Tomahawk sports history: Boys’ track and field

By Bob Skubal

Retired coach, historian, author of ‘History of Tomahawk Sports’

TOMAHAWK – The first mention of track at Tomahawk High School was in 1905.

The Tomahawk Leader reported track members as being Percy Lord, Herman Foster, Herbert Olson, Elmer Foster, Patsy Stone, Willie Marcouiller, Edgar Welfley, and Earl Wakefield.

Nothing more was mentioned until March 9, 1906 when the Tomahawk Leader stated the following about track:

“Information concerning the annual spring track meet of the WIAA has been received by the athletic association of the high school. Representatives of each high school, after competing in a local contest, will be chosen to attend the track meet of their district. Those who receive honors will attend the state meet in Madison. The schools in our district will include Rhinelander, Antigo, Wausau, Grand Rapids, and Tomahawk. The meet will probably be held the first of May. If it is approved by our athletic association, Tomahawk will be well represented.”

Nothing more was mentioned in the Leader of anyone from Tomahawk being successful at the district meet.

The next mention of track at THS comes from the 1912 yearbook.

The yearbook states that there is an unusual amount of interest surrounding the track meet on May 18, owing largely to the fact that a new manager would be decided upon for the track and field medal.

Several changes were made in the events. The hammer was removed because it would often fly off uncontrolled, and the 50-yard dash and the left-handed shot were put in.

The yearbook had many reasons to believe that this would be their best year. The main reason was that the younger students took part in many events and succeeded in winning points. Several former records were broken that year.

The winners of the 1912 track and field meet were:

  • 50 yd. dash – Eugene Meunier (5 3/5 seconds)
  • Left-handed shot – Eugene Meunier (30’ 10”)
  • 440 dash – Charles Cronkrite (1:04 /5 minute)
  • Discus – Eugene Meunier (84’ 9”)
  • 100 yd. dash – Charles Cronkrite (not recorded)
  • Right-handed shot – Eugene Meunier (34’ 4”)
  • 220 yd. hurdles – Edward Whitson (30 2/5 seconds)
  • Pole vault – Eugene Meunier (7’ 8”)
  • Half mile – Edwin Isberg (2:28 3/5 minutes)
  • High jump – Elmer Ecklund and Edward Whitson tied (5’ 4”)
  • 220 yd. dash – Charles Cronkrite (26 2/5 seconds)
  • Broad jump – Edward Whitson (17’ 11”)
  • 120 yd. hurdles – Edward Whitson and Lloyd Basteen tied (20 4/5 seconds)
  • Mile run – Edwin Isberg (5:46 2.5 minutes)

Eugene Meunier won the medal with 32 points. Other point winners were Edward Whitson 23, Edwin Isberg 17 ½, Amel Bronsted 12, Irvin Mitchell 6 ½, Elmer Ecklund 4, Glenn Boone 4 and Lloyd Basteen 4.

Nothing further was discovered until the spring of 1957 under coaches Otis Mehlberg and Bob Meyer. Team members were Jack Leggett, Walt Tuttle, Lloyd Bishop, Dennis Dorski, Floyd Howe, Dick Nibbler, Dave Howe, Dale Arnott, Rod Greil, Dave Anderson, Tim Rose, Don Hamlin, Bill Zastrow, Roger Lewerenz, Dennis Cronick, Wesley Clements, Dick Carew and Steve Hanson.

All-Conference honors that first year went to Walt Tuttle, 2nd Team in the 440; Jack Leggett, honorable mention in the 440; Walt Tuttle, honorable mention in the 880; Lloyd Bishop, honorable mention in the shot put; and the relay team of Jack Leggett, Walt Tuttle, Lloyd Bishop and Floyd Howe, honorable mention. THS was 6th at conference, scoring 23 ½ points.

Since 1957, THS has had 10 different head coaches. Some years there were co-head coaches due to the large number of events that track has to offer. Bob Meyer has the most years as varsity coach with 22, followed by Bill Fischer with 21. Bob and Bill were co-head coaches for 19 years.

The program has had two conference dual championships (1985 and 1997), six conference tournament championships (1963, 1964, 1965, 1995, 1997 and 2008), two conference relay championships (1993 and 1995), 10 regional championships (1973, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1993, 1994 and 2008), and three sectional championships (1965, 1983 and 2010). There have been 343 state qualifying-individuals and 72 state-qualifying relays.

Following are some of the high lights the program has offered to the community.

1960 – Tomahawk secured their first dual meet victory when they defeat Park Falls 63- 56 by winning nine of 14 events. Coaches were Bill Fischer and Bob Meyer. Team members were Dave Anderson, Mike Hanson, Bob Blume, Jim VanNorman, John Radcliffe, Fran Pflum, Dan Salewske, Daryl Ernst, Dennis Montabon, Ton Theiler, Bill Zastrow, Mac Winker and Wayce Carow.

