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Glenwood City girls place seventh in state 1,600 meter relay

LA CROSSE — There were no medals, no podium poses.

Pitted against some of the strongest competition of the past several years, neither Boyceville nor Glenwood City athletes could garner a medal of any kind at the 2015 WIAA State Track and Field Championships held last Friday and Saturday, June 5 and 6 at the Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex on the UW-La Crosse campus.

The best area finish was turned in by the Glenwood City girls’ 4 x 400 (or 1,600) meter relay. The quartet of Gabby Peterson, Jennifer Kopacz, Maya Petersen and Morgan Kadinger finished seventh in Saturday afternoon’s final to score the Hilltoppers’ and area’s only two points of the tournament. Those few points allowed the Hilltopper girls to get on the scoreboard, where they finished in 50th in the Division 3 girls standings, an honor shared with six other schools.

Even Boyceville’s returning medalists, senior Logan McAbee-Thomas and sophomore Cassie Malean, were unable to earn podium positions in their respective events.

Malean, the girls’ Division 3 state runner-up in last year’s high jump, finished tied for tenth in this year’s event. She also competed in the long jump last weekend and took 14th.

McAbee-Thomas triple jumped his way to a bronze medal at last year’s state tournament but wrapped up his senior season and prep career with a ninth place showing in that same event this past Friday.

The Toppers’ 1,600 meter relay team proved to be the bright spot in an otherwise overcast outcome for area athletes that matched the skies above La Crosse.

The Glenwood City girls’ 1,600 meter relay squad literally saved its best for the final meet of the season. Juniors Gabby Peterson, Morgan Kadinger and Maya Petersen helped give senior Jennifer Kopacz a send off she will never forget. The four ran a personal best, having some 10 seconds off their previous top time, of  4:12.51 to finish ninth in Friday afternoon’s preliminaries and qualifying for the finals the following day. The effort was just a scant two seconds off the existing school record. In Saturday’s final, the group moved up two spots to seventh after clocking the four-lap race in a time of  4:13.27.

Friday morning’s opening session for Divisions 2 and 3 was a busy one for local athletes. All six individual state qualifiers were involved in their respective competitons during that time.

Events for Cassie Malean, Erica Sempf and Tyler Krueger started immediately after the conclusion of the state championships’ opening ceremony Friday morning. Competitions for Logan McAbee-Thomas and Glenwood City’s Todd Petersen and Rachel Klatt followed in short order.

Malean actually had to compete in both the high jump and long jump simultaneously. The usually unflappable sophomore seemed to be somewhat distracted by the dual competitions, making it difficult to concentrate on either one. Malean, who a year ago cleared 5’ 3” en route to the silver medal, jumped 5’ even to finish tied for tenth with Eau Claire Regis’ Kayla Neff.

After putting up a winning jump of 16’ 11” the previous week at sectionals, Malean went just 15’ 3.5” in the state long jump competition to finish 14th.

Fellow sophomore and Boyce-ville teammate Erica Sempf had a best of 15’ 7.75” in Friday morning’s long jump preliminaries, which earned her a 12th place finish in her first state meet.

Niether Sempf or Malean qualified for the long jump finals.

While Boyceville’s two female state participants were busy in their respective events, so was their classmate Tyler Krueger. The Bulldogs’ sophomore was taking part in his first-ever state pole vault competition. Krueger cleared Division 3’s opening height of 11’ 6” but then missed three times at the 12’ and exited the competition with 13th place. Bangor junior Kellen Kravik won the event with a vault of 14’ 6”.

As the state meet for those three Bulldogs was ending, senior Logan McAbee-Thomas began his warm-ups in the triple jump. Mcabee-Thomas was looking to better his third place finish from a year ago. Although he did qualify for the finals, McAbee-Thomas was not able the medal positions (1-6) or points placement (1-8) as he finished with a best of 41’ 1.75” to take ninth in this his final high school triple jump competition.

Glenwood City individual participants Todd Petersen and Rachel Klatt also faced stiff competitions.

Petersen ran a :16.84 in Friday’s prelinimary race of the 110 meter high hurdles. That put him in 14th place with only the top ten making Saturday’s finals.

Klatt struggled with all three of her throws in the shot put. The junior, who placed 11th in last year’s D3 state competition on a throw of 34’ 4.25, tossed the shot just 28’ 11.5” and finished last among a field of 16. The distance was a good six to seven feet less than what Klatt had normally been posting in meets throughout the season.