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St. Croix Central track team sends seniors off in style at 2017 WIAA State Championships

Junior Zac Bringgold competed in the Division 2 high jump event at the state meet.1 / 7
St. Croix Central senior Katheryn Holter (right) charges down the track in the Division 2 100 meter dash at the 2017 WIAA State Track Championships on Friday.2 / 7
St. Croix Central senior Trevor Nelson competed for the second straight year in the Division 2 triple jump at the WIAA State Track Championships.3 / 7
Junior Nathan Strader was St. Croix Central's top placewinner at the 2017 State Track Championships, placing seventh in the Division 2 boys pole vault.4 / 7
Junior Liv Moll got a great deal of state experience during the 2016-17 school year. She led the Panther girls to the state cross country championships and she competed in the Division 2 1,600 meter run on Friday at the WIAA State Track Championships.5 / 7
Frank Holter hands off the baton to Eugene Kaul during St. Croix Central's run in the Division 2 800 meter relay at the WIAA State Track Championships last Friday.6 / 7
Zac Bringgold hands off the baton to Jacob Murtha during the Division 2 800 meter relay preliminaries at the WIAA State Track Championships on Friday.7 / 7

The 2017 WIAA State Track Championships offered the St. Croix Central track team a chance to send off its leading seniors in style, while giving plenty of their younger athletes experience that should benefit them in the future.

Seniors Katheryn Holter and Trevor Nelson completed their high school careers by competing at the 2017 state meet. And with a large group of younger athletes getting state experience, this year’s state meet could be a precursor to future success for the Panthers.

Nelson competed in the boys Division 2 triple jump at the state meet and Holter ran in the girls 100 meter dash. Nelson made the finals, and in the finals, he hit his best jump of the day, with a distance of 43 feet, 3.75 inches. That placed him ninth among the 16 entries in the state competition. This was the second straight year Nelson competed at state in the triple jump.

The state meet completed an incredible senior year for Nelson, which included being a key member of the Panthers’ state championship football team, plus all-state honors in football and basketball.

Holter competed at state as a freshman, but injuries derailed her hopes of getting back the past two years. She also battled injuries this season, but was able to persevere. She ran the 100 in 13.17 seconds, placing 12th. She missed qualifying for finals by nine-hundredths of a second.

“I just wanted her to walk off the track and smile,” Central coach Ben Lamb said of the highly intense Holter. “She was OK with what she’s done.”

The future looks bright for the Panthers, with eight more athletes getting to experience the state meet this season. That includes Liv Moll in the 1,600, Nathan Strader in the pole vault, Zac Bringgold in the high jump, and the four runners and two alternates who made up the boys 800 meter relay team.

Strader had the best performance among that group, placing seventh in the Division 2 pole vault by clearing the bar at 13 feet on Friday. Strader was able to accomplish this despite breaking a foot three weeks before the state meet.

“This is just the start for him,” Lamb predicted. “I expect him to lead us on the podium next year. He’s all business when it comes to vaulting.”

Bringgold placed 15th in the Division 2 high jump on Saturday, clearing 5-10. Lamb said there is a history of Panther athletes in the field events who get to state as juniors, use it as a learning experience, and return to much better results as seniors.

Bringgold also was part of the 800 relay team, competing along with Frank Holter, Eugene Kaul and Jacob Murtha. They placed 16th in the Division 2 prelims on Friday in 1:35.19.

“The best thing is they got down there,” Lamb said. He said that all the younger Panthers need to learn to control their emotions better if they want to perform better in a return trip to the state meet.

Panther junior Liv Moll ran in the Division 2 1,600 meter run on Friday. She placed 14th in the race. She has the experience of competing at the state level in cross country and track this season.

“She’ll use La Crosse as a good springboard for better things,” Lamb predicted.

Dave Newman

Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.

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