It was history in the making for Coach Aaron Kraemer and the Rhinelander High School boys' track team on Tuesday night at the Great Northern Conference meet held at River Valley Bank Field at Lakeland High School. The Hodags boys showed their depth and used a pair of wins along with 13 top-three finishes to earn their first conference title since 1967 and Coach Kraemer earned conference coach of the year.
The RHS boys' edged Medford by 17 points for the team title finishing with 142 points and snapped the 52 year streak without a title and also ended Lakeland's nine year GNC title streak. Northland Pines placed third with 111.5 points and Lakeland was fourth with 105.5 points followed by Mosinee, Tomahawk, and Antigo. Last season the Rhinelander boys' finished fifth in the GNC and showed determination and perseverance that turned the 2019 into such a success.
As the night progressed, the Hodags knew it would be a battle to the end especially going into the final three events where RHS held a 12-point lead. Medford was seeded 1-2 in the 3,200 and Rhinelander would need to add enough points in the long jump and 4x400 relay to fend of the Raiders.
RHS did just that by finished 2-4-5 in the long jump and adding a fourth place finish in 4x400 as well as fourth in the 4x800 relay. Junior Peyton Erikson finished runner-up in the long jump at 19 feet, 8.5 inches. Lakeland junior Vincent Strong set a personal record and won at 19-11. Junior Drake Martin finished fourth (19-1.5) and senior Josh Francisco was ninth in prelims and had an impressive 18-3 finals jump to place fifth place.
It also gave RHS a 29-point advantage going into the 3,200 where the Raiders made up 12 points by finishing 1-3 led by senior Derek Rudolph (10:27.22) while freshman teammate Joey Sullivan finished third. Tomahawk sophomore Drew Bolder finished runner-up.
Rhinelander also showcased their depth in their sprinting events and won both the 4x100 relay and 4x200 relay. First the team of Nick Kriesel, Martin, AJ Kopplin, and Caleb Olcikas edged Medford by 0.46 seconds to win the 4x200 with a time of 1:33.96. And only a few minutes later in the 4x100, Kriesel,Francisco, Kopplin, and Olcikas beat out Mosinee by 0.12 seconds to win with a time of 44.55 seconds.
The Hodags also had early success and add more points in the 100 and 200 meter dashes where they had three sprinters qualify for the finals in each event.RHS went 2-3-8 in the 100-meter and 2-3-7 in the 200. Northland Pinesenior Lochlan Siegmeier won both the 100 and 200. Francisco was runner-up in the 100 (11.47 seconds) and set a personal record in the 200 with a time of 23.20 seconds to finish third. Senior Anthony Kowalski was second in the 200 (23.15) and third in the 100 (11.47). Olcikas was seventh in the 200 (24.46) and Kriesel was eighth (11.95) in the 100.
Along with the points in the long jump, Rhinelander added more points in triple jump, high jump,discus, and hurdles. Erikson and Martin went 2-3 in the triple jump. And Kopplin and junior Calvin Schneider went 3-4 in the high jump. Siegmeier also won the high jump, clearing 6'2".
Sophomore Alex Olson added a fourth place finish in the boys' discus and Martin finished fifth in the shot put. Freshman Cole Worrall also had a solid night for RHS setting personal records in both the 110 (2nd;16.65 seconds) and 300 hurdles (3rd; 45.12 seconds).
On the girls' side of action, Rhinelander finished seventh overall in the GNC standings. Medford girls' won the conference race with 188 points to beat out Mosinee by 27 points. The lady Hodags also added a few all-conference finishes from sophomore Rebecca Lawrence and junior Aryssa Zasada.
Lawrence had a personal best and cleared 5'2" the high jump but fell in a tiebreaker with Emily Wicklund of Mosinee based on number of attepts to finish third. Northland Pines junior Jacqueline Smith won, clearing 5'3". While Zasada finished third in the 100-meter hurdle finals with a time of 18.34 seconds.
RHS 4x100 relay team of Isabella Anderson, Sage Flory, Samantha Siefert, and Lily Sneller placed fourth. While the girls' 4x800 charted fifth and the 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams both placed sixth. Flory added a seventh place finish in the 100 and charted eighth in the 200. Fellow freshman Megan Brown came in seventh in the 400.
Freshman Emma Germain was fifth in the triple jump and eighth in the 400. While Delaney Chillemi and Zasada went 6-8 in the 300 hurdles.And junior Morgan Johnson finished seventh in the 100 hurdles behind Zasada.
