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GNC TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS - Strong start to season’s home stretch

Boys just miss GNC title; girls a solid 3rd too
Strong start to season’s home stretch
Medford’s Will Daniels takes an early lead and Paxton Rothmeier gains ground on their way to a one-two finish in the 110-meter high hurdles final during Tuesday’s GNC Championship meet at Raider Field. Daniels won in 17.12 seconds, while Rothmeier was timed at 17.41 seconds. The Raider boys placed third in the meet, just three points away from the title. MATT FREY/THE STAR NEWS
Strong start to season’s home stretch
Medford’s Will Daniels takes an early lead and Paxton Rothmeier gains ground on their way to a one-two finish in the 110-meter high hurdles final during Tuesday’s GNC Championship meet at Raider Field. Daniels won in 17.12 seconds, while Rothmeier was timed at 17.41 seconds. The Raider boys placed third in the meet, just three points away from the title. MATT FREY/THE STAR NEWS


Every point mattered Tuesday as the Medford Raiders put all they had into adding a boys track and field conference championship trophy to the school’s collection.

They came up three short.

In one of the tightest conference meets in recent memory, Lakeland and Northland Pines nudged just ahead of the pack at Raider Field, scoring 127 points to beat Medford (124) and Rhinelander (119) and share the 2024 Great Northern Conference championship.

The Raiders won three events and earned second or third in several more, but it wasn’t quite enough to earn Medford’s first conference title in boys track since the 1989 team won the Lumberjack Conference title.

Medford’s girls matched the boys’ third-place finish, scoring 107 points to beat Rhinelander by a half-point. Jaylin Machon’s pole vault title was the Raiders’ lone win in a meet won by Tomahawk with 146 points, 21 more than Northland Pines.

“That’s how it goes,” Medford head coach Shawn Sullivan said. “I’m really proud of everybody because they sure brought it, they really did. We had so many PRs today. It was awesome. It was a good day.”

With the boys meet coming down to the last race, Medford’s 1,600-meter relay team of Gage Losiewicz, Caleb Scoles, Logan Gubser and Isaac Kautzer did its part, winning in 3:37.09. But Lakeland’s second-place finish at 3:39.23 and Pines’ fourth-place time of 3:44.73 allowed those teams to hang on. Losiewicz also won the pole vault competition after coming in second a year ago. He cleared 12 feet to become the last vaulter standing. He then went right up to 13 feet, 6 inches, where he came up short in his three attempts. Adam Kowalski added a fifth-place vault of 10-6 for Medford.

Sophomore Will Daniels was Medford’s third winner, taking the 110-meter high hurdles final in 17.12 seconds, while teammate Paxton Rothmeier was second (17.41) giving the Raiders 18 key points. Rothmeier tied his best time of the spring from four days earlier in Marshfield. He cut 0.17 seconds off his time from Tuesday’s preliminaries and that was enough to pass Mosinee’s Zander Deininger and get one spot higher in the final.

Relays were a key point source for the Raiders. The 400-meter team of Rothmeier, Jordan Lavin, Kowalski and Cory Lindahl scored eight with a secondplace time of 47.58 seconds. Rhinelander won in 45.85 seconds and Tomahawk (49.34) was third. Rothmeier, Daniels, Kowalski and Losiewicz took third in the 800-meter relay at 1:35.55, just behind Antigo (1:34.68) and Northland Pines (1:35.27). Rhinelander was 1.31 seconds behind. The 3,200-meter team of Evan Pagel, Peyton Ried, Anthony Seidel and Adyn Gripentrog started the meet by posting a third-place time of 8:54.96, easily Medford’s best of the year. They trailed Tomahawk (8:44.28) and Rhinelander (8:53.85) while beating Lakeland by 2.68 seconds for that spot.

Medford got 14 points in the 400-meter dash with Kautzer taking third in 51.55 seconds, Gubser placing fourth in 52.56 seconds and Scoles adding a sixth-place time of 53.35 seconds, a season-best. Lakeland’s Ethan Gonzalez won the race in 50.61 seconds.

The 200-meter dash produced 13 points with Evan Paul taking third at 23.79 seconds, Losiewicz taking fifth in a seasonbest 23.99 seconds and Gubser placing sixth in a season-best 24.0 seconds. Eli Kerner of Northland Pines won in 22.78 seconds. Nine points were added in the 800-meter run, where Gripentrog took third in 2:09.7 and Owen Stockwell was sixth in 2:11.35. Both of those times were season bests. Gripentrog added a fifth-place finish in the 1,600-meter run at 4:49.02, another season-best time. Stockwell was 11th, lowering his time to 5:07.49. GNC Boys Runner of the Year Owen Clark of Lakeland won both of those races in 1:59.02 and 4:23.35.

Also on the track, Kautzer took sixth in the 100-meter dash final at 11.88 seconds, while a stumble on the homestretch knocked Daniels to seventh in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles at 47.46 seconds.

Paul scored in all three of his field events, led by a runner-up finish in the triple jump. He surpassed 40 feet for the second time this season, hitting 40-2.25 to fall 7.75 inches behind Rhinelander’s Myles Eagleson. Lindahl led Medford in the long jump, taking fourth at 19-5.75, a half-inch off his season best. Paul was sixth at 18-11.5 and Gubser was ninth at 18-7.75. Paul got the eighth-place point in the high jump by clearing 5-6.

