Luke Rohloff needed to run the race of his life.
Apparently, the Weyauwega-Fremont junior was up for the challenge.
Rohloff entered the boys’ Division 2 110-meter hurdles finals June 2 at the WIAA State Track and Field Meet seeded ninth out of 10 runners. He ended up as the state runner-up by crossing the finish line in 15.01 behind state champion Austin Whitlatch of Dodgeville/Mineral Point.
Rohloff was one of more than 50 area athletes that competed in the two-day event at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse.
Wild Rose’s Darren Hudziak returned home as the area’s lone state champion, as he won the boys’ Division 3 800-meter run in 1:58.82.
Rohloff’s effort in the finals came a day after he finished ninth in his preliminaries race with a time of 15.59.
“I ran a crappy preliminaries race,” he said after making it to the podium to receive his silver medal. “I had to stay calm and positive.”
Rohloff, a first-time state qualifier, said his offseason training program helped him this season.
“I worked out a lot in the offseason,” he said. “I feel a lot faster and stronger.”
Hudziak was one of several Wild Rose Wildcats that qualified for state. The girls’ 400-meter relay team of Noelle Rasmussen, Haley Hazlett, Makayla Hecker and Karina Marchan took second with a time of 50.61, while Hazlett placed second in the triple jump, Morgan Yeska finished third in the girls’ 300-meter hurdles and Stephanie Peterson made it to the medal podium with her sixth-place finish in the 100-meter hurdles.
“We have good coaches and athletes that really care about the sport,” Hudziak said. “You put that all together and you get a pretty good program.”
Waupaca had a pair of first-time state qualifiers in freshman Macie Davidson (200- and 400-meter dash) and her sister, senior Taylor (100-meter dash).
Taylor didn’t qualify for her Division 1 final race, but Macie placed eighth in the 400 finals.
The Davidsons didn’t have to look far to get some advice about competing at state, as their mother, Dena, competed at Waupaca High School and still holds school records in the 200 and 400.
“It’s her attitude,” Taylor said when asked about her younger sister’s success as a freshman. “This is pretty emotional. I never thought this would happen for me.”
Any nerves that Macie had about running in front of more than 5,000 people didn’t last long, as she set a personal mark of 59.45 in her first race, the 400 preliminaries.
“You know what, I hardly noticed the crowd,” she said. “I ran my race for myself.”
Clintonville senior Dominic Masiarchin made it to the medal podium three times, as he placed second in the Division 2 100 and third in the 200 and 400.
Masiarchin, who also competed at state as a sophomore and junior, said an offseason weightlifting program made a big difference for him.
“I noticed it right away,” he said. “I came out and said, ‘Wow, this is nice.'”
Amherst’s Katy Rutz capped her high school career by placing third in the Division 3 shot put and discus events. Her younger sister, Lindsay, a sophomore, also competed in the shot put event.
“It’s a sister rivalry, but it’s nice,” Katy said. “It’s nice to be able to come down here with your sister.”
Besides the Davidsons and Rutzes, the competition also included sisters Danielle and Mikayla Muntner of Wild Rose and Bridget and Amber Pethke of New London.
Manawa sophomore Molly Loughrin placed fifth for the Wolves in the girls’ Division 3 100-meter hurdles.
“I knew that if I came down here and ran my race, I’d be fine,” she said.