Fall Creek tracksters looking to compete for state trophies
What's the next mountain left to climb for the Fall Creek High School Track and Field Team, now that they've all most all their meets this season, including the Western Cloverbelt Conference, WIAA regional and sectional meets as well?
Sweep both state meet titles this weekend at Veterans Memorial Stadium in LaCrosse?
That would be a tall order to do but both the boys and girls have plenty of entries to give it a good try, especially on the girls' side.
"The girls will have a shot to finish high at state," Fall Creek head coach Terry Anders said. "At first glance it looks like Lancaster has quite the crew there, but I think we have the kids to do it. They just have to be confident and do what they do. We cannot control our opponents, we can only control ourselves. So we need to eat well, drink water, get rest and take care of our bodies. Then just compete at this point."
FC will need top finishes not only from individual athletes such as freshman Rebecca Sturtz in the 100-meter dash, sophomore Alena Sanfelippo in both the pole vault and long jump and senior Jenna Anders in the 800 and 1600-meter runs but also in the 400, 800 and 3200-meter relays, where direct confrontation with Lancaster offers itself. In the 400, the Arrows' time is :50.94 and Fall Creek's is :50.52. In the 800, FC's time is 1:46.87 while Lancaster's is 1:47.35. And in the 3200 relay, Fall Creek's time is 10:01.35 while Lancaster's is 9:52.56. There will be prelims in the 400 and 800 while the finals of the 3200 will be Saturday morning, June 3 at 10 a.m.
Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs has the fourth-best seed time in the 400 relay at sectionals with a 51.18 after running to the title in the event in 2022. Lancaster is the two-time defending champion returning in the 800 relay, but the Flying Arrows will need to improve on their sixth-best qualifying time of 1:47.35 to win back-to-back championships in the event. Boscobel is considered a strong contender for a third straight 3,200 relay title, coming into action this week with this season’s fastest time at 9:48.22.
FC will also look for points from sophomore Evelyn Bergeron whose 5-3 leap in the sectionals puts her in the top of the field. Relay team members for Fall Creek are Sturtz, Sanfelippo, Anders, senior Samantha Bann, senior McKenna Klawiter, senior Megan Johnston and junior Emallie Sorenson,
Fall Creek and Lancaster has representation in nine events, which leads the division for girls D-3. The Flying Arrows have entries in five individual events and all four relays. The Crickets have entries in six individual events and three relays. Both Dodgeland and Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs have participants in eight events. The Trojans of Dodgeland have qualifiers in five individual events and three relays, and the Ledgers of Springs each have representation in four individual events and all four relays. Six individual events, and three relays feature returning champions. In addition one individual event includes two former champions.
Webster captured the Division 3 title last year with 38 points. Dodgeland finished runner-up with 37 points.
Other top individuals in D-3 girls include senior Ava Washburn of Webster. She is a returning champion in three events. She won the 100 hurdles after placing sixth in 2021. Washburn has recorded the fastest sectional time this season at 15:01. She won the long jump last season after placing fourth in 2021. Washburn is expected to challenge for the title with her qualifying toss of 18-11 1/2 being nine inches further than the next closest competitor in the event. She is also the returning champion in the triple jump after placing third in 2021. Washburn has the best qualifying mark this season at 37-0 3/4. Senior Kendal Stingle of Shiocton is the two-time returning champion in the 300 hurdles. She enters the meet with the second-best qualifying time of 46.54. In the 100 dash, senior Steffi Siewert of Deerfield dropped to third last year after earning the gold medal in 2021. She returns to event this season with the ninth-best seed time of 12.88. Senior Kallie Volk of Three Lakes/Phelps has earned the opportunity to defend the title she won in the high jump a year ago with the event’s top qualifying height at 5-5. She will need to contend with junior Izzy Bender of Fennimore, who won the 2021 title and placed third last season. She enters with a qualifying height of 5-3.
Competing for Fall Creek in the boys' meet are senior Ryan Whittlinger in both the shot put and discus, senior Stewart Gundry in the 800-meter run who got in as an extra qualifier with a time of 1:57.73 and is in the fast heat of the prelims. Senior Eli Laube will be at state competing in the 110-meter high hurdles, fellow senior Leo Hagberg will be there in the triple jump and the Crickets qualified two relays, the 1600 and 3200. Boys 3200-meter relay finals will be at 10 a.m. on Friday, June 2. Their relay team members are Gundry, sophomore Korbyn Anderson, junior Isaac Steinke, senior Tyler Kleinhans, freshman Marcus Kleinhans and sophomore Caleb Steinke.
Lancaster possesses the most event entries in D-3 boys with eight, including five individual events and three relays. Fall Creek, Grantsburg, Onalaska Luther, Shiocton, Stratford and Winnebago Lutheran each have entries in seven events. There are four individual events and two relays that return champions to the meet this year. Senior Cade Stingel of Shiocton accounts for two of the events as the returning champion in the 110 and 300 hurdles after finishing runner-up in both those events in 2021. He has the fastest seed time in the 110 hurdles at 14.91 and the second-swiftest qualifying time in the 300 hurdles at 39.23. Senior Carson Tait of Eau Claire Regis returns to defend the title he won in the 100 dash last season. He possesses the second-fastest time turned in at sectionals last week at 11.05. Senior Aiden Janke of Athens won the shot put last season, and he should contend for the title again this year with the second-best mark heading into competition at 53-1 1/2. Regis appears to be the quartet to beat in the 400 relay after posting the top seed time at sectionals at 43.44 following last year’s championship performance in the event. Ozaukee is the returning champion in the 3200-meter relay. The Warriors qualify this season with a time of 8:21.70, which ranks ninth among qualifying teams this season. Chetek-Weyerhaeuser captured the state crown in Division 3 boys last year by scoring 44 points, and Athens placed second with 35 points.
Regardless what happens this weekend the season has been a big success for the Cricket program
"We have really good numbers with 75 kids out," Anders said. "These kids work so hard and are great athletes. Many times we are leaving kids out of meets who would be top runners on other teams, but we don't have enough spots. We are usually able to fill all available spots and still have great relay teams. It also helps to have some superstars that can win multiple events and then place a couple more kids in the top eight. We also have eight coaches who give these kids a lot of coaching. I'm so proud of our staff for putting our kids in good situations. I think the success and support we have for each other really makes our team special. We also have a large following of fans that make these kids feel special."
One other Tri-County Athlete will be competing in the state meet this weekend and that's Augusta senior Ben Dickinsen in the 400-meter dash.
The 127th Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Boys Track and Field Championships, the oldest in the United States, and the 52nd Girls Track and Field Championships will be held Friday-Saturday, June 2-3, at the Veterans Memorial Stadium Complex on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. The meet features two sessions Friday. The Divisions 2 and 3 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 Division 1 session begins at 4:30 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 1, respectively. Ticket prices for the State Track & Field Championships are $11 per session plus online fees, and they 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 livestream 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.
(The WIAA media center contributed to this article)
State meet heat sheets for Division 3 : https://www.wiaawi.org/Portals/0/PDF/Melissa/D3-HeatSheets.pdf?ver=7a31v...