Nelson pulls off 3-peatNelson wins third straight 300-meter hurdle state title, finishes fifth in 100 hurdles; Holly third in pole vault and Johnson eighth in 1,600
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
It’s three in a row for Northwestern High School’s Tess Nelson.
The senior claimed her third straight Division 2 state title in the 300-meter hurdles Saturday at the WIAA Track and Field Championships at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
Nelson won the race in 46.20 seconds, fourth-tenths of a second ahead of the runner-up.
“I think I was more nervous than she was,” said hurdles coach Phil McGrath. “There’s a lot of expectation, and she handled herself exceptionally.”
In all three of her state victories, Nelson has never held the No. 1 seed heading into the finals.
As a sophomore, she won her preliminary race but held the third best time overall. In her junior year, she again won in the preliminaries but claimed the No. 2 seed for the finals.
Nelson followed the same pattern at this year’s state meet.
On Friday, she won her preliminary heat in 48.10 seconds but entered the finals as the No. 3 seed. In Saturday’s finals, Nelson shot into the lead early and held off Ripon’s Addy Baker to win in 46.20 seconds.
“It’s much harder being the champ, having that target on her back and all that pressure, but it doesn’t seem to affect Tess,” McGrath said.
Nelson’s margin of victory has grown with each state title. She won by .18 seconds in 2011, .20 seconds in 2012 and .40 seconds this year.
Nelson is headed to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee next year on a track scholarship.
“She’ll do well D1 because she’s been on the big stage and she doesn’t let nerves get to her,” McGrath said. “Mentally, she’s the toughest kid I’ve met.
“I’m very proud to have worked with her over the last four years. I doubt Northwestern will ever produce another three-time state champion.”
Senior Logan Holly also had a standout day for the Tigers in the pole vault. She secured a third-place finish by clearing 10 feet, 9 inches.
“Every single performance was outstanding,” said Noah Jurek, NHS track and field head coach. “These ladies worked tremendously hard all season and the results showed that this weekend.”
Besides her first-place finish in the 300 hurdles, Nelson picked up a medal in the 100 hurdles. Her fifth-place finish in 15.70 seconds was good enough to put her on the podium. Megan Linse of Jefferson won the race in 15.08 seconds.
Holly’s height of 10-9 was a personal best, surpassing her previous record by half a foot. She finished fifth in the pole vault at last year’s state competition.
Jordan Johnson also improved upon her place from last year’s meet. She contributed points towards Northwestern’s team total with an eighth-place finish in the 1,600-meter run, crossing the line in 5:16.67.
As a team, the Tiger girls tied for eighth place with 21 points.
Johnson also ran on the 4x800 relay team with senior classmates Olivia Amber and Angela Snow and freshman Emma Nelson. The relay team dropped more than seven seconds from its qualifying time to finish 11th in 9:51.26. That mark surpasses the previous school record by about three seconds.
Emma Nelson also improved on her time in the 3,200-meter run, dropping two seconds to finish in 11:44.90. She now holds second place on Northwestern’s all-time list in the 3,200.
For Amber, Holly, Johnson, Nelson and Snow, this weekend’s state meet marked their final competition in a NHS uniform.
“I am extremely fortunate to have worked with such a great group of seniors,” Jurek said. “They will be greatly missed.”
All of the track athletes will be recognized for their accomplishments at an awards ceremony Friday at Northwestern High School. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 9:15 a.m.
WIAA State Track and Field Meet
At UW-La Crosse
300-Meter Hurdles — 1. Tess Nelson, Northwestern, 46.20; 2. Addy Baker, Ripon, 46.60; 3. Kari Schneiss, Kettle M Luth., 47.06; 4. Sami Huebner, Lakeside, 47.09; 5. Cindy Pironnet, Boscobel, 47.29; 6. Pamela Fuchsel, Aquinas, 47.547; 7. Emily Leising, East Troy, 47.549; 8. Jenna Franzwa, Mondovi, 47.56; 9. Moira Kilgas, Omro, 48.67; 10. Ellie Luke, Mauston, 49.18.
100-Meter Hurdles — 1. Megan Linse, Jefferson, 15.08; 2. Brittany Dulak, Mosinee, 15.14; 3. Tristyn Forget, Mount Horeb, 15.42; 4. Maddie Davis, Catholic Mem., 15.50; 5. Tess Nelson, Northwestern, 15.70; 6. Lyssa Veres, Viroqua, 15.72; 7. Kari Schneiss, Kettle M Lutheran, 5.95; 8. Sarah Krig, Somerset, 16.03; 9. Alissa Niggemann, Amherst, 16.56.
Pole Vault — 1. Bonnie Draxler, Wrightstown, 12-6; 2. Mikayla Laue, Richland Center, 11-0; 3. Logan Holly, Northwestern, 10-9; 4. Leah Kasten, Oconto Falls, 10-0; 4. Mickey Gearin, Osceola, 10-0; 4. Lyssa Veres, Viroqua, 10-0; 7. Tre Voegeli, Monroe, 10-0; 8. Caitlynne Naughton, Neillsville, 10-0.
1,600 — 1. Delaney FitzPatrick, Lakeland, 5:02.17; 2. Delaney Sinnen, Random Lake, 5:03.20; 3. Mairin Cahill, Dodge/Min Pt., 5:04.74; 4. Jamie Shannon, McFarland, 5:09.53; 5. Morgan Florsheim, Shorewood, 5:10.12; 6. Kristen Linzmeier, Chilton, 5:10.27; 7. Kinsey Harmon, Berlin, 5:14.22; 8. Jordan Johnson, Northwestern, 5:16.67; 9. Andrea Ostenso, Ladysmith, 5:17.20; 10. Rebecca Van Thiel, Brillion, 5:22.30; 11. Courtney Link, Edgewood, 5:22.35; 12. Victoria Simones, Prescott, 5:23.61; 13. Haley Florsheim, Shorewood, 5:27.46; 14. Hailey Isaac, Laconia, 5:29.28; 15. Lisa Baeten, Luxemburg-Casco, 5:30.96.