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By Amber Hayden
LA CROSSE — Glenwood City senior Hadin DeSmith saved his best performance for his last-ever high school competition.
Fueled by some disappointment suffered the previous day and a desire to represent his school in the best way he knew how, DeSmith ran a personal record time in the finals of the boys’ division 3, 110 meter high hurdles. That effort, a :15.12, garnered DeSmith the state bronze medal in the event held Saturday, June 1st. Saturday was the second and final day of competition at the 2019 WIAA State Track and Field Championships at Veterans’ Memorial Field Sport Complex on the UW-La Crosse campus.
“Saturday was perfect weather for Hadin,” Glenwood City head coach Carrie Blanchard explained, after temperatures reached into the 90s during Friday’s competition. “He not only finished in third, but he got his personal record in the 110 hurdle event.”
DeSmith had topped his previous best time, set the week before at the sectional meet in Cameron, by more than two-tenths of a second and a half second better than his qualifying time of :15.62 in Friday’s state preliminary race. He finished behind state champion Mason Malm of Loyal and runner-up Isaac Michels from Regis.
“In my sectional prelim, I ran a :15.33 and that was my PR (Personal Record),” said DeSmith. “Then today I finished with a :15.12. So I PR’ed by two-tenths of a second so it was really nice.”
DeSmith explained that after the 110 hurdle event he was surprised and had to ask himself if he had really finished in third place, and when he looked at the board and saw he was correct all he could say is it was crazy.
“I was surprised,” admitted DeSmith. “I crossed the finish line and I am like ‘Did I just finish third?’ and was really happy and then I looked up at the board and I saw the time and my placement and I was like WOW – this is crazy. Just looking around at everyone and just realizing that I was top three in the state for division 3 high hurdles made me feel amazing.”
For DeSmith, the finals of the 110 meter high hurdles was a bit of redemption for him after his poor showing in the high jump event on Friday.
“Friday coming in I was really focusing on the hurdles,” stated DeSmith. “I just couldn’t really focus on my high jump. After I didn’t finish well at all, I was a little upset with myself and like now I really need to focus on the hurdles and really try and get into the finals to represent GC in the right way.”
DeSmith finished in 22nd place in the high jump after he was unable to clear the height of 5’10”, he normally makes six feet with little trouble. Hadin finished with a height of 5’ 08” in the D3 state high jump competition which was won by Matt Davis of Benton Co-op who jump 6’ 06” with Kaden Piechocki of Schicton going 6’ 05” to take second.
The 110 meter high hurdles final also marked the meet’s scariest moment. Bret Kostka of Osseo-Fairchild caught his back foot on a hurdle and fell face first to the track. Kostka laid motionless for a few seconds as medical staff rushed onto the track. He attempted to get up but collapsed into the arms of officials. Racing was halted for nearly an half hour while Kosta was treated before being placed on a backboard and stretcher and taken by ambulance to an area hospital. Regis’ Jack Nicolai also fell on the next set of hurdles and was disqualified.
On the strength of DeSmith’s six team points from his third-place finish, the Hilltopper boys finished in a four-way tie with Pepin/Alma. Cadott and Menominee Indian for 37th place in final Division 3 standings. Aquinas won the boys’ state championship with 58 points and Wild Rose took second with 43 points at the 124th annual WIAA state meet which is the oldest in the nation. This year also marked the 30th year the meet has been held at UW-La Crosse.
Unfortunately, the Hilltopper ladies did not place among the 69 teams that competed. Leading the Division 3 points was Aquinas, once again, who capped a sweep of the D3 state team titles by taking first in the girls’ competition with 36 points and Edgar scored 33 points to finish with the silver trophy.
“I am extremely proud of how the athletes performed at the state meet,” said Coach Blanchard. “Friday was a hot day and our athletes were not used to participating in that type of weather.”
Glenwood City had two girls relay teams competing on Friday, May 31, neither the 4x400m nor the 4×800 meter relay teams qualified for Saturday’s championship races.
Bella Rassbach, Hanna Strehlo, Lexi Wannemacher, and Kenzie Strong were all part of the 4×400 meter relay team that competed Friday and finished 14th. The four girls finished with a time of 4:18.60 which was just under four seconds slower than the team that placed tenth.
The team of Gabby Moede, Kinzie Strong, Isabel Draxler, and Izzy Williams finished in 18th place in the 4×800 meter relay which was held Saturday morning after clocking a time of 10:47.78 which was 38 seconds slower than Weyauwega-Fremont who finished tenth.
After qualifying for the final in the 300 meter hurdles on Friday with a time of :49.44 and a tenth-place finish, sophomore Lexi Wannemacher was disqualified in Saturday’s final. After the last hurdle, according to Coach Blanchard, Wannemacher’s legs gave out and when she fell, her hand landed outside of her lane causing the disqualification.
“I’m looking forward to many more years coaching Glenwood City track,” explained coach Blanchard. “This was my first year as a head coach and it was a learning experience.”