Hagge, Cardinals thinking big

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Middleton's Perrin Hagge is the No. 1 seed at state in both the 800- and the 1,600-meter run./Photo courtesy of Christopher Hujanen

For the majority of his formative years, Perrin Hagge lived roughly four hours north of Middleton in the small town of Lakeland, Wis.

It was there — in the great north — that Hagge developed a love for running. It was also there where Hagge found his first true rival.

“I had a neighbor who I competed a lot with,” Hagge said. “He was one of the fastest people I knew.”

It would be interesting what that neighbor would say about Hagge. Because to the rest of the state, Hagge has quickly become a poster boy for speed.

Hagge, a junior at Middleton, had an unforgettable performance at last Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 Holmen Sectional.

Hagge won the 800-meter run in 1:53.63 and also captured the 1,600 in 4:12.60. Hagge is now the No. 1 seed in both races at this weekend’s state meet at UW-La Crosse.

“It exceeded my wildest expectations,” said Hagge, who broke school records in both events at sectionals. “Obviously the first goal was to qualify for state.

“But it’s an honor to have the No. 1 seed in both events. I’ll certainly do my best now.”

Hagge’s best helped Middleton enjoy a memorable day at sectionals.

The Cardinals won the team title with 119 points to easily outdistance runner-up Baraboo (85). Holmen (80), Madison West (65) and La Crosse Logan (58.5) rounded out the top five.

Hagge and many of his teammates will now make the trip to La Crosse with great expectations. The Cardinals finished fifth as a team last year, and seemingly have plenty of firepower to match — or exceed — such a finish this season.

“Realistically we’re a top-five team at the state meet,” Middleton coach Isaac Mezera said. “We are sitting in a great position to make something happen, but the guys will need to perform.”

Hagge has certainly done that during his time at MHS.

Hagge lived in Lakeland until 2011 when he moved into the district before his eighth grade year. Hagge said he didn't fully commit to track and field until after his freshman year at MHS, and the results have been spectacular.

Hagge was 10th at state in the 800 last season and was on a pair of state-qualifying relay teams. This year, Hagge has turned it up several notches and heads to state as the favorite to win gold in both the 800- and 1,600.

“I had seen the honor roll and the times up there,” said Hagge, who was named Middleton’s MVP at its banquet on Sunday. “I was just going to give everything at sectionals, and as it happens, I have the top times

“I’m quite excited. It’s nice that we’ll be able to take a large team up to La Crosse and it’s a good culmination for the season.”

Hagge will have plenty of company at state.

Middleton senior Noah Meeteer had a memorable day at sectionals, winning the pole vault (14-6). Meeteer is now seeded fourth at state.

Cardinals sophomore Gus Newcomb was second in the 3,200 (9:24.79) at sectionals and is seeded fourth at state. Middleton junior Jack Jesse was second in the long jump (22-1) and is seeded seventh at state.

Cardinals senior Nnamdi Okoli was second in the 100-meter dash (10.97) and in the 200 (21.94). Okoli is now seeded ninth at state in the 100 and seventh in the 200.
Middleton junior Jordan Futch was second at sectionals in the 400 (51.44) and is seeded 22nd at state. Zach Shoemaker-Allen was second in the 800 (1:57.10) and is seeded 14th at state.

Middleton also qualified three of its four relay teams for state.

The quartet of senior Shoemaker-Allen, Cole Conklin-Little, Roger Waleffe and Futch was first in the 3,200-meter relay in 8:00.0 and is seeded eighth at state. Middleton’s 400-meter relay team of senior Alex Wood, Meeteer, senior Nicholas Bilodeau and Okoli was second (43.41) in the 400-meter relay and is seeded 15th at state.

And Middleton’s 1,600-meter relay team of senior Travis Zander, senior Zach Easton junior Griffin Gussel and Waleffe was second (3:25.09) and is seeded 20th at state.

Those performances helped Middleton win a second consecutive sectional title.

“To take a second team title in a row at sectionals means a lot to this team,” Mezera said. “My hope is we can keep the momentum up for state.”

Hagge certainly hopes to keep up his momentum, as all eyes will be on the Middleton standout.

“I’m not going to get too far ahead of myself,” Hagge said when asked about winning a pair of titles. “I’ll just see how I’m feeling going in … and hopefully things will work out.”

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