By Paul Lecker
LA CROSSE — The local athletes competing at the 2017 WIAA State Track and Field Championships at Memorial Stadium on the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus Friday had a mixed bag of results — some shining, some heartbreaking.
Spencer and Auburndale grabbed the first three medals among local competitors, including a gold, while three others running in qualifying events failed to reach the finals in their respective events by narrow margins.
Spencer senior Noah Zastrow earned the fourth medal of his career in the Division 3 boys pole vault, finally taking the gold as he finished first with a vault of 15 feet 4 inches. Zastrow finished third in his first two years at state in the event and was runner-up a year ago.
Zastrow also moved on to the finals in both of his hurdles events. He was second in qualifying in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.59 seconds, finishing only behind Josh Pillath of Coleman (15.05). Zastrow also took seventh in the 300 hurdles, qualifying with a time of 41.65 seconds. The top 10 in all qualifying running events move on to finals on Saturday.
Zastrow will also compete in the long jump on Saturday.
His sister, freshman Hannah Zastrow, earned her first state medal as she tied for fourth in the D-3 girls high jump. Her leap of 5 feet 2 inches tied Rachel Ohde of Chippewa Falls McDonell for fourth place. The top six in each event earn state medals and a spot on the podium.
Hannah Zastrow also competed in two other events Friday. She failed to qualify for the finals in the 100 hurdles, taking 16th and last in qualifying with a time of 17.97 seconds. Along with teammates Delaney Eichman, Kaily Northup, and Johanna Ellefson, Hannah Zastrow qualified for the finals in the 400 relay after taking ninth in preliminaries in a time of 1:50.04. Zastrow and Ellefson will compete in the D-3 girls pole vault on Saturday as well.
Auburndale’s Kali Karl earned the other state medal among local athletes on Friday. She placed fifth in the D-3 girls 800 finals in 2:20.88. The race was won by Hannah Constable of Johnson Creek in 2:15.64.
Spencer’s Logan Zschernitz and Jacob Miller just missed out on state medals, finishing seventh in their respective events. Zschernitz, who will compete in the Division 3 shot put along with teammate Max Johnson on Saturday, was seventh in the discus with a throw of 144 feet. Miller tied for seventh in the pole vault (12-6).
Another Spencer relay, the girls 800 team of Lauren Faber, Liz Endreas, Eichman, and Northup, also moved on to Saturday’s finals after taking ninth in qualifying with a time of 1:50.04.
The Apaches’ girls 1,600 relay of Isabella Jewell, Rachel Gronemeyer, Karl, and Isabelle Hilber took third in prelims with a time of 4:08.61 to advance to finals.
Hilber and Gronemeyer just missed out on qualifying for the finals after taking 11th in their individual events. Hilber was 11th in the 200 prelims in 27.09, just 0.19 of a second behind the 10th-place finisher. Gronemeyer was 11th in the 400 preliminaries in 1:01.66, missing out on 10th by just more than one-half second.
Also placing 11th in prelims was Spencer’s Aaron Pankratz, who finished the boys 400 in 52.37 seconds, just 3/100th of a second out of 10th.
Cade Lehman, Stratford’s lone state qualifier, finished 10th in the Division 2 boys 3,200 meters in 10:08.14.
Columbus Catholic’s only state qualifier, freshman Jessica Jakopin, placed 17th in the Division 3 girls shot put with a throw of 30 feet, 7¾ inches in her first state meet appearance.
Marshfield’s sole competitor on Friday was junior Skyler Theisen, who took 19th out 24 participants in the Division 1 boys 300-meter hurdles. He ran in a time of 41.08.
Marshfield’s Meg Bryan and Gracie Holland will participate in the Division 1 girls long jump on Saturday, as will the Auburndale girls 3,200 relay team of Taylor Stanton, Vanessa Mitchell, Macie Schmeiser, and Karl.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)