Local track & field teams find success
By Mike Warren
MARSHFIELD – For the first time in nearly 50 years, the Marshfield High School Girls’ Track & Field team has won a conference championship.
The Tigers clinched their first WVC title since 1973 by capturing first place at the Wisconsin Valley Conference Outdoor Championship held May 17 at Merrill High School.
“What an outstanding night for an amazing group of female athletes,” Tigers Head Coach Ali Luedtke said afterward. “This was a complete team effort, with girls scoring in all 18 events on the track and in the field. Our depth was our strength. Our solid places pulled us through. These ladies are simply unbelievable. They just never stop showing up.”
Marshfield won the event with a team score of 163. D.C. Everest came in second at 137, followed by Stevens Point at 126. Wausau West finished in fourth place with a team score of 111. Wausau East was fifth with 61, followed by Merrill at 57 and Wisconsin Rapids with 41.
The Tigers had two first-place finishers. Sophie Nikolay grabbed the top spot in the pole vault (10-06), while Michaela Dick finished first in the 300 hurdles (48.42). The Tigers also grabbed four second-place finishes. Aubri Brown took second in the discus (114-10) and shot put (35-10.5). The 800-meter relay team of Olivia Page, Ayana Bousum, Ryann Kilty and Emma Ridgway also grabbed a second-place finish (1:49.96), while the 400-meter relay team of McKenzie Holm, Alyssa Foemmel, Kaylie Charron and Sophie Nikolay took second as well (53.43). Five Tiger competitors had six third-place finishes. They were Ashley Grancorvitz in the long jump (15-06.75), Emma Ridgway in the high jump (5-00), Dani Minsaas in the Triple Jump (33-01) and shot put (33-05), Lizzie Hanson in the 100 hurdles (16.88) and Meghan Jaeger in the 800 (2:31.26).
The top three places in each event are all-conference athletes, and Marshfield had 12 all-conference performances. 1973 was the last and only other time Marshfield girls track & field won a conference championship.
“It still doesn’t feel real,” Luedtke added. “It’s been a dream of our team’s for years, and to watch it come to fruition in a day and age of so many options and distractions truly speaks to the desire, focus, integrity and discipline of these athletes.”
The Tiger girls followed up their WVC championship when they became regional champions, by winning the Division 1 regional competition May 23 at Wausau West. “Go out and compete. That was the message we gave to our team as we headed into our post season,” Coach Luedtke said following the regionals. “We are so proud of what this team has accomplished this season. Nothing that happens on the track or in the field can take away any of their regular season accomplishments. Post season is the time you lay it all on the line – don’t hold back, leave it all on the track, on the runway, in the ring – this is your time to shine.”
And shine they did. The Marshfield girls scored in 15 of the 18 events, on their way to a first-place score of 158.5. The Tigers grabbed 83.5 points in field events and 75 points on the track, as 19 Marshfield athletes qualified for sectional competition May 26.
The Colby girls, meanwhile, have taken a similar path to success. The Hornets captured their second straight Cloverbelt Conference championship May 17 at Colby High School, with a team score of 212.5 and a first-place finish.
Individual winners for Colby were Willow Oehmichen in the 800-meter run, Daisy Feiten in the 1,600, Trinity Severson in the 100-and-300-meter hurdles and Malayna Rieck in the discus. Colby’s 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter relay teams took home first-place finishes as well. And just like Marshfield, Colby dominated their regional. The Hornets captured the top spot with a team score of 161, 79 points ahead of second-place Abbotsford, while sending 12 athletes in 14 events to the Division 3 sectionals May 26 at Mondovi.
In the Marawood Conference, the Stratford boys team captured another championship. The Tigers won the conference meet May 16 at Marathon High School with a first-place team score of 126.5. Individual winners for Stratford included Noah Lucio in the 800 and Connor Weigel in the 400. Also grabbing first-place finishes for the Tigers were the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter relay teams. As a team, the Tigers finished 6.5 points shy of a regional championship May 23 at Tomahawk High School. Stratford finished in second place, with a team score of 102, while sending 16 athletes in 11 events to Division 2 sectional competition May 26 in Rice Lake.