The stretch run
Track and field athletes leap into postseason action
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — The 2016 WIAA State Track and Field Championships are on the horizon, and it is safe to say numerous local athletes will be a part of them.
High school track teams began postseason action earlier this week with their respective conference meets and now look forward to the qualifying process for the state meet, which is June 3-4 at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
In Division 1 Marshfield will travel to Wausau West; Stratford is at Colby in Division 2; and Spencer, Marshfield Columbus Catholic, and Auburndale will compete in Division 3 at Marathon on Monday in WIAA regionals. The top four finishers in each event in all divisions move on to sectionals on May 26. The top three finishers in Division 1 and the top four in Divisions 2 and 3 at the sectionals qualify for the state meet.
Columbus Catholic’s Alexandra Hutchison is looking for a chance to defend her Division 3 girls 100- and 200-meter titles.
After setting a new Division 3 state record in the 200 (24.91 seconds) during preliminaries last year, Hutchison, a Winona State (Minn.) University recruit, is on course to make it back to La Crosse in possibly three events this time around.
Hutchison won the 100 (12.68), 200 (26.21), and 400 (59.33) titles at the Eastern Cloverbelt Conference Meet on Tuesday and has been dominating in all three events throughout the season, winning all three at the Edgar and Stratford invites earlier this month as well.
Auburndale’s Sylviann Momont has also been on quite a roll, winning four events at the Edgar Invite and three more — the long jump, triple jump, and 100 hurdles — at the Marawood South Conference Meet on Monday at Stratford.
Momont went to state in the triple jump, long jump, and as part of the 1,600 relay last year, and she is looking strong to contend for spots again.
“Sylviann has been dominating long and triple jump competitions this season,” Auburndale coach Brian Swenson said. “She has broken her own school records in both of these events. She also is the current school record holder in the 300 hurdles and 400, 800, and 1,600 relays.”
Kali Karl — a state meet qualifier last year in the 800 — along with Cassie Mitchell (100 and 300 hurdles), Rachel Gronemeyer (400), and Katie Leick (1,600), and the 1,600 relay team that includes Karl, Mitchell, Gronemeyer, and Isabella Jewell all have potential to make it to La Crosse, Swenson said.
“We expect to advance to sectionals in several events and have continued postseason success,” Swenson said. “I do expect more success from the girls team as whole. There are some boys with a shot to advance in sprints and possibly the jumps as well.
“Late May and early June is a great time of year to have athletes performing at their best. We look forward to the opportunity to advance each week and are praying for good health and good weather.”
Spencer’s Nadia King (1,600) and Johanna Ellefson (pole vault) each went to state a year ago and look strong again heading into the postseason.
Marshfield’s best shot on the boys side rests with Calden Wojt, a state qualifier in the 400 meters last year. Wojt has been dominant all season in the 100, 200, and 400, winning at least two of the events at each of the Tigers’ outdoor meets this spring.
Amy Martorano (discus) also went to state a year ago and will look to make another trip. Promising Tigers that could be in contention at regionals include sophomore Meg Bryan (long and triple jumps), Shantel Nienast (high jump), Alexa Aumann and Courtney Brown (middle distance), and a number of the Tigers’ relay teams.
“We have had a good season so far and recently placed second at both the Otto Bacher Invite in Merrill and the Wisconsin Dells Invite,” Marshfield girls coach Dan Akin said. “We look for a strong finish from the ladies, beginning with our conference meet.”
A number of Stratford relay teams that could make some noise in the postseason, including a strong 400 girls team of Emily Hauke, Sarah LaBorde, Brooke Peterson, and Keyarra Dahl, which was second at the Marawood South meet.