Boys’ track, 1960. Front row, from left: D. Theiler, J. McCarthy, T. Gruhlke, R. Lewerenz, D. Dorski, D. Anderson, B. Zastrow, J. Crapeau; second row: J. VanNorman, M. Winker, B. Blume, D. Salewske, A. Tresness, F. Pflum, W. Carow, R. Eisenman; third row: J. Arnott, E. Rutter, B. Ball, J. Bloomquist, J. Gable, D. Ernst, J. Venne, F. Milligan; fourth row: B. Marvin, T. Collins, R. Robarge, P. Luxem.

1962 – First individual state champion was Don Dorski in the shot put with a toss of 49’ 1 ¼”.

1963 – Coaches were Bob Meyer and Bill Fischer. Team members were Tom Gabriel, Harold Gaedtke, Frank Higgins, Dick Turnbull, Dennis Hoglund, Pete Trantow, Terry Anderson, Dennis Burgy, Frank Cronick, Jim Crapeau, Don VanderVoort, Rene Roberge, Roger Hinz, Bill Sparr, Mark Eisenman, Gary Hoffman, Gordon Erickson, Ken Urso, John Stelling, Mark Alberg, Bill Nick, Lance Bell, Jim Callahan, Ed Steigerwaldt, Tim Theiler, Jim Richards, Jack Wurster, Jim VanRyen, Otto Koske, Geoff Charapata, Dan Schiltz, Walt Binder, Phil Beiler, Daryl Ernst, John Mott, Ron Schrump, Forrest Black, Neil Whitaker, Terry Ball, Andy Beiler, Jay Arnott, Richard Berghammer, Bob Smith, Bob Koth, Dave Whitaker, Steve Johnson, Chuck Burton, Don Huseby, Dan Voermans, Bill Koch, Greg Venne, Steve Theiler, Jerry Paukner, Karl Hofmann, Phil Loveless, Dennis Briggs and John Stellings.

THS won their first conference championship, scoring 52 points. Phillips was second with 37 points. Conference place winners were Tom Gabriel – 1st (pole vault), Jim Crapeau – 1st (low hurdles with a conference record of 22.2 sec.), Gordon Erickson – 1st (880), Peter Trantow – 1st (mile), Fran Higgins – 1st (discus), Rene Robarge – 2nd (220), 880 Relay team of Gordon Erickson, Sid Lokken, Tom Gabriel, and Gary Hoffman – 2nd , Sid Lokken – 2nd (high jump), Hal Gaedtke – HM (pole vault), Gary Hoffman – HM (broad jump), and Rene Roberge – HM (100). Tom Gabriel was state champion in the pole vault with a vault of 12’ 3 ½”.

1964 – THS coaches Bob Meyer and Bill Fischer produced a second conference championship. Conference champions were Gary Hoffman (broad jump and triple jump), Hal Gaedtke (pole vault), Pete Trantow (mile), and the half mile relay team of John Mott, Jim Hibert, Roger Hinz and Gary Hoffman.

1965 – Coaches Bob Meyer and Bill Fischer produced the third conference championship and the first sectional championship in school history. Team members were Peter Trantow, Dennis Burgy, Bill Smith, Gary Hoffman, Hal Gaedtke, Fran Higgins, Dennis Theiler, Gary Gould, Dan Schiltz, John Mott, Jim Hilbert, Tim Theiler, Otto Yirkovsky, Don Mueller, Bill Lovshin, Andy Beiler, Dan Voermans, Gaylin Raab, Craig Kuntz, Joe Radcliffe, Phil Beiler, Mark Alberg, Greg Venne, Ed Steigerwaldt, Steve Gaedtke, Ron Faust, Ralph Johnson, Neil Whitaker, Tom Petta, Vince Alber, Bill Schiltz, Grant Graeber, Jerry Paukner, Steve Johnson, Oscar Copes, Jim VanRyen, Lauren Erickson, John Feind, Milton Larson, Richard Loveless, Jim Postl, Tim Herman, Dave Thompson, Paul Kuntz, Buddy Gessler, Jim Alber, Girard Robarge, Jim McCarthy, Harry Copiskey, Al Whitaker, Rod Gaedtke, Allan Hetzel, Mike Johnson and Mike Timm.

