LA CROSSE — Maggie Sarauer, Grace Post, Vanessa Jenneman and Alexa Post are fast.
Even when they’re not perfect.
The Bloomer quartet lit up the track on Friday during the Division 2-3 session of the WIAA Track and Field Championships at Veterans Memorial Stadium, finishing with the top time in the 400-meter and 800 relays in preliminaries.
The team opened the day with the best time in the 800, winning in one minute, 44.87 seconds before topping the charts in the 400 at 49.22. The group will enter Saturday’s finals as the top seed and in a prime position to become the first girls relay in school history to win a state championship.
Bloomer’s top time in the 800 was all the more impressive considering Grace Post and Jenneman struggled with their handoff between the second and third leg. But that small blip didn’t hinder the team as it closed strong to best Prescott (1:45.24) for first overall after the Cardinals beat Bloomer in sectional competition.
The team turned around to put up a school record breaking performance in the 400, emerging with the top time by more than four tenths of a second over second place Wisconsin Lutheran (49.68).
“I think it all comes down to handoffs at this point because everyone here is going to be fast,” Sarauer said. “It’s all going to be the technical little things with the handoffs.”
The freshman Alexa Post was the final runner in both relays, serving as an effective hammer that helped the team close out the top times after the more experienced senior Grace Post and juniors Sarauer and Jenneman set the table.
“It’s so amazing,” the freshman Post said on running with the experienced relay. “I’m very, very grateful that they took me in to this relay team and I could not ask for a better relay team.”
Alexa’s older sister Grace never had a doubt her sibling would be able to close out races strong.
“You’ve got to have a lot (of confidence) because you need her to finish the races off,” Grace said with a laugh.
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Grace Post, Sarauer and Jenneman advanced to sectionals in four events apiece, including in at least one sprint race in individual competition.
Post will also be in individual action on Saturday as she competes in the long jump after taking third at sectionals.
The older Post, Sarauer and Jenneman teamed up with the now graduated Laken Jones to take sixth in the 400 relay last year at state in 50.52 seconds while Sarauer and Jenneman teamed with now graduated Jones and Justyne Burgess to take 10th in the 800 relay.
“I think we have a lot of confidence (going into Saturday),” Jenneman said. “We work hard in practice and like Maggie said, getting the handoffs down to help us improve (will be important). It’s just exciting, it’s a fun time of the year.”
The team’s 400 time of 49.69 set a then school record that lasted eight days before the team demolished it Friday by more than four tenths of a second. The 800 relay remains in striking distance of a school record, running a 1:44.14 at regionals to bring it within a quarter of a second of the mark and will get one more chance at it as they race for a state championship in two events on Saturday.
Michaelsen takes seventh in 3,200
Bloomer senior Cole Michaelsen finished in seventh place in the 3,200 run on Friday afternoon with a time of 9:54.34 as East Troy’s Henry Chapman pulled away to the championship at 9:37.26.
Michaelsen made his move into the top-six in a thick pack near the midway point of the race, picking up three spots to move from ninth to sixth on the fourth lap. The pack stayed tight until Chapman pulled away in the final laps.
Michaelsen advanced to state with a sectional championship in Mosinee with a time of 9:49.24 in much cooler conditions. Michaelsen will be back in action Saturday as he competes in the 1,600 to close out his Blackhawk career before he heads to UW-Eau Claire to run cross country and track with the Blugolds.