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Junior's final kick nets Fennimore 4x800 relay second straight state title, new school record
Isaac Henkel
Fennimore junior Issac Henkel blew past Pardeeville's Colin Smith with 50 meters remaining in the Division 3 4x800 relay at last Friday's WIAA State Championships and held on for the Golden Eagles' second-straight state title in the event with a new school record time of 7:58.44. (photo by John Linden)

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday or Friday throughout the calendar year.

By Jason Nihles, The Platteville Journal, Fennimore Times, Boscobel Dial

Isaac Henkel, Jr., distance, Fennimore track and field
LA CROSSE — Fennimore junior Isaac Henkel teamed with seniors Carter Bunn, Nick Needham and Riley Foreyt to win a second-straight WIAA Division 3 state title in the boys 4x800 relay last Friday at the WIAA State Meet at UW–La Crosse.

Henkel ran a calculated final leg, keeping close to Pardeeville senior Colin Smith, before blowing past Smith with 50 meters remaining and holding on for the state title in a new school record time of 7:58.44. The new record smashed last year’s winning time of 8:06.93 an just missed setting a Division 3 state record time of 7:57.64, set by Sheboygan Area Lutheran in 2007. 

“It’s extremely tough to repeat as state champs, but these young men trained for this and in the process nearly broke the state record in D3,” said Fennimore head coach Gregg Davis. “It was simply each runner doing his best and each very confident in their ability to repeat. The three seniors, Carter Bunn, Riley Foreyt, and Nick Needham along with our 800m record holder, Isaac Henkel have been training for this the past three years and they weren’t going to let up without standing on top of the podium. It was a thrilling way to kick off the weekend.

The same quartet also qualified seventh for Saturday’s finals of the 4x400 by running a 3:29.24 in Friday night’s prelims. The Fennimore boys improved upon their seed and reached the podium with a fifth-place finish in Saturday’s finals at 3:27.39.

Henkel also earned a third-place bronze medal in Saturday’s 800-meter run with a new school record time of 1:56.04, to help the Fennimore boys finished fifth in Division 3 with 26 team points.

“Isaac has put a lot of pressure on himself this year but after turning in a 1:55 split in the 4x800 Friday, you could see the confidence come back,” said Davis. “He loves the final kick and is tough to pass down the stretch. He destroyed his own school record in the process. We are more than looking forward to his senior year in cross country and track.”

HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order)
Tim Bailey, Sr., sprints, Riverdale boys track and field
Bailey blazed to a pair of silver medals and 16 teams points at last weekends' WIAA Track and Field State Championships at UW–La Crosse. After running a 11.32 seconds to qualify seventh in Friday's Division 3 100-meter-dash, Bailey came back to clock an 11.12 seconds to finish second in Saturday's final behind Iowa–Scandinavia senior Jensen Rice (10.94). Bailey qualified second in Friday's 200-meter dash prelims at 22.18 and held his seed in the 200 finals a day later to place second at 21.99 behind Rosholt sophomore Alex Wierzba (21.91). Aleya Kliesner, Sr., distance, Boscobel girls track and field

Aleya Kliesner, Sr., distance, Boscobel girls track and field
Kliesner broke a pair of school records, and teamed up with junior Nora Jillson and  sophomores Madi Kinnett and Aubrey Seep to win a silver medal in the Division 3 girls 4x800 relay at last weekend's WIAA State Meet. Kliesner, who will be, who will be running cross country at track and field at UW–La Crosse next year, Jillson, Kinnett and Seep open day two of competition with a second-place finish in the D3 girls 4x800 relay with a time of 9:43.54 Saturday morning. Deerfield won the event with a time of 9:39.96.

Kliesner was the first Bulldog to take the track Friday afternoon in the D3 girls 1,600 meter run. She also raced to an eighth-place finish in a talented field and set a new school record of 5:10.26.

Megan Kreul, Jr., jumps, Lancaster girls track and field
Kreul bounded her way to a silver medal and a runner-up finish in the D3 girls triple jump last Saturday at the WIAA State Meet with a leap of 37'1.75" finishing behind Deerfield sophomore Rylee Berryman (38'2.75"). Kreul also placed ninth in the long jump (16'8.5") last Friday afternoon. 

Rachel Schauer, Sr., throws, Fennimore girls track and field 
Senior Rachel Schauer opened her first state meet competition with a second-place finish in Friday’s D3 girls shot put with a personal-best throw of 40’2.25”. She came back Saturday to score five team points with a fourth-place finish in the D3 girls discus with a throw of 127’9” in the rain. 

“Rachel threw great,” said Fennimore track coach Gregg Davis. “Her 40-foot throw was the first she’s ever had in competition and was only four inches behind our school record. She’s a competitor, only wants to win, and wasn’t pleased with coming 3/4 of an inch short for the championship, but she went out throwing her best. The rain affected her in the discus competition  but she still managed numerous 120-feet-plus throws and finished with a strong 4th place finish. She is heading to wrestle at Wartburg, but it won’t surprise me if she will be throwing next year as well.”

Schauer's scored 13 teams points and helped the Fennimore girls finish third in Division 3 with 31.5 points behind Deerfield (42) and Cameron (39).

Blake Thiry, Jr., hurldes/jumps, Prairie du Chien boys track and field 
Thiry was a four-event state qualifier for the Blackhawks in Division 2 and scored 19 teams points at last week's WIAA Track and Field State Championships. Thriy placed third in the D2 boys 100-meter high hurdles (14.93), fourth in the triple jump (45'10.25"), fifth in the 300 hurdles (40.30) and fifth in the long jump (21'8.5").