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LA CROSSE -— Timing and distance are the baseline measurements for success in track and field.
So being able to run your best time and jump your farthest at the right moment is what every athlete in the sport aspires to accomplish.
For a pair of Glenwood City male athletes and a record-setting girls’ relay team, each gave their best performances at the pinnacle of their sport’s competition – the state championship.
Hilltoppers’ junior Austin Nelson and senior Will Eggert notched personal bests while competing in their respective events as both earned medals at the 2021 WIAA Division 3 State Track and Field Championship held last Thursday, June 24 at Veterans Memorial Stadium on the UW-La Crosse campus.
The top six place winners in each event at state receive medals while the first eight earn team points.
While the Glenwood City girls’ 4×800 meter relay squad finished out of the points and medals, the foursome of senior Marie Garcia, junior Brenna Schwartz, sophomore Maddie Booth, and freshman Hailey Hannah shattered their own school record by over a second in La Crosse to place ninth. This was the third time in the last four meets (conference, regional, sectional and state) that the group has broken the record that had stood since 1991.
Nelson sprinted around the all-weather track surface at Veterans Memorial Stadium in :50.99 to win the D3 bronze medal in the boys’ 400 meter dash last Thursday afternoon. He had set a personal best time of :51.17 in the event at the conference meet in Colfax on June 8 and came close to better it in the regional and sectional meets where he ran a :51.34 and :51.71, respectively, both gold-medal performances. But, under bright blue skies and the biggest stage of the season, Nelson eclipsed his previous best by nearly two-tenths of a second to return home with third place.
Ironically, the winner of the D3 400 meter dash state title, Solon Springs’ senior Callin Lisson, had finished as the runner-up to Nelson by a half second in the Cameron Sectional the previous week. Lisson ran a :50.24 to win the championship.
Not to be outdone, Will Eggert, in the final competition of his stellar prep career, soared to a new top distance in the triple jump. Eggert bested his previous top jump of 43 feet even, set at the Cameron Sectional, by two inches in the state competition to finish in fifth place. This was the fourth time in as many meets that the senior had set a personal best mark in the triple jump having gone 41’ 5” at conference and 42’ 1” in the regional. Fellow senior Dylan Kuehl of Hustisford won the state title after leaping 45’ 1.25”.
The ten points that Nelson and Eggert combined to score had the Topper boys finishing in a seven-way tie for 24th place in the team standings.
The Hilltopper girls set a new school record of 1:50.81 in the 4×200 meter relay during state competition in La Crosse. Garcia, Schwartz, Booth, and Hannah broke their own school record for a second time this season, besting their previous time of 1:51.93 set at regional to finish in ninth place in the state race. This group originally broke the 30-year-old mark of 1:53.40 in the conference meet which had been held by Amy Steffen, Sonya Schug, Nicole Jackelen, and Becca Meyer.
Seniors Lexi Wannemacher and Bella Rassbach accounted for all three of the Lady Toppers’ state points which placed the squad in a tie for 48th in the final team standings.
Rassbach had a best effort of 16’ 8.25”, just half inch off her regional jump, to finish in eighth place at state and pick up a team point. Jessica Brueggeman, a senior from Royall, won the event with a leap of 19’ 8”.
Running in the 300 meter low hurdles, Wannemacher bettered her regional and sectional times by two-tenths of a second finishing in seventh place with a time of :48.41 and garnering two team points. Sophomore Kendal Stingle of Shiocton won the race in :45.53.
The girls’ 4×400 meter and 4×100 meter relay teams also competed Thursday in La Crosse. Rassbach and Wannemacher along with fellow senior Kinzie Strong and junior Bella Simmons placed tenth in the 4×400 meter race after turning in a time of 4:20.11. Meanwhile, the same quartet that set a new school mark in the 4×200 (Booth, Schwartz, Hannah, and Garcia), nearly came through with a new personal record in the 4×100 meter relay when they ran a :52.89 to finish 13th at state.
Glenwood City also had a pair of 12th place finishes. Senior Yasmin Mendez was 12th in the shot put with a throw of 34’ 6.25” as was freshman high jumper Malachi Keller who cleared 5’ 10” at state. Besides running in a pair of relays, Marie Garcia wrapped up her individual career competing in the 100 meter dash at state where she finished in 15th place with a time of :13.52. She had run a :12.94 to win regionals which would have made her the state champion in La Crosse last Thursday as Deerfield sophomore Steffi Siewert won the state crown in a time of :13.08.
Royall won the girls’ D3 state team title with 50 points while Fennimore was the runner-up with 47. La Crosse Aquinas captured the boys’ D3 state championship after scoring 54 points with Edgar taking second with 45. Dunn-St. Croix boys’ champion Durand finished fourth with 25 points.