Tri-County prep teams demonstrate early strength in track and field
So far into the 2023 prep track and field season, several Tri-County programs and athletes have shown their strength.
A good portion of that strength comes from Fall Creek. The Crickets are the defending Western Cloverbelt and WIAA regional champions with boys' the defending sectional champs. And while the Crickets graduates such athletes and champions, qualifiers and top place-winners from last year's team such as Katie Kent, Emily Hong, Samantha Spencer, Trinity Lontz,:Kael Sanfelippo, Eric Steinke, Soren Johnson, Gunnar Johnson, Andrew Anderson, Cameron Martzke what they return is quite considerable to making them champions once again.
This includes, for the girls, state qualifiers such as Jenna Anders 800 (3rd) and 1600 (5th) and Samantha Bann in the high jump (10th); the school-record breaking 4x100 relay team Kylie VanDong, McKenna Klawiter, Samantha Bann; Much of the 4x800 state qualifying team of Emallie Soreson, Megan Johnston and Anders which took second and also broke a school record. Conference champs like Anders, Bann and Johnston in various events including Johnston in the 300-meter low hurdles, and the 4x400 relay Ali Sanfelippo, Johnston, Sorensen and Anders.
"Alena Sanfelippo will have an excellent chance to advance in the long jump and pole vault as well as the relays," FC head coach Terry Anders said. "Evelyn Bergeron will look to make it in the high jump and possibly our 4x800. Kylie VanDong and McKenna Klawiter will be big contributors in the sprints. JaneyAnne Grossinger returns from a knee injury and will be one of the top throwers in the conference. We added some fast freshmen as some terrific upperclassmen who should be big point scorers."
The boys' return Ryan Whittlinger, who will lead the Cricket throwers and was a state qualifier in the shot and discus, taking third in the shot put. Stewart Gundry, Caleb Steinke and Tyler Kleinhans return from the state-qualifying and fifth place finishing 4x800 foursome and will be FC's top mid-distance runners.. Eli Laube and Isaac Steinke will compete in the hurdles with senior state qualifier Leo Hagberg having an excellent opportunities in the long and triple jump. Levi Atkins will be the Crickets top pole vaulter for the boys. WCC winners include Hagberg in the triple jump triple jump, the 3200-meter relay team, the 800-meter relay team of Atkins, Jacob Wathke, Korbyn Anderson and Hagberg and Gundry from the 1600-meter relay team.
"We will be pretty solid in most events," FC head coach Terry Anders said. "We have a lot of sprinters and throwers. We have great vaulters. We look to improve in the hurdles. Girls will be very strong in all of the relay events. The boys will continue to be strong in field events and mid-distance. We look to improve our sprint and distance crew."
Allie Sanfelippo has already broken school records in the pole vault and long jump so far this season. She broke her long jump record in the non-team scored Mustang Open held last week Thursday in Menomonie at 17 feet even and the pole vault mark with a first place showing at 10-6. Other top place-winners for Fall Creek in Menomonie included Bergeron winning the high jump at 5-2 with Bann tying for second; FC winning the 3200-meter relay in 11:45; second in the 1600 relay, first in both the 800 and 400 as well; Anna Dougherty taking second in the 300-meter hurdles, Anders winning the 800 in 2:32 and 1600 runs in 5:20 respectively. ;
On the boys' side of the ledger in Menomonie Gundry won the 400-meter dash in :52.73 and was third in the 800; FC won the 800, 1600 and 3200 relays (winning time in the mile relay 3:44 and the two-mile 9:29). Hagberg won the triple jump in 42-4 and second in the long jump, Atkins was third in the pole vault and was Laube in the high jump. Whittlinger was first in the shot put at 49-9 and second in the discus.
Augusta and Eleva-Strum's teams in boys and girls finished in top five two meets last week - one hosted by Central on Tuesday, April 11 and the Indee Relays in Independence on Thursday, April 13. The top place-winners in boys and girls for both teams were the ones expect to and have the past experience as top finishers in Dairyland Conference, regional, sectional and state meets. AHS's boys are the defending Dairyland Conference team champions.
At the E-S meet last week, the Cardinals' senior Jaden Bautch and sophomore teammate Ella McConnell finished 2-4 in the 100-meer dash with Augusta sophomore Patricia Kloss finishing third. Bautch also finished second in the 200-meter dash and the shot put too. Augusta senior Ava Peterson finished in the top four of the 1600 and 3200-meter runs. Kloss was a fourth place finisher in the triple jump and AHS has a pole vaulter who placed third in freshman Danica Wolf. The AHS girls' won the 400-meter relay in :56.53 and Eleva-Strum took first in the 800 relay in 1:59.29. The Cards Jake Olson had third place finishes in the pole vault and triple jump. Ben Dickinsen, the DC champ in all three sprinting events, is back for Augusta and picked up where he left off finishing first in the 200 at E-S last week in :23.22 seconds and took second in the 100 and third in the long jump. Also back for the Beavers is state qualifier and DC hurdling champ Levi White as he won the 110-meter high hurdles in :16.22 and the 300-meter intermediate hurdles in :44 seconds even. Augusta's boys won the 800 relay in 1:48. Augusta returns the following athletes from their state qualifying and sectional runner-up 400-meter relay team, seniors White, Dickinsen, Drew Jacobs and junior Brady Bertrang. AHS's boys also return distance runners seniors Devin Molinaro and Justin Frank.
Such showings are why E-S head coach Nadine Rovang is excited to see where the Cardinals will end up this season. While Central graduated graduated seniors: Madison Schultz, Wyatt Miland, Charlie Dyar, Brady Monson and Garrett Zimpel they return 15 athletes including the bulk of their sectional qualifiers and top place-winners in the conference and regional meets. This includes Bautch, McConnell, Olson, Brennan Hanner
Ryan Julson, Jared Bohn, Amalia Dyer, Mackenzy King, Jack Preston, Anabel Howie, Kassidy Koxilen, Annika Skoug, Katiera Walz, Avarie Segerstrom and Kaya Franson. E-S's girls 800 squad won the DC title a year ago and Bautch was the league champ in the shot put as well.
"We'll be looking to improve in all areas," Rovang said. "We have large number of freshman with many events we can put them in and our strength will be the sprint relays, boys and girls throwers and the 800. But more than anything is the experience we return and the fact our athletes are a year stronger and faster as well."
Tri-County Area athletes who placed well at the Indee Invite last week included the E-S 1600-meter boys relay, third; 800 relay, second; Dickinsen in the long jump relay, second individuall; White in the triple jump relay, second; Julson in the discus relay, first individually with a toss of 119-02, E-S and Augusta finishing 2-3 in the girls 1600 relay; Liza Kulig finishing second in the high jump; Annika Skoug third in the long jump; Kenzie King winning the discus in 90-11 with Bautch third in the shot put.
Also competing in the Indee Relays last week was Osseo-Fairchild. Senior Taylor Hammer finished first in the triple jump with a leap of 29-5 and fellow senior Bryce Armstrong-Baglien was fourth in the pole vault clearing nine feet and junior Breanna Aguillard took fourth in the high jump. They are the Thunder's top returning athletes for this season along with sectional qualifiers junior Corryn Konkel; juniors Tymeka Eisberner; Emily Cain, and Aguillard and seniors Lexi Mazur and Paige Pronschinke for the girls along with senior Kyle Burmesch, juniors Mason Scheffer, Gryphon Brown, Joquin Rodriguez and Timmy Koskovich and sophomores Jack Steinke, Jack Curry and Lincoln Bertrang.