Coming off a runner-up finish at the WIAA Division 3 track meet last June, St. Mary’s Springs girls track coach Shane Smith isn’t worried about his team resting on its laurels.
According to Smith, such success has the Ledgers hungry for more.
“That was kind of a driving force, how we ended the season last year,” said Smith, whose team has also won two straight WIAA regional titles and three straight Flyway Conference crowns. They got really excited about it and they want more. Conference is a big deal. Some of our seniors, they don’t know what it’s like not to win it. They want to keep that going.”
With the talent Springs has back, it’s hard to see that Flyway streak snapping this season. The Ledgers have only 20 athletes on the roster, but that’s actually three more than last year, and they brought back the bulk of last year’s points production.
The top returners are headed by a pair of juniors in Melanie Schneider and Liz Bohn.
Schneider was fourth at state in the triple jump and qualified in the 200 meters, while Bohn was sixth in the 400, seventh in the 800 and also qualified in the triple jump. Those two got a late start to the season after helping lead the Ledgers’ girls basketball team to the state semifinals, overlapping the start of track practice by two weeks.
Two other individual state qualifiers are back as well in senior Bailey Hoch (seventh in pole vault) and junior Megan McGovern (fourth in 100-meter hurdles), while senior Alannah Schmitz returns state relay experience.
“I’m expecting big things, and so are they,” Smith said of those returners. “They all have high goals. They’re great athletes and great leaders. Some of their work ethic rubs off on the younger kids, and that’s how you make a great program.”
The Ledgers’ biggest performance at state was its 3,200 relay, which set the D3 state meet record by winning in 9:31.47 , breaking their own year-old record by six seconds.
Three-quarters of that relay return in Schneider, Schmitz and Bohn, while sophomore Paige Case completes the foursome this spring. Though that relay’s times have been a fair amount behind the record mark so far in indoor meets this season, Smith didn’t rule out its potential to win a third-straight state title.
“Those girls love that relay,” he said. “Being two-time defending champs in that race, they’ve got their eyes on that.”
Fond du Lac
The Cardinals finished ninth at sectionals last year and second at regionals, and appear to be further improved this season with a roster that carries 54 athletes.
Fondy only had one state qualifier last year in returning senior Jenna Rosenthal, but a handful of other Cardinals could join her at La Crosse in June.
Rosenthal – a Marquette University volleyball recruit – placed 16th at state in discus and has potential in the high jump and shot put.
The Cardinals will get a lot of points this spring from fellow senior Marissa Wustrack, who’s been dominating in indoor meets the past couple weeks. At the 23-team Oshkosh Large School Invitational on March 31, Wustrack won the long jump, was third in the triple jump and fifth in the 60-meter hurdles. Rosenthal was fifth in the high jump and shot put as Fondy finished fourth in the team standings.
The Cardinals’ other top athletes include senior Desirae Diener (hurdles, sprints, relays), juniors Megan Buechel (distance, 3,200 relay), Nicole Gietzel (400, 1,600 relay), Kylin Knapp (400, 1,600 relay) and Alyssa Miller (pole vault) and sophomore Annie Moore (800, distance, 3,200 relay).
The Vikings finished 13th at the 16-team Waters Meet in Oshkosh March 28, where junior Jordyn Schroeder led the way by taking third in the pole vault. She’s a returning sectional qualifier, along with two others.
Senior Bethany Scharf eyes a state berth after taking sixth in the triple jump at sectionals last year, while junior Alysha Kahlow was 11th and 12th at sectionals in the 100 and 200, respectively
The Warriors bring back state qualifier Jasmine Dolske, who took 12th in the discus last spring. She also took ninth at sectionals in the shot put, one spot behind her twin sister Taylor. Junior Kayla Bonack also leads the returners after taking seventh at sectionals in both the 100 hurdles and triple jump.
The Warriors placed fifth out of 16 teams at the Waters meet in Oshkosh March 28, where sophomore Kyra Verheyen burst on to the scene by winning the high jump and taking second in the pole vault. Junior Claiborn Bronkhorst was third in the high jump, sophomore Hannah Smith was fifth in the 1600 and senior Ronna Woock was fifth in the 3200.
North Fond du Lac
With its roster of 20 half-filled with seniors, the Orioles look to improve on last year.
At the Waters meet, their top finish was the 800 relay of seniors McKenna Draves, Abbi and Billi Retzleff and freshman Megan Zagar placing sixth. Individually, Abbi Retzleff was seventh in the long jump, while Zagar and sophomore Dakota Wesenberg were ninth in the 400 and shot put, respectively.
Junior Hailey Isaac placed 14th in the 1600 at state, and she’s back to lead Laconia again.
At the Waters meet in Oshkosh March 28, she placed fourth in both the 800 and 1600. Sophomore Ashley Pluim was sixth in the high jump, senior Brynn Lemond was seventh in the 60-dash and 60 hurdles at Oshkosh, while senior Lindsey Frieler was eighth in the 400 and junior Olivia Engelhardt was eighth in the 3200.
Senior Hope Kubicek leads the Cardinals this year after finishing 13th at state in the pole vault and 13th in the triple jump.
Mayville is off to a good start this spring, taking third at the Waters meet and 12th out of 34 teams at the Oshkosh Small School Invite three days later.
Kubicek led the way, winning the pole vault and 60 hurdles at Waters and took third in the pole vault and sixth in the triple jump last Tuesday, accounting for half of Mayville’s 18 points.
Also at Waters, Sophomore Taylor Mangan was third in the 400, freshman Amy Chen was third in the 60-dash, while the 1600 and 3200 relays each were third.
The Lions finished next-to-last at regionals last year, but the presence of Alex Bloch should provide some improvement. At the 16-team Waters meet in Oshkosh March 28, she was second in the long jump and ninth in the triple jump.
In addition, Kiersten Zangl was fifth in the 60-hurdles and Ellie Ries was sixth in the pole vault while Lomira finished ninth in the team standings.
The Crusaders took seventh out of nine teams at regionals last year and have only a handful of athletes.
Each grade represented by one girl. Senior Sarah Roddy runs the 800 and 1,600, junior Katie Miller is in long/triple jump and sprints, sophomore Faith Vander Galien takes on the 100, 200 and 400, while freshman Michaela Esveld is in long/triple jump and sprints.
No information was available for Campbellsport.