The Vikings return two athletes who competed in the Division 3 state meet last season: Junior Abbi Sitte placed eighth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.95, and senior Bria Caldecott placed 15th in the high jump with a leap of 4-8.
Coach Clay Buske said he is also high on the three returning members of the 4×100-meter relay. Junior Nina Sitte, Abbi Sitte and Caldecott missed the state meet by one place after qualifying for the state meet in 2017.
“We have a quick, athletic bunch that has had some success in the past,” Buske said. “They are still very hungry to succeed and improve.”
Sophomore Abbey Fitzgerald returns after finishing seventh in the long jump in the sectional meet with a jump of 16-2.
“[Fitzgerald] had a strong finish at sectionals, and I foresee big things for her this season,” Buske said. “I’m very hopeful to have some ladies competing in La Crosse at the state meet. I am very excited going into the season and believe we have some real growth potential.”
Senior Evan Henry returns with a promising shot at a state title in the 1,600-meter run. He placed seventh in the Division 3 state meet last season with a time of 4:33.29, and he finished fifth in the state cross-country meet last fall.
The Vikings also return sectional qualifiers in junior Brady Ash and senior Ryan Kropuenske. Ash placed 10th in the high jump with a leap of 5-6, and Kropuenske was 15th in the shot put with a toss of 40-8.
“We have strong leadership and athletic ability from our seniors,” Gibraltar coach Joy Bastian said. “We also have a lot of youth and talent, with seven freshmen on the team, along with a couple new student-athletes who are sophomores and juniors. We should be able to score across all event areas.
“I’m very optimistic to see our entire boys team advance to sectionals in at least one event and have a handful of events competing at the state meet,” Bastian added. “It should be a very fun spring.”
Southern Door Boys
The Eagles have a large core of experienced athletes who shouldn’t struggle to score points, according to Coach John Vercauteren.
He said senior Shawn Stenzel, sophomore Nick Baudhuin and freshman Alex Montana will be the Eagles’ top sprinters, and junior Samuel Dean and Ben Kielar return as the top distance runners. Vercauteren said he has a group of young sprinters with a lot of potential.
Evan Wheaton (shot put and discus) and Dean (pole vault) are the top athletes returning in field events. Vercauteren said Wheaton should compete for the top spot in the Packerland Conference in the discus and shot put.
“Overall, we’ll be balanced on the track, with numbers to put together good relays,” Vercauteren said. “[We need to find] the correct events and relay combinations to score as many points as possible. We expect to contend in every meet against conference opponents on the boys side. We are young but talented. As our meet experience and technique increase near the end of the season, we hope to put up our top performances when it counts.”
Southern Door Girls
The Eagles return sophomore Hailey Shimon – a state qualifier and discus school-record holder – who posted a toss of 120-8 in the sectional meet last season.
Junior Carissa Bartles will be counted on in the sprints and triple jump, and senior Maggie Grota and sophomore Lydiah LeCloux are the top returning distance runners.
“LeCloux, Grota and Shimon all have potential to have high achievement in individual events,” Vercaurteren said. “Our girls roster is not as deep as our boys [roster], but [it] features several great talents. We hope to take those individuals as far as possible this season and put together the best team scoring effort around them as possible by conference.”
Kiegen Sargent returns for the Pioneers after a strong season in 2018 in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and the long jump.
Kyle Carlson and Noah Tomaszewski are the top returning distance runners in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs, and Logan Beyer brings back experience in the shot put and discus.
“We are a small team with some very promising kids who can make a deep run in the state tournament series,” Sevastopol Coach Dennis Ploor said.
Olivia Stenzel returns after finishing ninth at the state meet in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:25. Stenzel is also coming off a 20th-place finish in the state cross-country meet.
Rylee Krishka and Kelsey Christiansen are the top returning sprinters, and Lizzy Fiscus and Mya Ploor are the top returning distance runners.
High jumper Laci Lautenbach, pole vaulters Mya Ploor and Kylie Newton, and triple-jumper Zoe Kuehn are the top returners in the field events.
“Our distance has always been a strength for us,” Ploor said, “but the sprints and field events have been coming around the last couple of years. We participate in some big meets against Division 1 and Division 2 schools to get us ready for regionals, sectionals and state.”