Skip to content

TCHS girls track & field team achieves goals and becomes State Champs

By Lenny Sementi
The title says it all: Coach Drew Sterkel’s Lady Warrior track team knocked on the door a year ago finishing fourth at the IHSA state track meet but this year the ladies in black and gold kicked it in. Tuscola battled not only the best in the state but also Mother Nature on a day of weather delays and when the dust settled senior Alyssa Williams and her teammates took residence on the top of the podium, State Champs! 

Williams added three more gold medallions to her state collection this past Saturday at the Big Blue Oval at Eastern Illinois University bumping her total to six during her high school career. Joining her on the Championship journey were juniors Mia Hausmann and Harley Woodard as well as three freshmen Lia Patterson, Jillian Alexander and Kenna Clodfelder. All advanced out of the Sullivan Sectional a week ago and five of the seven delivered 57 points three better than a very strong runner-up Newark squad. 

Williams got the ball rolling with third place effort in the long jump hitting the sand at 17 feet three inches. Then it was Patterson’s turn picking up a fifth place medal and two team points in the 100-meter low hurdles crossing the line 15.44 seconds. Williams turn again and this time she struck gold cruising to a win the 100-meter dash breaking the tape in 12.31. The fourth year star was a near miss at sub twelve turning in a school record 12.03 in the prelims. 

Williams and Patterson then joined with Alexander and Hausmann in the 4×200 for the next donation to the team’s cause. Coach Sterkel tweaked the transitions shaving 2.5 seconds from their prelim time allowing them to improve three spots from their seed collecting ten points and more gold medals. They did it out of lane eight and edged Newark for a four-point swing. The 4×100 made up Hausmann, Woodard, Clodfelder and Alexander ran their best race of the year in the prelims posting a 52.26 but did not move on to the finals. 

Sterkel in his second year since returning back to Tuscola commented, “We made a few adjustments, I thought they could go lower but had no idea they could run 1:44. They never cease to amaze me.”

They first ran together as a group on April 22 and have not lost a meet since and broke a long time school record on Saturday with a 1:44.11. Coincidently that record was set in 1993 when assistant coach Tracy Baird (Hornaday), Holly Sluder, Kim VonLanken, and Patty McDaniel set a state record, collected gold and ended up in second place as a team as well. 

Patterson again found her way to a bronze medal erasing nearly a second from her prelim time finishing the race in 45.83 delivering six team points. The dynamic duo ended the suspense going one, two in the 200 securing 18 points and a state championship. Williams went sub 25 for the second time this season PR’ing in the prelims with a 24.97 and turned in a 25.04 to win the finals. Patterson PR’d in the finals and finished behind only Williams the entire season. 

“Lia taking second was huge for us,” stated Williams. “And our 4×2 team was great, winning individual medals is awesome but bringing home the first place trophy as a team is even better.”

Leave a Comment