run in 4 minutes, 47.48 seconds, while Don Clark finished sixth in the 3200 in 11:01.31. Luca Trento just missed qualifying for the 55 hurdle finals with the ninth fastest time in the preliminaries -- 9.0 seconds.

Noah Holden just missed scoring in the high jump by tying for ninth place with a leap of 5-3, while Parker Vogler also cleared 5-3 to finish 12th.

Greg Frechette was the Raiders' top finisher in the 800 meter run, placing 10th with a time of 2:14.3, while Michael Laraia finished 14th in 2:17.5. Noah Burns finished 13th in the 3200 with a time of 11:35.87, and Reid Schwechler was 18th in the 1600 in 5:12.57.

Malecha also finished 13th in the triple jump with a distance of 36-10, and took 16th in the long jump with a leap of 16-11.25, while Vogler was 18th in the long jump at 16-6.

Coach Uchytil said he's pleased with the performance of the team in its first two indoor meets, but everybody is looking forward to better weather.

"We already have athletes who have PR'd from last year and that again is a testament to their off season training," he said. "So we are happy, but can't wait to actually get outside and have 'real' track practice."

The Raiders will head to the University of Minnesota Fieldhouse for their next indoor meet this Saturday, March 30, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

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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