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Track teams hit stride at Northern Badger

Julia Johnson, left, and Racheal Knoke both clear a hurdle during the 55 meter hurdle event at last Tuesday's scrimmage in River Falls. Photo by Bob Burrows1 / 2
Hudson sophomore Luke Wusterbarth stays on the outside shoulder of River Falls' senior Colin Rogers during the 1600 meter run last Tuesday in River Falls. Photo by Bob Burrows2 / 2

Both the Raider boys' and girls' track and field teams appeared to be in midseason form at Saturday's Northern Badger Classic in Menomonie.

Competing in the 14-team Large Division, the girls finished third while the boys placed fourth at the first indoor meet of the season, hosted by UW-Stout.

Both teams competed at the Tartan Indoor meet Tuesday and will take part in the All-American Invitational this weekend at UW-River Falls' Knowles Center. The JV portion of the invite will be held Friday beginning at 4 p.m. with the varsity set for Saturday with a 10 a.m. start.

Last Saturday, the Raider girls collected 65 points to finish third in the team standings behind Somerset (74.5) and Menomonie (67.5).

"The girls had a very strong showing so early in the season, and with such a new group of athletes," girls' head coach Jami Holum said. "The scrimmage meet earlier in the week really helped to get the bugs out and gave them a chance to experience track before the meet, and it was evident."

Freshman Katie Wetzstein made her first varsity meet a memorable one by placing third in the 800 meter run in 2 minutes, 33.58 seconds and fourth in the 1600 in 5:39.82 to pick up 11 team points.

Fellow freshmen Sarah Kehoe and Katelyn Gross finished fifth and seventh, respectively, in the 3200 meter run with times of 13:13.69 and 13:27.93 while another newcomer, junior Dani Krinke, made the finals in a very tough 55 meter dash field and finished eighth with a time of 7.98. She qualified with a time of 7.85.

But the first-year participants weren't the only Raiders who looked impressive Saturday. Hudson returns 12 girls with state meet experience from a year ago and displayed plenty of firepower in the first meet of the season.

Senior Hardisha White placed third in both the long jump (15 feet, 5.5 inches) and triple jump (32-7.5) to earn a team-high 12 points while junior Nicole Bruegger took fourth in the 400 meter dash in 1:05.97.

Senior Alicia Bower took second in the shot put with a toss of 37-3 while Jamie Lindstrom broke the Raiders' sophomore record in the shot put with a throw of 35-3, good enough for fourth place.

In the 200 meter dash, sophomore Angela Tipp finished fourth in 28.18 seconds whole sophomore Erika Tipp was sixth in 28.78. The Raiders also had three runners in the top eight in the 800. In addition to Katie Wetzstein's third place finish, junior Keri Wetzstein placed seventh in 2:37.95 and senior Kaila Fouks was eighth in 2:39.52.

In the boys' competition, Tyler Smith, Dylan Coyer and Nicholas Cadwallader all posted second place finishes and, Jacob Ball, Benjamin Wilen and Ben Ludgatis each finished third to lead the Raider boys to a fourth place team finish.

Tomah won the boys' meet with 93 points followed by Anoka, Minn., with 89.5, La Crosse Central with 82 and Hudson with 81.5.

"I was very happy with the boys' performance," head coach Tom Klatt said. "Some of the new guys really stepped up to the plate. Our sprinters did a great job, and we are looking forward to getting to outdoor meets to really let them open it up on the straight-aways without all of the turns."

Smith, a junior, posted a second place time of 6.80 in the finals of the 55 meter dash to take second after qualifying with a time of 6.86. Coyer took second in the 3200 meter run in 10:14.36 while teammate Mathew Rudquist was fourth in 10:17.7. Both runners are sophomores. Cadwallader, a junior, took second in the long jump by clearing 18 feet, 11 inches.

Ball, a junior, took third in the 1600 meter run with a time 4:44.91 while classmate Wilen was third in the high jump with a leap of 5-8 and senior Ludgatis was third in the shot put with a toss of 48-4.

Senior Mitch Patrick placed fourth in the pole vault with a height of 11-6 while junior Travis Hilden finished fifth in the triple jump with a distance of 38-4. Junior Nicholas Schumacher placed fifth in the 400 meter dash in 56.26 seconds and senior Dan Schloesser was fifth in the 800 in 2:10.32.

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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