Linse leads Jefferson girls at Tider; boys chasing relay records
EDGERTON — A notable era is nearing completion for Jefferson track and field.
“She’s the last of the Linses,” Jefferson track and field coach Doug Siegert said when referencing senior Mariah Linse. “For 10 years, we have coached a Linse and she’s the last of them. To end with her, it’s great. She’s such a good kid.”
Linse ran a total of three laps on Friday — a light workload by her standards — and came away with two victories.
She won the 800-meter run by nearly five seconds in 2 minutes, 25 seconds flat, then teamed with freshman Sammy Baker, sophomore Josie Peterson and sophomore Cynthia Ramirez to win the 1,600-meter relay by eight seconds in a season-best 4:22.30 as the Eagles finished fourth at the 47th annual Tider Invitational with 90.75 points.
Linse’s win in the 800 came as no surprise. She jumped to fourth on the Division 2 state honor roll in that event after winning it in 2:24 at the Badger Invitational the previous Friday. At the same meet, she won the 1,600 in 5:24 to earn the fifth spot on the state honor roll.
It’s not a list she spends much time focusing on. But it’s a good gauge for the three-time state qualifier, who is satisfied with her training and performance to this point in the season.
“I just don’t like to look at what other girls are running in the state, because what they run has no impact on what I run,” Linse said. “The only thing I can control is my own race, so what they are running just isn’t really my top thought right now.
“Everything is great. (Distance coach Megan) Carstens is awesome. She’s the only coach I have, but I think she is one of the best coaches out there. She knows exactly what she is doing. I am confident in her and my training.”
Linse helped the Eagles lock up the program’s first state championship as a freshman when she ran the third leg of the 1,600-meter relay to close out the meet. Three years later, she is running with a new crew with the goal of making it to La Crosse at the end of the month.
“I’ve been running a lot of 4-by-4s, working on the distance runner speed,” Linse said. “It’s a good time. I love the combination of the distance runners and the sprinters. We get to come together and unite in the 4-by-4 and work hard. I was mostly in the 4-by-4 because the coaches saw the potential our team had for postseason. I have run it sporadically throughout my sophomore and junior year, but I have been doing it a lot more this year. It’s fun speed work and it helps the team out.”
Siegert has grown accustomed to leaning on Linse for that.
“Not only is she hitting her stride, but she is helping her teammates hit their strides,” Siegert said. “She’s such a leader in every aspect. She is able to talk to the young athletes. She’s able to lead by example.
“In the wintertime, she’s helping all those kids get out and run. She is one of those special kids that is an all-around just great student. She’s the valedictorian and she can come out here and do it in cross country and track. She’s a special kid.”
Elkhorn won the girls title with 136 points, ending Jefferson’s four-year reign in Edgerton. But the Eagles still made their mark in several events.
Sophomore Emily Hollenberger, sophomore Ahna Kammer, freshman Ava Gallardo and sophomore Makenzie Hottinger won the 3,200-meter run by 7.55 seconds in 10:12.87. The 800 relay team of freshman Dani Baker, sophomore Josie Peterson, sophomore Cynthia Ramirez and freshman Sammy Baker took third in 1:52.38.
Peterson took second in the long jump (15 feet, 3 inches).
Kammer took third in the 3,200-meter run in 12:45.93.
Senior Kayla Kloss took third in the discus with a throw of 118-0.
The 800 relay team of freshman Dani Baker, sophomore Josie Peterson, sophomore Cynthia Ramirez and Sammy Baker took third in 1:52.38.
“So proud of the underclassmen for stepping up,” Linse said. “We lost a ton of seniors last year. Obviously that hurt our team, but the underclassmen have been stepping up. It’s like they have been here all along.”
Jefferson’s boys placed fifth with 84.5 points.
Like the girls team, Jefferson’s boys are entering a new era with strong middle distance runners and young sprinters bolstering the squad.
The 1,600 relay team of freshman Brady Gotto, senior Logan Wegner, senior Alex Marin and sophomore Taylor Phillips won in 3:29.83.
“That’s the fastest 4-by-4 time since I’ve been here,” Siegert said. “The school record is 3:24. That’s a tough one (going back 25 years), but 3:29 … Brady Gotto is a freshman and he split at a 50. He’s like a 15-year-old man out there. We talked to them before the meet and said, ‘Sub-3:30 is a potential for you guys,’ and now they are in the mix of heading up to La Crosse.”
The 800 relay team of Gotto, Wegner, Phillips and junior Jordan Wiesen took a close second to Elkhorn (1:32.08) with a runner-up time of 1:32.46.
“It’s a new experience for me,” Wegner said. “This is my second time running the 4-by-2 in my high school career as a senior — also my second time taking a blind handoff in my career. Today went smooth.
“Something about it so far has just really clicked with this group. We have been working really well together and we’ve been running really fast. We are less than a second off of our school record and it’s our second time doing it.”
An even closer second was turned in by the 3,200 relay team of Wegner, Thorp, senior Ryan Nelson and Marin.
Whitewater’s team of junior Juan Cuellar, sophomore Ignacio Cuevas, freshman Giovanni Anello and sophomore Trenten Zahn won by a quarter of a second in 8:19.52. But Jefferson’s runner-up time of 8:19.77 was still a season-best.
“We’ve got the speed and it’s young speed,” Siegert said. “We don’t have a true sprinter who is a senior. Logan has jumped into the 4-by-2, but he’s a mid-distance guy for us. He said, ’I want to be the only guy to be in the school record for the 4-by-8 and the 4-by-2. Our boys 4-by-8 ran an amazing time.”
“That’s just shy of 20 seconds faster than we’ve run all year,” Wegner said. “Today was an unbelievable effort by both teams.”
Wegner anchored the 3,200 team last year, which just missed the awards podium at state with a seventh place finish. All four runners are back, but junior Ian Sande has been recovering from injury. Thorp has filled in admirably.
“Ian has been fighting some shin splints,” Wegner said. “He hasn’t been able to run much the last month. Today he ran an open 800, only his second or third race of the season. Thank God. He’s such a hard worker. He’s been putting miles and miles and miles on the bike. He’s been coming in at 6 a.m. and doing pool workouts and running in the pool.
“That’s the main difference. We don’t even have him. We have more or less an alternate and he’s stepped up huge. Thorp stepped up big and ran a 2:06. He has been a key part of getting our time lower and lower. Today he ran a PR. The rest of us ran season bests today. Everything just clicked.”
Thorp, who took third in the 400-meter dash in 55.54, isn’t the only underclassman providing depth.
“Our speed program (has really been building),” Wegner said. “This year, it’s been a fight to stay on the relay, for any of us. We have kids that have come out of the woodwork, like sophomores that have never run 400s before and they come out and run 53s, so our middle distance program is very strong and getting stronger.”
The throwing program continues to do its part as well. Three Eagles made the finals in the shot put. Sophomore Noah Schultz led the crew, placing third (42-7 1/2).
Jefferson competes at the Rock Valley Conference meet in McFarland on Saturday.
Team scores — boys: Platteville 144, Elkhorn 104, Monroe 99, Whitewater 87.5, Jefferson 84.5, Mount Horeb 69, Edgerton 63, Evansville 48.
Team scores — girls: Elkhorn 136, Monroe 117.25, Platteville 112.75, Jefferson 90.75, Whitewater 83, Mount Horeb 76.75, Edgerton 46.5, Evansville 33.