Passing lane

With a lap still to go in the 800M race at the Mosinee Sectional on Thursday, May 23, Barron’s Tristan Massie (center, left) had a pack of runners ahead of him. He tracked down all but one of his competitors to finish second, qualifying for the state track meet and breaking a 48-year-old school record in the process.

Barron’s Tristan Massie led a group of four Golden Bears Thursday, May 23, at the Div. 2 track and field sectional held at Mosinee, qualifying for the WIAA State Track and Field Championships and breaking a long-standing school record.

Massie ran to a second place finish in the 800-meter run at Mosinee. The top four finishers in each event advance to the two-day state meet, with the boys Div. 2 800M set for Saturday afternoon, June 1, the second day of competition at UW-La Crosse’s track and field complex.

Massie’s qualification made a bit of school history, as the senior will compete in his third state tournament this school year. He finished 82nd at the Div. 2 state cross country meet and then wrapped up a stellar wrestling career with a third place finish in the Div. 2 152-pound bracket at Madison.

“Tristan Massie rose to the challenge,” Barron track coach David Seis said. “He not only advanced to the State meet, but in the process, broke a 48-year-old school record.

“In one of the most exciting finishes to a race I have seen in a long time, Massie sprinted to the finish, passing a number of runners in the final 100 meters, narrowly missing out on first and finishing in a new school record time of 1:58.22 to earn his ticket to State.

“Arcadia’s Kaden Lisowski ran a 1:58.08, holding off a ferocious Massie charge to finish in first.”

Massie’s time qualifies him for the faster of two sections of 800M Div. 2 boys at state. After an initial race of seven boys, a second group of ten will run for the gold. Massie has the seventh fastest time of the state qualifiers.

Two McFarland seniors, Andrew Pahnke and Patrick Fasick, top the list at 1:55.99 and 1:56.04.

“Massie has the most mental toughness of any athlete I have seen and absolutely refuses to be beaten in a race,” Seis said after the Mosinee Sectional. “With 200 meters to go, Tristan was probably in about fifth or sixth place.

“It is usually at about this point in the race when he shifts into ‘Massie mode,’ where you can see him bear down, grit his teeth and somehow find that extra gear that pushes him past other runners.

“Massie surpassed the old school record of 1:58.5 that had been held by Timothy Boortz since 1971. This was one of the oldest records on the board, so it is a testament to how hard Tristan had to work to beat it. Massie is not a stranger to the school record board, however, as he was a member of the 3200M relay teams that broke that school record the past two seasons.”

Massie’s run of consecutive state tournament appearances actually began last school year. He made the state wrestling tournament as a junior and then was part of Barron’s 3200M relay team that advanced to La Crosse last spring.

“Making it to state in any sport is incredibly difficult,” Seis said. “To be able to make it to state three times in one school year – and all in individual sports – is astonishing. I would be curious how many, if any, previous (Barron) athletes have been able to pull that off.”

Coach Seis wouldn’t be surprised to see Massie bring back hardware from La Crosse.

“The top six at state make it to the podium, and with the times between the top 10 runners all very close, it should be an exciting race to see who gets to stand on the podium,” the coach said. “There are no preliminaries in the 800M, so Massie can give everything he has in one final race and try to break his own record.”

Three other Golden Bears qualified for the sectional meet but didn’t advance to the state level. Barron’s next highest finisher was junior Chase Peltier.

“Chase was competing in the high jump and knew going in that he would have to be at his absolute best to move on,” the coach said. “Peltier had a goal of clearing 6 feet entering the meet, with the thought that 6 feet would probably be enough to move on. Chase had a great night, equaling his personal best of 5’10” and narrowly missing out on 6 feet.”

Peltier finished in seventh place, and as predicted, the fourth place qualifier moved on by clearing 6 feet. Prescott junior Wyatt Holm won the sectional title with a leap of 6’4”.

“Chase has a great attitude and work ethic, and we know that he will do everything he can to get back here next season and get his chance to move on to La Crosse,” Seis said.

Two sophomore Bears also competed at Mosinee, making the future of Barron track very bright.

“Abdinoor Hussein ran a very impressive, personal best time of 2:07.69 in the 800M, improving his time by almost 2 seconds and finishing in 11th place,” the coach said. “Hussein has continued to shave time off of this race every time he runs it, and has the potential to be a fantastic runner throughout his high school career.”

Marcus Peterson finished 12th in the 3200M run with a time of 10:40.36, 37 seconds behind the final state qualifying time. Bloomer senior Cole Michaelsen claimed the sectional title in 9:49.24.

“Both Hussein and Peterson have learned a great deal about preparation and toughness by working out and competing alongside Tristan the past two seasons,” Seis said. “Next year, they will be expected to pick up that torch and serve as leaders for future Barron track athletes.”