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By Amber Hayden
LA CROSSE — It was a struggle for both the Colfax Vikings and the Elk Mound Mounders as both schools competed in the 2019 WIAA State Track and Field Championship on the UW-La Crosse campus last Friday and Saturday, May 31 and June 1.
It was the 30th year the event as been held at Veterans’ Memorial Field Sports Complex at UW-La Crosse and the 124th year that the meet, the oldest high school track and field state championship in the nation, has been organized for track and field athletes from across Wisconsin.
“If you asked most of the kids, I think they would say they left the State meet a little disappointed,” said Vikings’ head coach Ryan Krall. “The kids in many cases were very honest with themselves that they just didn’t perform very well this time around, but I don’t think it will deter any of them from working at it in order to get back to state again next year.”
The Colfax ladies were able to place in a five-way tie for 60th place after getting two points in the discus throw from junior Morgan Jensen. Aquinas of La Crosse took the girls’ Division 3 state title with 36 points while Edgar was second with 33 points.
The Colfax boys did not score or place in Division 3. The Aquinas boys also claimed the state D3 championship with 58 points and Wild Rose finished in second with 43.
Finishing in first and second in Division 2 was Rice Lake with 47 points and Freedom with 38.5, The Elk Mound boys, represented by the 4×400 meter relay team, did not place.
Morgan Jensen was the first to compete for Colfax, taking part in Friday morning’s, May 31 Division 3 discus event. The junior finished in seventh place to earn the only two points for either Vikings team. Jensen threw a best 112’ 8” in the state competition less than ten feet behind Leah Zemke from Marathon who took first place with a throw of 122’ 2”.
Ed Hydukovich also competed in the boys’ discus throw on following morning, Saturday, June 1, and finished in tenth place with a throw of 136’ 3” just missing the chance at a medal by ten feet as well. The top eight finishers earn points while the top six earn medals. Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah junior Finn Shields won the D3 discus state title with a throw of 176’.
“Morgan and Ed both had high hopes of podium spots in the discus competition, but both fell short this year,” Krall explained. “They are both a couple of the best throwers in our entire area – I’m confident that they will put the effort in to achieve their lofty goals next year.”
Senior Jeremy Artist suffered a hamstring injury after the 100 meter dash and was unable to compete in the 200 meter dash event. During the 100 meter preliminaries, Artist finished with a Friday qualifying time of :11.55 to take seventh and finished in tenth place with a time of :11.36 in Saturday’s final.
“The fact he (Artist) ran into an injury at state as a senior was one of the worst things I’ve had to watch as a coach,” Colfax coach Krall explained. “Despite injuring his hamstring on Friday, he gutted out a great performance 100 meter dash finals Saturday.”
Artist missed placing in a medal spot by one-tenth of a second, according to Krall, the Colfax coach believes Artist was one of the best six in the field if he had been healthy which made it tougher to watch.
Kameri Meredith also missed qualifying for the 100 meter high hurdles when she finished in fifteenth place during the Friday preliminaries. Meredith finished with a time of :17.57.
Both the 4×100 meter relay girls and boys teams finished with their best times of the season, but both missed qualifying for finals.
The team of Morgan Schleusner, Samantha Pretasky, Jayne Bowe and Kameri Meredith will all return next year for the 4×100 meter relay team after finishing in twelfth place with a time of :51.53 which was less than half a second slower than Aquinas who qualified in tenth with a time of :51.33.
The Colfax boys’ 4×100 meter relay team also finished in twelfth with a time of :44.88 and was made up of Trey Hovde, Vasco Ferreira, Luke Heidorn and Jeremy Artist. Three of the four athletes were seniors which leaves a hole for the Vikings team to fill as Trey Hovde will be the only returning member.
Samantha Pretasky qualified for the state meet for the first time in her career, according to Krall, but an unfortunate foul on her second attempt left her with jumps of 14’ 9” and 15’ 7” which kept her from the podium after she finished in 13th place. Royall sophomore Jessica Brueggeman won the event with a best of 18’ 8.25”.
The team of Trey Hovde, Trevor Rothbauer, Luke Heidorn and Ed Hydukovich finished in 18th place in the 4×400 meter relay event with a time of 3:40.31 which was eight seconds slower than Marathon who qualified in the preliminaries with a time of 3:32.97.
“Luke and Trevor were absolutely fantastic as seniors for us in that relay, especially late in the season,” Krall stated. “Ed and Trey will certainly miss them next year on that relay, but we will have to find replacements for them and make another run at it a year from now.”
“The state meet was a positive experience for our athletes competing,” said Mounders head coach Jonathon Langreck. “I knew going in that we had a chance to lower our school record time, but to finish third in our heat and advance was a testament to our athletes.”
The Mounders sent a solitary team down to La Crosse, the 4×400 meter boys’ relay squad. The team was able to qualify for the Division 2 finals after finishing seventh in the preliminaries on Friday afternoon after they broke Elk Mounds’ school record again with a time of 3:26.72.
In the 4×400 meter finals that was run around 6 p.m. Saturay, the team of Rian Flynn, Cade Hanson, Brady Redwine and Seth Hazen were unable to find the speed they had in recent meets and finished in ninth place with a time of 3:31.06.
“This was a team that had only been running together for eleven days and to beat the school record three times in that span was amazing,” Langreck explained.