Pagel made a huge improvement in the 3,200-meter run, dropping from 13:01 to 11:50.56, good for ninth place in a race also won by Clark at 9:42.06, which broke the GNC record of 9:53, set by Medford’s Jarod Rudolph in 2016. Logan Langdon improved to 95-3, which took 12th in the discus throw and Lindahl was 14th in the shot put at 32-3.25.

Mosinee (82), Tomahawk (58) and Antigo (43) rounded out the boys team standings. Lakeland won a share of its second straight title while this was the first boys title for Pines as a member of the GNC.

Machon, Richter lead

Medford’s senior leaders Machon and Meredith Richter were the top scorers for Medford in Tuesday’s girls meet.

Machon’s pole vault championship was her third straight in GNC competition. She equaled her winning height from last year of 10 feet. Freshman Avery Losiewicz added six points for Medford by placing third at 9 feet, the same height runner-up Alicia Voermans of Tomahawk hit.

Machon added a second-place finish in the 100-meter high hurdles with her personal-best time of 16.94 seconds in the final. She was 0.26 seconds behind champion Aila Bergman of Rhinelander. Machon had a preliminary time of 17.2 seconds. Later, in the 300-meter low hurdles, Losiewicz came away with a second-place time of 51.48 seconds, while Machon was fourth in 55.13 seconds. Bergman won that race too in 49.09 seconds.

Three of the state’s top runners competed in the meet, a trio that included Richter. First, Richter ran into the state’s top-ranked 1,600-meter runner, her friend and rival Nora Gremban of Northland Pines. Gremban broke her own GNC record with a time of 4:55.47, while Richter was second at 5:19.4. The Raiders got 15 points in that race with Felicity Ziehlke taking fifth in 6:03.12 and Ella Dassow placing sixth in 6:10.35.

Then, Richter met the state’s thirdranked 400-meter sprinter in Tomahawk freshman Elise Gibeault of Tomahawk, who won in 58.44 seconds. Richter took second in 59.57 seconds, a tenth off her school-record time from 10 days earlier. Raider Aliyah Pilgrim added a sixth-place and season-best time of 1:03.79.

In the 800-meter run, Gremban won in 2:17.29, with Richter taking second in 2:25.8. Raider senior Ella Daniels added two points with a seventh-place and season-best time of 2:43.51 and Morgan Liske was ninth in a season-best 2:44.61.

Lindsay Kahn took fourth in the 3,200-meter run at a season-best 13:05.39, while Carly Koski lowered her time to 13:59.21 to take 10th. Gremban won that race too in 11:20.76 and was an easy choice for the GNC Runner of the Year award.

Three Medford relay teams were third in their races. The 3,200-meter team of Daniels, Liske, Dassow and Ziehlke was the first one, finishing in 10:32.57 behind Lakeland (10:22.51) and Tomahawk (10:29.34). Rhinelander (11:20.14) was a distant fourth. In the 800-meter relay, Brenley Beran, Alexis Zuleger, Rivalee Stokes and Machon took third in 1:54.51 behind Tomahawk (1:49.12) and Rhinelander (1:54.05) and just ahead of Lakeland (1:54.9).

Pilgrim, Toryn Rau, Zuleger and Losiewicz finished the meet by taking third in the 1,600-meter relay at 4:26.14. They weren’t far behind Rhinelander (4:24.4) and Tomahawk (4:24.77). Lakeland was a distant fourth at 4:43.57. Medford’s 400-meter team of Lindsey Klapatauskas, Beran, Zuleger and Stokes was fourth in 54.03 seconds. Rhinelander won that race in 51.91 seconds.

Losiewicz added four points with a fifth-place toss of 29-2 in the shot put and Klapatauskas scored two with a seventhplace and season-best distance of 30-8.25 in the triple jump. Rachel Wesle (26-8) was 11th in the shot and Pilgrim (29-0.5) was 10th in the triple jump. Pilgrim (13.69) also took 10th in the 100-meter dash.

Stokes was 12th in the 200-meter dash (29.05). Daniels (13-11.5) and Rau (13-8) were 12th and 14th in the long jump.

Lakeland (97), Antigo (57) and Mosinee (53.5) completed the girls team scoring. Tomahawk won its first girls GNC track and field title since 2014.

On to regionals

Next up for Medford is the start of WIAA Division 2 post-season competition. The first step is the regional meet that Medford will host on Monday. The first events are set to start at 4 p.m.

Medford, Antigo, Colby, Marinette, Menominee Indian, Mosinee, Oconto Falls, Peshtigo and Wittenberg-Birnamwood will attend the meet where the top four finishers in each event will advance to sectional competition.

Colby will host the sectional on May 23. Competition there will start at 3 p.m. and the top four in each event will qualify for state.

Alexis Zuleger takes the baton from Brenley Beran in the first exchange during the girls 800-meter relay at Tuesday’s GNC championships. These two, plus Rivalee Stokes and Jaylin Machon, placed third in the race in 1:54.51. MATT FREY/THE STAR NEWS

Gage Losiewicz easily clears the bar at 11 feet, 6 inches during pole vault competition Tuesday at Raider Field. Losiewicz later hit 12 feet to win the GNC title. MATT FREY/THE STAR NEWS