LA CROSSE — The quartet of Maggie Sarauer, Grace Post, Vanessa Jenneman and Alexa Post would not be denied and could not be stopped.
The Bloomer relay runners capped a dominant weekend with Division 2 state championships in the 400-meter and 800-meter relays on Saturday on the final day of the WIAA State Track and Field Championships at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
The team opened the day by winning the 800 championship with a time of one minute, 43.27 seconds to finish well over a second in front of Wisconsin Lutheran in second place. The team picked up 1.6 seconds from its first place preliminary time, thanks in large part to Grace Post and Jenneman ironing out a handoff the two struggled with between the second and third leg on Friday.
“Our handoffs were a lot better today and that really helped,” Jenneman said. “The little things really helped us.”
The little things led to big things for the quartet as they earned the first two relay state championships in Bloomer history. Bloomer won both preliminary races on Friday and continued to be the class of the field in Saturday’s finals.
The recipe for both titles was similar — Sarauer started strong before Grace Post and Jenneman added distance to set up the freshman Alexa Post for the close.
“It’s unbelievable,” the freshman Alexa Post said of closing out the team’s 800 title. “No words can explain this.”
The team capped its unbeaten weekend with a win in the 400 relay, timing in at 49.61 seconds to take the top spot over Fox Valley Lutheran (50.06), Shorewood (50.19) and Clinton (50.43). The quartet was also aiming to set a new school record in the 400 for the fourth consecutive race, but fell short of the 49.22 time from Friday’s preliminaries.
“One is good, but two is better,” Grace Post said of winning the two relays. “We were going into this hoping to get another school record (in the 400) but we really didn’t run that this race.”
The senior Grace Post had an eventful day, also competing in the long jump. She finished 12th with a best leap of 16-feet, 5.25-inches and concluded her final jump of the day not long before running her leg of the 800.
“The long jump I was just like eh, whatever,” she said. “I was more focused on the race and you could definitely tell. I’m just glad that we did well.”
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Grace Post, Jenneman and Sarauer have been a part of several Bloomer relays to advance to state in recent years with many finishing on the podium. But this year they were able to close those trips to state out with championships.
“It means a lot because the past couple years we’ve come down here (in relays) and we’ve done well but it really good to have two first places going out my senior year,” Grace Post said.
The senior Post was the 2018 Chippewa County Volleyball Player of the Year while leading the Blackhawks to the Division 2 sectional finals and will play volleyball collegiately at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
She, Jenneman and Sarauer each advanced to sectionals in four events before advancing to state with the relays. Jenneman and Sarauer have run together in relays at state in each of their first three seasons together.
“Me and Vanessa have always been pushing each other since our freshman year and it’s good to be doing it (getting to state on a relay), hopefully all four years together,” Sarauer said.
And the scary part for the competition is the team will return three quarters of its lineup next season for that push for four years.
Bloomer’s Michaelsen 11th in 1,600
Cole Michaelsen finished in 11th place in the 1,600 run, one day after taking seventh in the 3,200.
Michaelsen finished the race in 4:33.22 as East Troy’s Henry Chapman earned the victory in 4:16.95.