Girls’ relay team places fourth
By Erik Buchinger
The Hortonville girls’ 3200-meter relay team placed fourth at the WIAA Division 1 State Track and Field Meet on Saturday, June 3 in La Crosse.
The team consisting of seniors Hannah Lohrenz, Claire Ban Beek and Stephanie Jarvis as well as sophomore Alyssa Rafuse competed at state for the second straight years in the event.
“I was a little nervous just because last year we didn’t do as well as we’d hoped to, so I just wanted to end this season really well,” Jarvis said. “This was definitely a great way to end it, and I’m glad that we podiumed this year.”
Last year, the relay team placed 13th at state but improved nine spots the second time around.
“It’s our second year together as a team, and we didn’t really have any expectations,” Rafuse said. “We just wanted to run our best race that we could, and that’s what we did.”
Lohrenz started first, and the Polar Bears held a lead after the first lap of the race.
“This was actually my third time being first,” Lohrenz said. “I like it, and it gets us into a good position right away. It just helps the whole team do really well.”
Hortonville finished with a time of 9:33.33, behind Arrowhead, Appleton North and first-place Waukesha West.
“I think we did really well,” Lohrenz said. “We weren’t really expecting a whole lot, so to finish fourth, that was really impressive for us.”
The temperature hovered around 90 degrees for much of the meet, but Van Beek said the team did its best to stay hydrated prior to the race.
“We just had to drink a lot of water and stay in as much shade as we could,” Van Beek said. “Coach is always telling us, ‘Everyone else is competing in that same weather, so you can’t complain and you can’t change it.’”
Rafuse said the heat was more noticeable once the race was completed.
“It affected me mostly after the race,” Rafuse said. “Before the race, we were all just focused on what we have to do and what we have to get done, but afterwards, the heat was pretty bad.”
The 3,200-meter relay was the first running event of the day, and Lohrenz said it was nice to get the race completed earlier as opposed to waiting around for it to begin.
“I like doing it right away,” Lohrenz said. “That way, you’re not as stressed, you’re not watching everyone else run and you can just focus on your event and what you want to do.”
With three of the four relay runners departing due to graduation, Lohrenz said returning to state with her team for the final time was a good way to finish out her high school track career.
“It was good, especially with how we finished today,” Lohrenz said. “It’s a really good way to go out for high school.”
As the lone member of the team able to return next season, Rafuse said the two-year run to state has been special.
“For me, it was something really special because all three of them are seniors, so this was our last year together,” Rafuse said. “It was a really good end for me to run with them.”
Lichtfuss earns top-10 finish
In the boys’ 800-meter run, senior Nathan Lichtfuss finished with a time of 1:56.85 for a 10th-place finish.
His last race was a personal record for him, and Lichtfuss said he was happy to record a similar time at state.
“My time was good,” Lichtfuss said. “It was the same time as my seeded time. My seeded time was a three-second PR for me, so to know that it wasn’t a fluke is really encouraging to me.”
Lichtfuss competed in one of the later races of the day and did all he could to keep busy waiting for his event.
“I went for a little run in the morning to get loosened up, and I stayed underneath the trees a lot,” Lichtfuss said. “They have an indoor facility, and I warmed up in there to try and stay out of the sun as much as I could, so I limited myself to about two hours in the sun prior to my race at 3:30.”
Lichtfuss said he felt the day’s hot temperature midway through the race.
“I didn’t think it would be that bad in the 800,” Lichtfuss said. “Crossing 500 meters into the race, I started to feel it.”
Lichtfuss said he knew the other competitors would be able to get out to quick starts, and he stayed toward the back until passing a few runners late in his heat.
“It was good just to make it here, I didn’t plan on placing,” Lichtfuss said. “I came close, and that was cool.”
Lichtfuss plans to run at UW-La Crosse as a college freshman, and he said it was nice to run at his future home track.
“I recently found out that I’m running at La Crosse next year, so I got to talk to the coach when I was down here,” Lichtfuss said. “I’m excited for my future with that.”
Kuettel places 10th in pole vault
Dean Kuettel finished the boys’ pole vault competition in a tie for 10th place with four other teams, clearing 14 feet.
“It was a good day with great weather,” Kuettel said. “I’ve only cleared 14 feet three times this season now, so I think it was a good day for me.”
Green Bay Preble’s Lucas McCormick won the event with a height of 15 feet, 3 inches.
With what he accomplished in his senior season, Kuettel said his final year of high school track has been a success, finishing with a trip to state.
“It’s been awesome,” Kuettel said. “I’ve gotten everything I wanted out of this season. I had a great coach getting me through it as a conference champ and school record-holder now, and a state qualifier. That’s all I wanted to do this season, so I can’t complain.”