5/22/2013 2:56:00 PM Track and field athletes ready for home sectionals
Rice Lake Warrior track and field athletes make their bid for state at their home venue Thursday in the Division 1 sectional. Starting time is 4 p.m. at the Rice Lake High School athletic facility. The meet brings together qualifiers from Monday's regionals at New Richmond and D.C. Everest. Qualifying for state will be the top three finishers in each event. Nine Warriors and four relay teams are in Thursday's sectional. The Rice Lake girls have qualified three individuals and one relay team, while the boys have six individuals and three relays. Qualifying from regional to sectional were the top four finishers. On the girls' side, Warrior junior Haley Strouf won two events Monday at the New Richmond Regional, including in the long jump with a school record of 17 feet and 9 inches. That surpasses the mark of 17-8.5 set in 1989 by Tiffini Schuebel. Strouf also won the 100-meter hurdles race. The Warrior boys claimed two firsts, by senior Colton Robach in the 300-meter hurdles and junior Brandyn Christman in the long jump. The other boys' highlight was senior Ellwood Ellenson's sectional-qualifying performances in three events: high jump, triple jump and long jump. Strouf's record-setting long jump of 17 feet and 9 inches was 6 inches better than her seeding distance and 6 1/2 inches better than runner-up Stefani Friedenfels of Menomonie. Strouf won the 100-meter hurdles in 15.71 seconds, also better than her seed time and ahead of Eau Claire North's Crystal Bethke's 16.36 time. "Watching Haley race the 100-meter hurdles you would never guess that this is her first year hurdling. She is focused right now and peaking at the right time in both the hurdles and long jump," said Warriors girls' coach Brooke Schmidt. Sophomore Dana Brettingen missed by one place qualifying for the sectional in the 100-meter hurdles but did qualify in the 300-meter hurdles race with a third place in 49.8 seconds, a personal best. The other individual qualifier for the Rice Lake girls was junior Josie Buckley with a second place in the shot put. Buckley's throw of 34 feet and 8.75 inches was more than a foot better than third place. Hudson senior Taylor Steffen dominated the event at 40-9.25. Rice Lake's 4x800-meter relay team qualified with a fourth place, with Maddie Carlsen, Stephanie Baribeau, Jenna Tomesh and Samantha Stone running the four legs in 10 minutes and 39.66 seconds.
Robach seeded No. 1 Colton Robach enters Thursday's sectional as the No. 1-seed in the 300-meter hurdles after his regional victory in 40.01 seconds. The Warrior senior was nearly 2 seconds ahead of Menomonie's Taylor Strand. Robach will also run in two relays Thursday. Christman won the long jump Thursday with a leap of 21 feet and 4.5 inches, with teammate Ellenson in fourth at 20-9.5. Christman and Ellenson also both qualified in the triple jump. Christman was second at 42-11, and Ellenson fourth at 42-1. Menomonie's Dylan Harmston won with 44-4.25. Ellenson added his third sectional event by placing second in the high jump. He was one of four jumpers clearing 5 feet and 10 inches. The other three Rice Lake boys qualifying individually are sophomore Ben Widdes in the 200-meter dash, senior Nate Tripp in the 3,200-meter run and junior Shawn Magee in the 400-meter run. Widdes ran a time of 22.76 seconds to claim second place in the 200, behind winner Brandon D'Andrea of Hudson in 22.41. Tripp was third in the 3,200 at 10 minutes and 6.21 seconds, and Magee placed fourth in the 400 a 53.38 seconds. The Rice Lake boys qualified four of their relay teams, led by the second place in the 4x200-meters. Running that race were Max Osterbauer, Isaiah Secrest, Widdes and Robach in 1:31.58, just behind winning River Falls' 1:31.21. Warriors boys' coach Jared Sasada said the 4x200 will be tightly contested at the sectional. "There are five teams within half a second of on another. They are Antigo, Stevens Point, River Falls, Hudson and us," said Sasada. The Warriors also placed third in the 4x400, with Christman, Shawn Gilbert, Magee and Robach running a 3:31.42, and fourth in the 4x100, with Osterbauer, Secrest, Brenden Seboe and Widdes finishing in 45.57 seconds. "It was a hard-fourth regional, and we all walked away knowing we left it all on the track," said Sasada. "For those individuals who did not make it to the sectional, most of them had their best times or distances of the year." Closes misses in qualifying for the Warrior boys included sophomore Eric Western's fifth place in the 400, sophomore Henry Ellenson's fifth place in the discus and junior Peter White's tie for fifth in the pole vault. Close misses for the Rice Lake girls included senior Shelby Solum's fifth place in the triple jump and her pair of sixth places in the long jump and 400.