Tomahawk sent a school record 13 individuals to state, a record that still stands today. Gary Hoffman (broad jump and low hurdles), Hal Gaedtke (pole vault), Fran Higgins (discus), Peter Trantow (mile) and the Half Mile Relay team of Jim Hilbert, Gaylin Raab, Dan Schiltz, and Phil Beiler were sectional champions. State qualifiers were Gary Hoffman (high hurdles and low hurdles), Hal Gaedtke (pole vault), Peter Trantow (6th in mile), Fran Higgins (discus), Tim Theiler (high jump), Dan Mueller (discus), mile relay team of Gaylin Raab, Craig Kuntz, Dan Schiltz, and Phil Beiler, and the half mile relay team of John Mott, Him Hibert, Phil Beiler, and Steve Gaedtke.

1967 – Craig Kuntz was second at state in the long jump with a leap of 21’ 8 ¾”.

1973 – Coaches Bill Fischer, Bob Meyer and Gordy Erickson produced the first regional championship in school history. Team members were Norb Renn, Mike Johnson, Bob Wise, Dennis Raab, Kevin Hendrick, Ray Newcomb, Todd Kahle, Blain Nyberg, Tim DeBels, Tim Hoglund, Charlie Kahn, Dale Crass, Jack Parsons, Mike DeBels, Jim Richards, Von Martin, Jeff Slaton, Todd Jelinek, Tom Kahle, Grant Dotter, Dan Kaeser, Mark Gaedtke, Rick Parsons, Larry Copiskey, Bill Cook and Mike Renn. Jack Parsons (high hurdles), Mike Renn (mile), Kevin Hendrick (low hurdles), Blain Nyberg (2 mile) Charlie Kahn (shot put) and Dale Crass (discus) were regional champions.

1974 – Coaches Bill Fischer, Bob Meyer, and Gordy Erickson produced a second regional title with Tom Kahle (pole vault), Charlie Kahn (shot put), Jack Parsons (high hurdles) and Kevin Hendrick (low hurdles) as regional champions.

1975 – Tom Kahle was second at state in the pole vault with a vault of 13’ 6”.

1983 – The team was coached by Wolfgang Cahn, Jerry Johnson and Rich Steuernagel. Team members were Terry Clements, Clint Hitt, Kevin Sartain, Brian Redmond, Paul Urmanski, Paul Hagen, Jeff Swan, Jim Coey, Kevin Haring, Gabe Sablica, Jim Hanson, Jon Baer, Brian Smith, Tim Francisco, Chris Barlow, Brian Fish, Mike Schiltz, Dennis Dietz, Brian Martin, Gregg Gaedtke, Jim Calhoun, Troy Evans, Andy Weizenicker, Esaki Keiichiro, John Upham, Dave Collins, Chris Lambires, Mike Charles, Mark Hanson, Rich McAllister, and Jon Galloy.

Tomahawk was regional champions and also sectional champions (first title since 1965). At sectionals, THS defeated Maple Northwestern 66-57 and knocked New Richmond down to third place. New Richmond was the two-time sectional champions and the Class B defending state champions. At state, Tomahawk scored 10 points for 21st place. Those placing at state were Jon Baer – 3rd (high jump), Brian Smith – 5th (triple jump and high jump), and Terry Clements – 5th (400m and long jump).

1985 – Coaches were Wolfgang Cahn, Rich Steuerngel and Jerry Johnson. Team members were Mike Schiltz, Brett Henckel, Mike Charles, Jon Galloy, Joe Yustus, Jess Gaedtke, Chris Meyer, Brad Weyers, Art Steinhafel, Larry Devito, Chad Gaedtke, Kevin Krueger, Ricky Myre, Al VanStrydonk, Gregg Gaedtke, Chris Lambires, Brian Martin, Bob Garrou, Josh Leggett, Aaron Hetzel, Bill Shockley, Scott Steuernagel, Craig Brimacombe, Darin Dobson, Bruce Henning, Jim Larkin, LeRoy Springer, Brad Whitman, Paul Hagen, Jim Calhoun, Joe Clevenger, Pat Steinhafel, Dave Ebbert, Eric Huseby, Mike Steuernagel, Tim Theiler, Ryan Dilba, Tim Funk, Bryan Herman, Joe Mamaclay and Darin Sturm.

THS won their first Lumberjack Conference dual meet title in over 20 years. Tomahawk also won regionals for the 7th time in school history. Jon Galloy advanced to the state tournament. Jon placed 2nd in the 400m (:49.28 sec. for an NSR) and 7th in the 200m.

Boys’ track, 1985. Front row: B. Henckel, A. Steinhafel, C. Brimacombe, M. Charles, G. Gaedtke, J. Galloy, P. Hagen, C. Lambries; second row: J. Clevenger, J. Legget, B. Herman, L. Devito, R. Dilba, P. Steinhafel, L. Springer, C. Meyer; third row: K. Haring (Manager), R. Myre, J. Yustus, B. Shockley, D. Ebbert, M. Steuernagel, A. Hetzel, J. Gaedtke, Coach Steuernagel, Coach Kahn; back row: C. Gaedtke, S. Steuernagel, B. Whitman, T. Funk, J. Mamaclay, K. Krueger.

