Fall Creek looks to repeat as girls track state champs

State Track & Field Meet Preview

The Fall Creek High School Girls Track and Field Team captured the 2023 WIAA Division 3 Track title with 55 points. Chequamegon and Lancaster both finished a distant second with 28 points.

Can the Crickets repeat as champions? While FC won't have as many entries as they did last year's state meet, with the entries they do have in this year's meet - which begins Friday, May 31 at Veteran's Memorial Stadium in La Crosse - they do have a shot.

But its going to require big points in big moments.

Fortunately the Crickets have those athletes going into this year's state meet. You start with sophomore Becca Stursz who won the sectional title in the meet at Cameron last week Thursday, May 23 in the 100-meter dash with a school record time of :12.28 seconds. She has one of the top times in the Division 3 field in the 100. Then there's defending state champion junior Alena Sanfelippo. She's the top seed for the Crickets in the pole vault as she matched her school-record height of 11 feet, nine inches to win the sectional title along with being a top-seed in the triple jump, winning first in the sectional meet with a leap of 36-5. She also finished third in the long jump at 16-11 and will compete in that event as well as the 800-meter relay, where she and her teammates Strusz, freshman Rylee Winsand and junior Reese Lucken, finished second in the sectional meet to Grantsburg in 1:46.15. Fall Creek has the fourth-best seed time in the 800 relay at 1:46.15 after running to the title in the event in 2023. FC will also have two entries in the high jump as sectional runner-up and state placewinner a year ago, senior Evelyn Bergeron will compete along with teammate junior Mariah Shoop, who finished third at sectionals.

The big points these athletes scored at sectional helped the Crickets win the sectional title for the second straight season with 72 points to 69 for the host Comets. So if it can be done at the sectional level it can certainly be done at state, where there are even more teams to act as buffers while the Crickets can score the big points if they get the performances to match up with their seeds. But it will be a tremendous challenge with fewer entries than last season.

Fennimore and Shiocton have the most entries in the division with 10. Both have representation in eight individual events and four relays. Cameron and Lancaster are next on the list with nine entries apiece. The Comets have seven participants in individual events and two relays represented. The Flying Arrows have five participants in individual events and all four relays represented. Eight individual events, and two relays feature returning champions. Senior Autumn Michalski of Chequamegon is the returning champion in both the 800 and 1600 runs. A four-time qualifier in the 800 she also finished runner-up in 2022 and eighth in 2021. Her seed time of 2:11.32 ranks second among qualifiers in the event. In addition, she placed fourth in the 1600 in 2022, and she has been runner-up in the 3200-meter run the past two seasons. She enters the meet with the fastest qualifying time of 4:55.05 in the event. Remember that Michalski, considered one of the best distance runners in the state, helped the Eagles win a runner-up trophy all by herself last season and this year has some teammates down at state with her,

Sophomore Bella Thomas of Wisconsin Rapids Assumption sprinted to the title in the 100 dash last season, and she possesses the quickest qualifying time in the event this year at 12.23. Thomas also has the fastest qualifying time of 25.28 in the 200-meter dash after placing second a year ago . Another sophomore returning champion is Iszy Sonnegtag from Cadott. She won the 400 dash last season, and she has the fastest seed time this year at 57.44. Senior Sophia Bablitch of Rosholt ran to the title in the 3,200 run in 2023. She’s back in the event, qualifying with the sixth-best time of 11:29.03. Junior Kamdan Johnson of Florence/Niagara captured the crown in the 100 hurdles last year. Her 15.21 sectional time this season ranks second in the event. Junior Nolie Anderson of Menasha St. Mary's Catholic won the discus last season after placing eighth in 2022. Her distance of 118-0 at sectionals ranks ninth among this year’s qualifiers.. Oshkosh Lourdes is considered a strong contender for a second straight 3200 relay title, coming into the state meet with the fastest qualifying time of 9:40.37.

Fall Creek boys are the only other Tri-County Area team with entries at state, They finished 11th in the sectional meet team standings this season after winning it the past two season in a row. Senior Isaac Steinke will be in La Crosse for both hurdle events which he finished third in the 110-meter highs and fourth in the 300-meter intermediates at the sectional meet; freshman Koren Tumm in the triple jump where placed third and senior Dakota Antczak, who finished fourth in the discus.

The state meet features two sessions Friday. The Division 1 session begins at 9:30 a.m. with the competition proceeding in the order of events, which can be found on the Track & Field Tournament page on the WIAA website. The Divisions 2 and 3 session begins at 3 p.m. The competition resumes Saturday at 9:30 a.m. The order of the finals for each event Saturday begins with Division 3, followed by Divisions 2 and then Division 1. The ticket price for the State Track & Field Championships is $11 per session plus online fees. Tickets are available to be purchased online on the WIAA website through GoFan, the WIAA ticketing partner, at: https://gofan.co/app/school/WIAAWI?activity=Track%20and%20Field. The live stream of the State Meet will be produced by Rush Media on the WIAA.TV portal of the NFHS Network. To purchase a subscription to the live programming, log-on to www.wiaa.tv and click on the subscription image on the home page at www.wiaawi.org.

Sectional Review
Tri-County Area prep track and field teams were scattered this season as Fall Creek and Augusta competed in the Division 3 Cameron Sectional meet last week while Eleva-Strum competed in the D-3 sectional meet in Bangor last week Thursday, May 23.

At Cameron, scoring points for their respective teams, Fall Creek's girls got a sixth from Stursz in the 200; seventh from senior Emallie Sorenson in the 800; seventh from junior Gracie Marten in the 300-meter low hurdles and 13th in the triple jump; a sixth places from their 1600 and 3200-meter relay teams and a sixth from Stursz in the long jump. Points for the Fall Creek boys were from their 800-meter relay team, sixth and their 1600-meter relay team, eighth. Also competing in Cameron, junior Anna Dougherty, ninth in the 100-meter high hurdles and 11th in the 300 hurdles; the Crickets' 400-meter relay team, 12th; senior Caroline Grossinger, 16th in the shot put; senior Brian Birdsall; 11th in the 200; junior Korbyn Anderson, 11th in the 400; senior Jacob Wathke, 13th in the 400 and 10th in the triple jump; junior Caleb Steinke, 12th in the 800; Tumm, 14th in the 300 IM hurdles and 11th in the long jump; the 400-meter relay team, 12th; the 3200 relay team, 12th; senior Levi Aitkin, 13th in the pole vault; Steinke 9th and Bo Vollrath 12th in the shot put and Lincoln Burr, 13th in the discus. Augusta junior Flint Parisi finished 11th in the discus and senior Brady Bertrang placed 15th in the 200-meter dash.

At Bangor, Eleva-Strum got points from sophomore Aliza Kulig as she finished sixth in the high jump. Other E-S competitors in the meet were freshman Annalyse Preston, 10th in the 400; the E-S girls 1600-meter relay team was 11th and junior Kenzy King finished 10th in the discus. For the Central boys, who the school's first-ever Dairyland Conference track and field championship this season; junior Jack Preston finished ninth in the 400; 15th in the 400-meter relay; 12th in the 1600-meter relay; 11th in the 3200-meter relay; sophomore Jaxon Rindal was 14th in the shot put and senior Ryan Julson finished 10th in the discus.

The WIAA State Track and Field Meet Preview contributed to this story


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