New Richmond track coaches become prospectorsA triangular meet at UW-Stout last Thursday became the perfect opportunity for the New Richmond track coaches to become prospectors.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
A triangular meet at UW-Stout last Thursday became the perfect opportunity for the New Richmond track coaches to become prospectors.
The coaches worked a number of younger athletes into their lineup for this meet, hoping to strike gold in the form of identifying athletes who can help them in the pursuit of the Middle Border Conference championships.
Both Tiger coaching staffs found several prospects who showed they have the potential to help the team in the long run. In the team competition, the Tiger girls won the title by two points over Menomonie, while the Mustangs edged the Tiger boys by two points in their half of the meet.
This was the first outdoor meet of the season for the Tigers. The coaches were quite impressed with the UW-Stout track. Girls coach Judy Weiss said the track surface was comparable to the UW-La Crosse facility that is used for the WIAA state championships each June.
The Tiger girls recorded a handful of event wins. Seniors Kat Keller and Morgan Kelly were in their accustomed places at the front of the pack, Keller in the 100 and Kelly in the 3200. Also recording wins were Anna McShane in the 100 hurdles and triple jump, Bethany Haag in the pole vault, Emily Kukacka in the discus throw, and the 800 and 1600 meter relay teams.
Weiss found good possibilities of depth in several events during this week. Depth in the hurdle races has been a source of concern. That may have been answered with the efforts of sophomore Nicole Hedlund and freshman Emma Ongstad. Hedlund finished second behind McShane in the 100 hurdles. Hedlund finished third and Ongstad fourth in their first time running the 300 hurdles.
Another area where prospects were found was the sprints. In the 200, Peyton Olien, Abby Blader, Haag and Mikayla Wickham took third through sixth place, all with times in the low 29s.
Weiss pointed to the high jump event as another burgeoning strength for the Tigers. Wickham became the fourth Tiger to clear 4-8, joining Maddie Kelly and the Kukacka sisters, Amy and Emily. At that level, any of the four is a threat to score points in the conference meet.
The Tiger boys were carried by senior Eli Kelley, who was the champion in four events. He swept the titles in the sprints, taking the 100, 200 and 400. He then added the title in the discus throw.
Boys coach Roger Reuvers was impressed that Kelley’s distance Thursday nearly matched his best throw of last season. Kelley also maintained his own pace while not being challenged in the 400, posting an impressive 51.3 time.
Senior Colton Simpson nearly matched that production, winning three events. He finished two feet above his nearest competitor in the pole vault. The surprise was his performance in the hurdles. He was the winner in the 110 and 300 hurdles.
The hurdles are suddenly looking like a possible source of points for the Tigers. Simpson, Tyler Durand and Connor O’Loughlin finished in the top four in the 300 hurdles on Thursday.
Reuvers said there were several other performances that proved the Tigers are making progress. He pointed to the 18-10 long jump by junior Aaron Daul, the 10:42 by junior Alex Charbonneau in the 3200 and the 5:14 time in the 1600 by freshman Jack Utzman as substantial improvements. Reuvers said these were even more impressive because the Tigers had put in hard practices the three previous days and he wasn’t expecting the team to have a great deal of energy.
All the Tigers will get to compete this weekend. The top Tiger in each event will take part in a meet at UW-La Crosse on Saturday, which gives the Tigers the chance to run on the state meet surface. The rest of the Tigers will compete at UW-Stout on Friday night.