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LA CROSSE — Glenwood City junior James “JJ” Williams turned in yet another record setting time in the 800 meters as he finished as the Division 3 state runner-up in event at the 2022 WIAA State Track and Field Championships held last Friday and Saturday, June 3 and 4 at the Veterans Memorial Stadium Complex on the scenic UW-La Crosse campus.
Williams along with Brady Klatt, Austin Nelson and Wyatt Thompson also powered the Hilltopper boys’ 4×400 meter relay squad to a state silver medal.
Those pair of second-place finishes coupled with senior Austin Nelson’s third and fifth-place showings in the 800 and 400 meter runs, respectively, and an eighth-place finish by junior Brady Klatt in the discus helped the Glenwood City boys to finish fifth in the final Division 3 team standings with 27 points. Chetek-Weyerhaeuser won the boys’ state crown with 44 points and Durand took third with 30 points.
The top six finishers in each event earned medals and made the awards podium while first through eighth earned team points.
Sophomore Haylie Hannah finished sixth in the D3 pole vault, senior Bella Simmons was seventh in the 300 meter low hurdles and the girls’ 4×400 meter relay copped eighth to give the Lady Hilltoppers six team points and a 38th-place finish in the final team standings. Webster edged Dodgeland by a point for the girls’ D3 state championship – 38 to 37.
After breaking his own school record at the previous week’s sectional meet, JJ Williams did it again as he tried to keep pace with Durand senior Parker Schneider in Friday afternoon’s D3 800 meter state race. Williams ran a 1:55.27, a full second faster than his sectional race at Colfax, and was neck-and-neck with Schneider until the final 50 meters when the Panthers’ phenom pulled ahead and won the gold in 1:54.29 leaving the silver for Williams. Schneider went on to claim state championships in the 1,600 and 3,200 meter runs.
Finishing just behind Schneider and Williams in the 800 meters was Topper senior Austin Nelson who broke the two minute mark with a 1:59.29 to finish in third place.
Earlier in the day, Austin Nelson had finished sixth in the 400 meter dash preliminaries with a time of :51.19 and qualified for Saturday’s final. In the June 4 championship run, Nelson moved up a spot to finish in fifth as he shaved over two-hundredths of a second of his previous day’s time as he was clocked at :50.94 in the 400 meter final.
Trying to follow in the footsteps of the 2017 4×100 meter relay team and win a state championship of their own, Glenwood City’s foursome of Brady Klatt, Wyatt Thompson, Williams and Nelson qualified first in Friday evening’s 4×400 meter relay preliminaries with a time of 3:28.78.
The quartet ran a nearly identical time in Saturday’s final, 3:28.76, but finished second to Washburn, whom they had beaten a week earlier at the Colfax sectional in a new school record time of 3:27.16. The Castle Guards claimed gold with a run of 3:28.01 after they had finished with a 3:29.41 in the previous day’s prelims.
Brady Klatt also competed in a pair of individual state events for the Hilltoppers.
After scratching on his first two throws in Friday’s Division 3 state competition, Klatt flung the discus 133 feet and 11 inches on his third and final attempt. It wasn’t, however, enough to get Klatt into the finals where he would have had another three attempts and he finished 13th.
On Saturday, Klatt took part in the D3 long jump where he hit a leap of 19’ 10” on his sixth and final attempt to place eighth and score a team point.
He had entered last weekend’s state meet as a sectional champion in both the discus and long jump.
Finally, the team of Wyatt Thompson, Anthony Nelson, Elek Anderson and JJ Williams placed 11th in Saturday’s Division 3 4×800 meter relay with a time of 8:44.11.
With rain threatening Saturday’s Division 3 girls’ pole vault, the competition was moved indoors where Glenwood City sophomore Haylie Hannah tied her own school record height of 10 feet to finish in sixth place and earned three team points for the Lady Hilltoppers.
Glenwood City girls other three team points came by way a seventh-place finish by senior Bella Simmons in the 300 meter low hurdles and an eighth place by 4×400 meter relay squad.
Simmons had qualified for the state final in the 300 meter low hurdles thanks to a :47.65 time in Friday afternoon’s prelims which put her in sixth place overall. In Saturday’s championship race, Simmons lost a tenth of a second and one spot as she came in seventh in :47.78.
Simmons was also a member of the 4×400 meter team along with Haylie Hannah, Maddie Booth and Brenna Schwartz. The quartet ran a 4:11.43 in Friday’s prelims which ranked the team sixth for the following day’s final. They, however, struggled in Saturday’s race, running a full four seconds slower (4:15.46) to finish in eighth.