Wild Rose senior Haley Hazlett won the girls’ Division 3 high jump and 300-meter hurdles events over the weekend at the WIAA State Track and Field Championships in La Crosse.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” she said shortly after receiving her medal June 1 for the hurdles race. “It’s crazy. I can’t believe it. I wanted to do better than last year and I did.”
Hazlett won the high jump event with a leap of 5 feet, 3 inches and turned in a time of 46.83 to win her hurdles championship.
The championships are the first for Hazlett, who has competed at state in each of her four years in Wild Rose.
She came into the state meet seeded first with two other jumpers in the high jump and said she expected to be in the mix for a state title after finishing as the runner-up last year.
Hazlett is part of a successful track program at Wild Rose that also included several other competitors at state. Noelle Rasmussen, Bre Marchan, Johanna Sheperd and Karina Marchan teamed up to place second in the 800-meter relay and fifth in the 400-meter relay with times of 1:46.66 and 51.32, respectively. Karina Marchan also placed seventh in the triple jump with a leap of 34 feet, 9 3/4 inches.
Weyauwega-Fremont’s Luke Rohloff also made it to the medal podium for the second straight year after finishing fourth in the boys’ Division 2 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.15. He earned a spot on the finals by finishing second in his preliminaries race.
“I felt really good going into the finals because my (preliminaries) race was awesome and I was seeded second,” he said. “I was feeling really good in warmups, but once I got to the track and that false start hit me, I was like, ‘OK, this is a little nerve-wracking.’ I came out on my start and my legs hit each other, so I almost fell down. I was feeling good up until the last hurdle, which I hit with my knee, so that put on a bunch of time.”
Rohloff’s teammate, Corey Zeutzius, placed 15th in the boys’ 800-meter run in 1:58.94, but was happy to make his first trip to state as a senior.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s been like a project of mine since sophomore year. Our coaches always said, ‘Your senior year, it’s your last shot.’ It’s a dream come true just be down here, my first time.”
Zeutzius nearly qualified for state in cross country last fall, but fell short.
“I missed it by 0.11 of a second,” he said. “I had a great finish, the best race of my life and I just missed it.”
Coming that close helped motivate Zeutzius for his final season of high school track.
“I had a board on my door that I saw every day that said, ‘Don’t let it happen again,'” he said.
Zeutzius returned to Weyauwega in time to graduate as class salutatorian.
“Tomorrow’s my graduation from track,” he said. “Track’s always been my No. 1 priority. It’s a great time, but I’m excited for tomorrow, too. It’s a great way to end the year.”
Rohloff also graduated and will be back in La Crosse, where he will run track for the University of La Crosse.
“It feels good to wrap it up in La Crosse,” he said. “I’m going to be running the hurdles and maybe some relays, I don’t know yet. I can’t wait, it’s going to be fun.”
Both athletes dealt with injuries during the season.
“I’m glad I was able to get here because I was having a lot of injuries with shin splints,” Rohloff said. “I wasn’t able to hit my times like I did last year because my shins really hurt. I took a week off at the end of April and beginning of May.”
He recovered in time to qualify for state by placing first at the Little Chute Sectional.
“That was my best race of the year,” he said.
Rohloff also joined teammates Trevor Fitzpatrick, Logan Erdmann and Dustin Hanes in the 400-meter relay. They qualified for the finals by placing 10th in the preliminaries heat and finished eighth in the finals.
Zeutzius dealt with knee problems during the season.
“I’ve had knee problems all year and Luke’s been struggling, too,” he said. “I gave it all I could at the end and it just gave out a little.”
Two other W-F athletes also competed at state. Elizabeth Abhold placed seventh in the girls’ shot put event with a throw of 37 feet, 8 1/2 inches, and Nick Thomas placed 16th in the boys’ 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:47.26.
Waupaca’s state qualifiers, Tatiana Sotka and Alissa Blank, came up short in their Division 1 preliminaries and didn’t advance to the finals.
Sotka finished 15th and 21st in the 100- and 200-meter dashes with times of 13.25 and 27.39, respectively, while Blank placed 11th in the 300-hurdles in 47.2 and missed the finals by 0.36 of a second.
“It was a successful trip, even if it doesn’t look like it on paper,” coach Joel Kempfert said. “Neither girl made the finals, but they both improved on their seed position.
Alisa ran a nice smooth race and finished the season on a strong note and Tatiana ran solid races, even though she had to race directly into a headwind,” he added. “Alisa just missed going to state last year as a freshmen. This year, she worked hard to get to state, made it there and just missed the finals. Her off-season dedication will help her be successful in the future. Tatiana finished the season as the fastest freshman in the Division 1 100. Both girls showed good poise amid the tough state-level competition. The tremendous fan support was a great help. The future for these young ladies is exciting.”
Iola-Scandinavia’s Shelby Trzebiatowski placed 13th in the girls’ Division 3 800-meter run in 2:29.35, while the Thunderbird boys’ 800-relay team of Matt Matheny, Devin Paulson, Travis McKinney and Dylan Robbins placed 11th in the preliminaries with a time of 1:36.41 and missed the finals by 0.15 of a second.
Amherst’s Lindsay Rutz, following in the footsteps of her sister, Katy, placed fifth in the Division 2 shot put and sixth in the discus with throws of 38 feet, 6 inches and 116 feet, 11 inches, respectively. The Falcons’ Alissa Niggeman placed ninth in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.56. She also placed 15th in the preliminaries of the 300-meter hurdles, but did not make it to the finals. Ashley Pionkowski joined Niggeman in the 100-meter hurdles. She finished sixth in her preliminaries race, but was disqualified from the finals.