Craig boys take first-day lead
LA CROSSE Gazette Staff
Janesville Craig’s boys track and field team made a great first impression on the initial day of the WIAA Division 1 state track and field meet at La Crosse on Friday.
Calvin Coleman won the long jump competition and Tommy Meister finished second in both the 800 and 1,600 to give the Cougars the early lead in the team competition.
“Any time you’re able to lead in the state track meet, you’re going to be happy,” Craig boys coach Jeff Deininger said. “We do realize the meat of the meet is (today).”
Coleman, a senior, jumped 22 feet, 3½ inches to win the long jump by two inches. Kyle Rohde of Brookfield East was second at 22-1½.
“I’m just surprised,” said Coleman, who was seeded seventh. “I was very surprised up until I jumped 22-3½.”
Deininger said Coleman’s winning effort was no surprise.
“Those are jumps he’s been doing all year,” Deininger said. “That’s one of the great things about the state meet. He was able to do that when no one else was able to do that, and he wins a state championship. That’s fantastic.”
Meister, also a senior, overcame having to run in the slower of the two heats in both the 800 and 1,600 because of the strong winds at the Waterford Sectional, to earn his two silver medals in the middle-distance events.
Meister, the defending 800 champion, finished less than a second behind winner Brad Johnson of Brookfield East in the event. Johnson finished in 1:52.54, with Meister second at 1:53.26.
Meister, along with Janesville Parker’s Brad Money and Waterford’s Tony Sustachek were the only runners among the 24 qualifiers that had times of more than 2 minutes in the sectionals. All three of those runners came from the Waterford Sectional.
Carl Hirsch of Brookfield Central won the 1,600 in 4:08.21. Meister was second in 4:10.76, which set a school record.
“It would have been nice to win,” said Meister, a Duke University recruit. “I ran fast times and I ran as best I could. Overall, I’m happy with the day.
“We just had such a deep (field) this year. So many people ran so fast, so it was kind of crazy.”
Behind Coleman’s 10 points and Meister’s pair of eight-point performances, Craig led the boys competition with 26 points.
Janesville Parker’s Trever Steinke finished sixth in the shot put with a toss of 54-4½.
Theron Baumann of Monona Grove won the event with a distance of 59-1¼.
Brad Money earned a spot on the podium in the 800. The Parker senior finished eighth in the 800 in 1:54.71.
On the girls side, Craig’s Allison Calkins finished fourth in the triple jump. The sophomore went 37-1¾ to earn five team points.
“I was real happy with Alli’s jump,” Craig girls coach Mark Marsden said. “She was just a couple of inches out of second. She has another jump tomorrow in the long jump. I think we could still score some more points.”
Stefani Friedenfels of Menomonie won the triple jump with a leap of 38-6¼.
Craig’s Spencer Hrycay finished 11th in the 1,600 after tripping early and being forced to make up ground.
“I kind of tripped and started out in last,” Hrycay said. “Every lap I picked up three or four slots, and ended up winning the slow heat.”
Craig’s 3,200 relay team of Meister, Joe Sarow, Hrycay and Evan Lalor is seeded second and will compete today.
“We’re looking forward to hopefully (earn a podium finish) and try to score some points for our team,” Hrycay said. “As long as I’ve been here, we’ve never been even close to the top.”
Deininger said he’s eager to see how the Cougars’ 3,200 relay fares.
“Here we are, we’re sitting in a pretty good position,” he said. “We’re looking to do well in that race.”