The Rhinelander High School boys' track team continued making strides and after coming off a runner-up finish, they were able to finish first place on Tuesday at the Ashland Indoor Invite that featured 14-teams. The RHS girls' were missing a number of their varsity starters and finished 13th.
"Yesterday marked the end of our scheduled indoor season (knock on wood)," said Coach Aaron Kraemer on the Hodag Track facebook page. "We sure ended the first segment with a bang. Against a field of 14 teams, we competed our tails off. Many personal records were set and pre-season goals were achieved."
Ashland girls' finished first overall with 154 points to win the invite. While after the RHS boys' in first with 121 points, the Oredockers were runner-up with 110 points. The Hodag boys' excelled in their sprint events and also added a number of top finishes in the field events. Senior Anthony Kowalski had an impressive showing winning the 400-meter dash, anchoring the winning 4x200 relay, as well as a runner-up finish in the 55 meter dash.
RHS went 2-3-5 in the 55 led by Kowalski at 6.83 seconds and fellow senior Josh Francisco clocking in at 6.88 seconds. Junior Nickolas Kriesel charted fifth at 6.98 seconds. While in the 400 meter, Kowalski finished first with a time of 54.64 seconds to edge out Hayward’s James Gouge by 0.15 seconds.
In another close call, Kowalski was runner-up in the 55 by only 0.01 seconds, falling to Cody Jablonski of Tomahawk. And in the 4x200 relay the team of Kriesel, senior AJ Kopplin, Francisco, and Kowalski would edge out Ashland’s relay by 1.62 seconds to win with a time of 1:38.81. Kriesel added a runner-up finish in the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.49.
In the boys' hurdles Rhinelander added a pair of top-four finishes as well. Freshman Cole Worrall placed third in the 200-meter hurdles at 29.42 seconds and sophomore Will Swanson finished fourth in the 55-hurdles at 9.70 seconds. Worrall was sixth in the 55 (9.86 seconds) and Swanson was 12th in the 200-hurdles (32.47 seconds).
The Hodags got a boost in the the boys' distance runs when two-spring sport senior Bridger Flory charted third in both the 1600 meter and 3200 meter runs. Flory clocked in at 5:00.92 in the the mile and 11:16.29 in the two-mile.
Rhinelander boys' finished sixth in both the 4x400 and 4x800 relays as well. Ritchie, junior Drake Martin, freshman Ty Welk, and junior Calvin Schneider finished 4:03.68 in the 4x400. While sophomore JC Adams, sophomore Daniel Goldsworthy, and freshman Jaden Beske also finished sixth in the 4x800 with a time of 9:57.70. Ritchie added a sixth place finish in the 400 (57.83 seconds) and 13th in the 200. Sophomore Tyloer Olson charted 10th in the 800 meter at 2:24.92.
And in the field events the RHS boys' collected seven top-five finishes on the evening. Schneider was runner-up in the high jump, clearing 6-feet, which was a personal best. Kopplin charted fourth place at 5'-10" and Beske placed ninth at 5'-6".
In long jump, the Hodags took two of the top-five spots led by Martin in the third place with a distance of 19 feet, 1 inch. Francisco was fifth at 18'-10". Junior Peyton Erikson finished ninth in long jump at 18'-1".
Erikson placed fourth in the triple jump for Rhinelander at 40'-6" and Martin finished fifth at 39'-6". Kriesel tied for 10th place at 36'-3.50". Martin added a third place finish in the boys' shot put at 44'-0.50". While sophomore teammates Alex Olson and Connor Lund went 7-8 after Martin. Olson threw for 39'-9.50" and Lund 39'-9".
On the girls' side of action, Rhinelander was without several athletes including sophomore high-jumper Rebecca Lawrence as well as sprinters Sage Flory and Lily Sneller. As a team, RHS girls' only scored points in three events on the evening.
It was also noted, "The girls team competed hard against a large field and though the team score was not great, the competitive nature and camaraderie of the group shined through."
RHS girls' 4x200 relay team of freshman Lila Bielefeldt, freshman Megan Brown, junior Isabella Anderson, and junior Aryssa Zasada finished fifth with a time of 2:05.26. Sophomore Shawna Will finished seventh in the girls' shot put with a distance of 30'-6.5". And freshman Ellie Van Camp placed eighth in the 3200 meter run.
Brown added an 11th place finish in the 55 and Anderson placed 10th in the 200 and 14th in the 55. While Zasada would add a 13th place finish in the girls’ 55-meter hurdles as well.
It marked the final indoor meet on Rhinelander's schedule, who will now shift their focus to the start of their outdoor season. The Hodags will begin their outdoor season Thursday at the Medford Early Bird Invite that is slated to begin at 4:30PM.