Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rennhack muscles up

By TOM KAHL - Sports Editor

Citizen Staff/James Wold
Dodgeland's Megan Rennhack, front, ran away from the competition in the hurdles Friday.

WATERLOO - Why would Dodgeland compete in track meets on consecutive nights in mid-April?

Because it's precisely the itinerary Megan Rennhack expects to be on in early June at La Crosse.

"It's kind of like state," said Rennhack, the defending Division 3 champ in the 300 meter hurdles. "It helps prepare me for what it will be like."

By design, Rennhack is expecting it to be just like last year, with her standing atop the podium. The Trojans' standout junior swept the hurdles, including a new meet record in the 300, and added a win in the 200 dash to take Girls Outstanding Athlete honors at Friday's Daily Citizen Dodge County Invitational in Waterloo.

"She's a really strong runner," said Mayville freshman Trista Champ, who took two firsts and two seconds, one of which came to Rennhack in the 200. "She's phenomenal."

Rennhack easily surpassed the previous DCI record in the 300 by Kaycie Merrihew of Columbus with a time of 46.24 (Merrihew's mark was 47.67). A day earlier, she ran a sub-16-second 100 hurdles and hoped for the record in that event as well, also held by Merrihew, a former dual hurdle state champ.

"She'll be disappointed without getting both," Dodgeland coach Kevin Klueger said. "That's just who she is."

The awe factor in watching Rennhack blow away her hurdle rivals turned heads all over the track. She needed a convincing performance to top other worthy GOA candidates like Champ or junior Becky Jeanes of meet champion Beaver Dam, who broke DCI marks in the 800 and the 1,600.

"Any time you run two days in a row it's tough, but Megan did an excellent job again," Klueger said. "We're always looking at records."

Rennhack has started the outdoor season running times as good or better than last year, including Thursday's school record in the 100 at Princeton and what's now the state's top time in the 300 for all divisions. Rennhack attributes her off-season weightlifting to her success and feels she can improve her times with better starts.

"I kind of stand up a bit when I start," Rennhack said. "I need to go out gradually and not pop up."

Still, it's kind of startling to hear Rennhack talk about improving on her times when it's mid-April and she has the state's second-fastest time in the 300 beat by a full second and a half.

"My legs were a little sore tonight but I can deal with it," Rennhack said. "I don't think about it. It's mind over matter."

BD girls play D & D

Depth and distance powered the Beaver Dam girls to a successful DCI title defense. BD finished with 157 points for its ninth title in 15 years while Columbus finished second with 126.5 points for the third straight year and ninth overall.

Jeanes nudged ahead of the 800 mark set in 2002 by Hartford with her time of 2:27.47. She topped Jessica Bradley of Randolph/Cambria-Friesland's in 2004 (5:34.2) by almost four seconds by clocking in at 5:30.34.

"Our strength is in our middle-distance to long-distance," Beaver Dam girls coach Jodi Franke said. "That really picked up some points for us.

"I figured depth would play a part but Becky had a great night."

Jeanes also teamed with Ericka Wild, Jenna Wise and Emma Dittmann on the 3,200 relay in a time of 10:11.69, which beat the field by almost 26 seconds. Wise claimed the 400 in 1:01.99 while teammate Kat Barkhahn pulled off an unorthodox double with wins in the triple jump (31-10) and the shot put (32-6).

"I'm very pleased we scored in a lot of events," Franke said. "We have depth other teams don't have.

"Columbus and Mayville have good teams and I hope for the best for them this year."

Columbus swept the other three relays with Alicia Miller, Jeanne Price, Bridget Hussey and Kayla Waddell winning the 400 (53.24) and the 800 (1:53.12). Beth Miller and Heidi Welchert joined Hussey and Waddell, whose closing kick took the 1,600 relay in 4:18.57.

Steph Faber took the 3,200 for Mayville in 12:49.97. The Cards took third largely on the strength of Champ's effort.

"I did pretty good but the high jump threw me off," Champ said. "I was hoping to get a little higher.

"Being here as a freshman is kind of hard but I'm getting used to it."

R/C-F's Brittany Alsum won the discus with a throw of 113-8.

Dodge County Invitational

Girls team scores: Beaver Dam 157, Columbus 126.5, Mayville 108, Horicon 77, R/C-F 49.5, CWC 46, Waterloo 45, Waupun 43, Dodgeland 37, Luther Prep 9.

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