The RHS track team will be back at Lakeland on Monday at 4:00PM when they compete at the WIAA Regional meet where they will face their GNC rivals along with Stratford and Wittenberg-Birnamwood.
The Rhinelander High School boys' track team finished first and the girls' placed fourth in the 11-team Three Lakes Invite on Tuesday. Despite the cold and wet conditions of the meet, both the girls' and guys' proved they were up for the challenge and both show great improvements.
The RHS boys' used five event wins to edge Northland Pines by 13 points with 161.5 points. Bessemer boys' were 34.5 points points behind in third place. While Three Lakes/Phelps finished first in the girls' division with 118.5 points 42.5 points ahead of the Hodags in fourth. Tomahawk was runner-up with 112 points followed by Antigo in third with 91 points.
The RHS boys' made a few adjustments in their sprinting lineups and had five quality first-place finishes. In the 4x100 the Hodag team of Nick Kriesel, Josh Francisco, AJ Kopplin, and Anthony Kowalski won with a time of 44.64 seconds, which was 3.42 seconds ahead of runner-up Antigo.
Then in the 4x200 the RHS boys' team of Kriesel, Francisco, Caleb Olcikas, and Anthony Kowalski cruised to a 6.78 seconds victory over Antigo with a time of 1:34.00. The Robins were runner up by only 0.03 seconds ahead of Northland Pines.
Kowalski led a 1-3-4 finish for RHinelander in the 200-meter dash with the winning time of 23.60 seconds. Brock Walkowski of Three Lakes/Phelps was runner-up. Olcikas charted third at 24.21 seconds and Kriesel finished fourth at 24.41 seconds.
The Hodags also had three sprinters finish in the top-six in the 100 led be Francisco, who clocked in at 11.51 seconds. Lochlan Siegmeier of Northland Pines won with a time of 11.35 seconds. Olcikas finished fifth at 12.13 seconds and Kopplin placed sixth at 12.17 seconds.
Not only did the RHS boys’ finish well in the sprinting events, they were also solid in the field events where they had a pair of wins and also a pair of runner-up finishes. Junior Drake Martin won the long jump with a distance of 19 feet, 7 inches and junior teammate Peyton Erikson placed third at 18-7. The Hodag duo then took the top two spots in the triple jump led by Erikson at 40-4 and Martin 39-5.
In the high jump, Rhinelander had three athletes finish in the top five led by junior Calvin Schneider who finished runner-up clearing 5-10. Siegmeier of the Eagles won the high jump clearing 6-0. Kopplin came in third (5-8) and sophomore Joe Lieder tied for fifth (5-4). And in the boys' shot but RHS had three throwers finish in the top-eight. Martin was second (44-11), junior Connor Lund finished sixth (40-8), and sophomore Alex Olson placed eighth (39-1). In discus, Olson added a runner-up finish with a throw of 110-10.
Freshman Cole Worrall finished second in the boys' 300-meter hurdles (48.15 seconds) and took third in the 110 hurdles (19.58 seconds). And Rhinelander boys added a third place finish in the 4x800 relay. The team of JC Adams, Konnor Kennedy, Daniel Goldsworthy, and Tyler Olson clocked in at 10:03.89.
On the girls' side of action, Rhinelander used five second-place finishes to place fourth overall. Freshman Sage Flory had a hand in two of the Hodags' runner-up finishes. She placed second in the 200-meter dash (28.56 seconds) and was also part of the 4x100 team (Megan Brown, Isabella Anderson, and Samantha Siefert) that finished runner-up.
Brown charted second in the long jump and also added a pair of fifth place finishes in the 100 and 400. Ellie Van Camp was runner-up in the 3,200 and Aryssa Zasada finished second in the 100 hurdles. Bielefeldt, Mattia Beske, Siefert, and Lily Sneller came in third in the 4x200 relay. And Delaney Chillemi would add a fourth-place finish in the 300 hurdles and
Ellie Van Camp was second in the 3,200 and Aryssa Zasada was second in the 100 hurdles. Delaney Chillemi added a fourth-place finish in the 300 hurdles and Rhinelander finished fourth in the 4x400 (Emma Germain, Rebecca Lawrence, Lilli Bishop, Beske).
Rhinelander will be back in action on Friday night when they travel to Merrill for the Otto Bacher Invite that is slated to start at 5:00PM.
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