1986 – Jon Galloy was second at state in the 400m. Jon lost the state title by two hundredths of a second with a time of 48.8 sec. for an NSR.

1993 – Coaches were Rich Steuernagel, John Zuelsdorf, Todd Bohm, Bonnie Kahn, Jeff Zehner and Mike Loretz. Team members were Wade Melquist, Chad Beiler, Tim Albert, Craig Ploetz, Tim Menebroeker, Ryan Freude, Scott Leffel, Chad Mertens, Erik Steuernagel, Mike LaFond, Jeremy Meyer, Rick Scholz, Josh Johnson, Todd Liberty, Levi Rapp, Matt Andersen, Guy Kiser, Tim Gaedtke, Craig Redmond, Mike Sandry, Cory Gessler, Dave Tomaszewski, John Kopp, Tim Titler, Adam Menebroeker, Greg Dirkx, John Foreman, Jesse Bociek, Dale Wanta, Dave Bethel, Mike Hilgendorf, Shane Reese, Andy Klade, Jim Verbist, Denney Woodward and Paul Freude.

Tomahawk was conference relay champions for the first time in school history. They followed this up with their 8th regional title.

1997 – Coaches were Mike Loretz, Nate Mickelson, Jeff Majerus, Mark Gaedtke and Jeff Zehner. Team members were Ty Beckley, Andy Steuernagel, Jim Ingman, Nate Nelson, Chad Copiskey, Josh Carney, Dewey Reilly, Mike Tormohlen, Joe Flowers, Tom Deitz, Charlie Farmer, Matt Farmer, Jake Galloy, Justin Riebe, Justin Lund, Luke Wanta, Derek Osero, Zach Garner, Tom Runyon, Jake Hetzel, Seth Gaedtke, Gary Halverson, Kevin Kind, Simon Janeczko, Nate Schoone, Todd Sleaper and Rich Wanta.

THS was both Lumberjack Conference Dual Meet Champion and Lumberjack Conference Tournament Champion for the only time in school history. Todd Sleaper was voted Lumberjack Conference Athlete of the Year.  Mike Loretz was voted Lumberjack Conference Coach of the Year.

2002 – Todd Copiskey was second at state in the pole vault with a vault of 13’ 6”.

2005 – Anthony Lampe was state champ in the 800m in a time of 1:55.92 for an NSR – just 1.58 seconds off the D2 state record of Mike Raemisch of Waunakee.

2006 – Anthony Lampe was second at state in the 800m when he had to run in the slow heat.

2008 – Joe Lilek was state champion in the shot put with a toss of 55’ 4 ½” for an NSR and improvement of over 11 feet from his junior year.

2010 – Coaches were John Zuelsdorf, Nate Mickelson, Mike Janz, Katie Hanna, Zeff Zehner, DeAnn Janeczko, Katie Carlson, Mike Loretz and Sara Piller. Team members were Tyler Bostwick, Nathan Kainz, Josh Barr, Andy Murphy, Zach Zehner, Elijah Record, Matt Gerber, Garrett Daigle, Travis Spaeth, Zach Bruesewitz, Dan Galloy, Larry Hendzel, Dylan Dahl, Thomas Miller, Mike Norton, Austin Phalin, Ryan Kuehn, Brogan Lemke, Ethan Renn, Victor Ierulli, Alex Kuehn, Nick Vandenberg, Ben Arndt, Adam Benner, Randall Freeman, Caleb Overhaug, Justin Novitski, Nate Kuehn, Neko McMahon, Tyler Bostwick, Jordan McAllister and Austin Champine.

Tomahawk would win their first sectional title since 1983. Matt Gerber would place second at state in the 100m (10.77 sec. NSR) and 200m (22.12 sec. NSR).

Boys’ track, 2010. Front row: M. Norton, L. Hendzel, R. Kuehn, B. Arndt, V. Ierulli, A. Kuehn, N. Kuehn, D. Dahl, A. Benner, R. Freeman, C. Overhaug; back row: B. Lemke, J. Novitski, Z. Bruesewitz, T. Miller, N. Kainz, N. McMahon, T. Bostwick, E. Renn, J. Barr, D. Galloy, A. Murphy, Z. Zehner, T. Spaeth, M. Gerber, A. Phalin, N. Vandenberg, G. Daigle.

2011 – Matt Gerber was state champion in the 200m with a time of 21.4 sec. for an NSR and new state record. Matt Gerber would place second at state in the 100m in 10.86 sec. The 4 X 100m relay team of Matt Gerber, Dan Galloy, Eddie Yirsa and Travis Spaeth would place second at state in a time of 43.2 sec. for an NSR.

Scroll to Top