The sprint to state
Wojt carries mantle for MHS, Dons’ Hutchison looks to make history
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — Marshfield senior Calden Wojt came into the season shooting for a return trip to the state track meet in the 400 meters. After three months of success, Wojt now finds himself going to state in three events.
Wojt will be Marshfield’s lone representative at the 2016 WIAA State Track & Field Championships on Friday and Saturday at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse as he participates in the Division 1 100, 200, and 400 meters at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
About halfway through the season, Wojt added the 100 into his meet schedule, more to be used as a warm-up, he said, for the 400. As it turned out, he was pretty good in that too and went on to finish in no worse than third in any of the events at the Wisconsin Valley Conference, regional, and sectional meets during the past month.
“This year the 200 has been my strongest event,” Wojt said. “I’m not great at the starts, accelerating fast. The 200 gives me extra time to get going full speed.”
That being said, Wojt takes the fourth-best seeding time into the Division 1 boys 100 after he finished in second at the D.C. Everest sectional in 10.90 seconds. He is ranked third overall and first in his preliminary heat in the 200 after running a 21.86 at sectionals.
“It’s going to be tough (at state),” Wojt said. “You are going against the best in the state. I know I can run with them. I think I have the best chance in the 200 and have a good time (50.49) going into the 400. The 100, I didn’t expect to make it this far, so I’m not as concerned about that.”
Wojt said he is focused on one thing: doing his best. Whether he ends up winning one, two, three, or even no medals with a top-six finish, he wants to know afterwards that he did all he could.
“I want to do the best I can do,” Wojt said. “If I do that, we’ll see how it plays out. If it’s not good enough to make the finals or get to the podium, that’s OK. I’m proud of this season and will be very happy regardless.”
Hutchison seeks three-peat for Dons
Marshfield Columbus Catholic senior Alexandra Hutchison is looking to do something not too many can claim in the history of the WIAA state track meet: win the same event three years straight.
Hutchison will be running in the Division 3 girls 100 and 200 meters after winning both events last year. She also took first in the 200 as a sophomore in 2014.
Hutchison set a D-3 state meet record in the 200 at last year’s meet, notching a time of 24.91 in the preliminaries. She went on to win the finals in 25.71 and took first in the 100 finals in 12.82 seconds. Her winning sectional times for last week’s meet at Rosholt were similar (12.54 and 25.75), putting her in the mix for more state medals.
“I definitely feel like I have gotten better the last two races: regionals and sectionals,” Hutchison said. “I think I’m going to be ready (at) state. I have to stay concentrated and making sure I focus on my goal. It’s a lot of pressure, but I feel like I can do it.”
Hutchison will be running at NCAA Division III Winona State University in Minnesota next year, and ending her stellar high school career with the Dons on Saturday will be difficult.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Hutchison said. “I’m glad I’m moving on and continuing track, but it’s sad that I’m going to be ending this part of my life.”
Also heading to state for Columbus is the boys 800 relay team of Elijah Welsh, Leo Pittsley, David Nielsen, and Farid Torbey that took fourth at the Rosholt sectional in 1:33.45.
Pittsley, Nielsen, and Torbey ran in the same event at the state meet last year — along with then senior Christian Payant — and finished 11th in preliminaries, missing out on a shot to run in the finals by less than one second.
Welsh joined the threesome late in the season, and the 800 relay team placed second at the Eastern Cloverbelt Conference and regional meets before taking fourth at sectionals.
Spencer’s Noah Zastrow and Johanna Ellefson will be looking to earn more hardware at the state meet in the pole vault.
Zastrow placed third in the Division 3 boys event the past two years, and Ellefson, a junior, finished second in the girls pole vault at state last year.
Also competing for Spencer at the state meet will be the girls 1,600 relay team of Kaily Northup, Liz Endreas, Sabrina Vircks, and Nadia King; the girls 800 relay of King, Lauren Faber, Northup, and McKenna Brecht; Vircks in the girls high jump; and Max Johnson in the boys shot put.
Auburndale will be sending five athletes who will be competing in eight events.
Senior Sylviann Momont made it in four events: the long jump, triple jump, 100 hurdles, and 300 hurdles. Also competing this weekend for the Apaches will be Kali Karl in the girls 800, Rachel Gronemeyer and Isabella Jewell in the girls 400, and Carver Empey in the boys 400.
Paul Lecker is publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com, a contributor to Hub City Times Sports. You can reach him by email at email@example.com.
2016 WIAA State Track & Field Championships
June 3-4, at Veterans Memorial Stadium, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Friday, June 3
9:30 a.m. – Division 1 begins
12:30 p.m. – Divisions 2 & 3 begin
Saturday, June 4
10:30 a.m. – Completion of field and running events in all divisions begins