LA CROSSE – St. Mary’s Springs senior Sam Spranger now owes his ex-teammate and former Ledger Ryan Grandlich a nice dinner.
Spranger, who fell short of breaking Grandlich’s school record of 49.43 in the 400-meter in the sectional last weekend by a tenth of a second, saved his best performance for last.
The junior ran a time of 48.71 in the WIAA Division 3 State Track and Field Meet Saturday, winning a state title while setting a school record.
“It feels amazing,” Spranger said of his first place finish. “My starts have been slow and today it was feeling good so I decided to pick it up a notch. People were telling me the home stretch was windy so I might as well pick it up and that’s what I did.
“I powered through the last part. I turned the corner and just powered through to the finish.”
Before the race, Spranger told Grandlich’s mom that he was going to try to break it since he fell short at sectionals. Spranger said he is going to break the news slowly to Grandlich over a fancy dinner.
“I told him if I’d break it I would take him out on a nice dinner,” Spranger said. “I’ll break it to him slowly.”
Waupun’s Matt Kuik saved his best for last in Saturday’s Division 2 finals, as the Warrior senior broke a school record in the 1,600 (4:20.92), as he cruised to a fourth place finish overall.
He said he didn’t come into the meet with high expectations, but once he was midway through his race, he knew the record was in reach.
“I went into it just wanting a good place and to see where it was, because my goal was to just make it here,” Kuik said. “After the first two laps, I felt really good after the third and I was like ‘I can keep going with these guys.’ Then the last lap I said ‘this is it, this is my last lap of high school. I have to go.’ And I pushed all the way.”
Mayville senior Brandon Poellot came within a whisker of earning a medal in his final race, taking seventh in the Division 2 100 meters.
Poellot finished with a time of 11.52 seconds, which was .05 seconds away from earning a spot on the podium.
Still, the close call didn’t take anything away from Poellot’s experience.
“I just missed (a medal), but I’m just glad to be here,” Poellot said. “That wind was rough. I kept my chin tucked the whole time just trying to cut through it, but I guess it just wasn’t enough.
“This has been the best weekend I’ve ever had. This whole experience has just been amazing.”
Strategy pays off for Verheyen
Waupun’s Bryce Verheyen knew that runners would be fast out of the gate in the 800. So he decided to stay back and let the other runners get off to their fast start and he’d save his best for last.
That he did.
Verheyen turned in a fifth place finish in the Division 2 800 finals, finishing with a time of 1:56.81.
“My strategy was that I knew that this is a fast race right away so I tried to stay in back of the pack,” he said. “I came in the back stretch and I needed more and on the corner I needed to trust the hard work I have put in the last four years.”
Andrew misses out again
Fond du Lac’s Peter Andrew, who finished seventh in the shot put in Friday’s finals, just missed out on a podium finish again.
The senior placed seventh in the WIAA Division 1 discus with a throw of 55-03.50.
Nicole Lord and the 800 relay competed for the Fondy girls Saturday, as Lord was 23rd in the long jump (16-00.50) while the relay team (Ally Gietzel, Jeannie Bestor, Megan Buechel and Annie Moore) were 15th with a time of 9:46.63.
Bonack leads Waupun girls
Waupun senior Kayla Bonack finished 10th in the D2 triple jump Saturday, finishing with a jump of 34-05.75.
Jasmine Dolske and Sydney Flier competed in the discus event, as Flier was 12th (109-11) and Dolske was 16th (99-11).
Chen highlights Mayville
Yu T Chen finished ninth in the D2 100 for the Cardinals with a time of 13.24, while helping the 800 relay team to a seventh place finish, just missing podium. The group of Cassie Strook, Taylor Mangan, Brianna Huizenga and Chen ran a 1:46.36.
WLA’s lone wolf
Matthew Tadych was the only Winnebago Lutheran participant this weekend, as he finished 12th in the high jump with a height of 6 feet.