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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Area Athletes Earn Medals at D3 State Track & Field Meet

Issue Date: June 9, 2022

Last weekend brought about the annual showcase of the state's best athletes, the WIAA State Track & Field Championships in La Crosse. It was also a great showcase of the M&O Conference elite, with athletes from seven M&O schools taking on the rest of Division 3's best.

Several athletes ended up on the podium. Among them was Suring's Christine Sleeter, who took second place in the high jump with a leap of five feet, four inches. The Eagle junior was one inch short of Kallie Volk of Three Lakes/Phelps, who won gold at 5-5.

Sleeter's jump tied her personal best.

Sleeter has made huge strides in the high jump since tying for eighth at sectionals as a sophomore last year. She's even made a few improvements since this year's sectionals, where she tied for third with a 5-2 jump.

"It means a lot to me. I really made a comeback from last year at sectionals and really showed everybody what I can do," she said. "Toward the end of the year, I really worked on drills. I didn't really go for height, just drills back at home."

She was also 17th in the pole vault with a 9-foot vault.

Fellow M&O pole vaulter Isabella Galindo of Crivitz took fourth in the event at 10-3.

Coming into the day, Galindo's best height of the season was 9-6. She recently started using a new pole that's a bit stiffer, which helped her soar to fourth place at state.

"I was actually just shooting for anything over 9-6 because I haven't made anything over that this whole year, so I'm kind of surprised that I got over 10-3 today," she said. "I've been recently on a new pole that helped me go higher. It's a stiffer pole, so it shoots me up rather than in, while on my other pole, I keep over-bending it."

Galindo is headed to St. Norbert College in the fall, where she will compete in track & field.

She said she hopes to make it to nationals as a freshman in NCAA Division III while at St. Norbert. She'll need to add about a foot to her state championship height in order to qualify, but if she keeps adding strength and quickness like she has in the last year, she'll have a shot.

"I have gotten stronger, so that helps," she said, also crediting her coaching at Crivitz for her improvements. "The speed and consistency of my step was a lot better this year. I had more steps on, which helped me get better heights."

On the boys side, Galindo's teammate Karson Bins cleared 12 feet to take 10th and conclude his junior season. Junior Senya Caine was 11th in the girls 100-meter dash with a time of 12.89 seconds.

Coleman had competitors in four girls events. Junior Sylvia Fochesato took sixth in the 300-meter hurdles (47.63) and seventh in the 100-meter hurdles (16.54).

This was Fochesato's first time down at state. She was running in the outside lane in the 300-meter hurdles after taking eighth in the prelims. She was 10th in the 100-meter hurdles, so she improved on both results on day two.

It was her first season running the 300-meter hurdles, so making the podium was her goal. "I didn't run a great race last night and my time wasn't where I wanted it to be so I got stuck in 9. But I had to make it work." Despite finishing better in the 300, Fochesato's favorite event is the 100.

"It's so quick. It's just tunnel vision. It's a really fun race," she said.

Sophomore Kiersten Jensen was fifth in the discus (118-1). She wasn't able to match her personal and school record she set earlier in the year while throwing in the rain and wind, but she's happy with how her season went.

"It was raining, so it was hard to be able to throw to what I've been wanting to. It was not the best I've done, but I know I can become better," she said. "I just continuously worked hard and put in effort: throwing three hours a day and lifting. I got a school record, so I'm pretty happy about that."

Junior Corrin Liptak added an eighth-place result in the long jump (16-10.25).

Natalie McNurlen of Lena/Saint Thomas Aquinas Academy went 35 feet, 5.25 inches in the triple jump to take sixth. The junior set a personal and school record in the process.

It was her first year doing the triple jump at any level, along with her first full varsity season in any event. As a freshman, track & field was cancelled due to COVID-19 and she was injured last year.

"This is my first real high school season, I guess," she said.

She accomplished the school record despite the less-than-ideal weather on the day.

"That means I definitely have more in the tank. I feel very good," she said. "There's so much progress to be made for next year, so I'm just super excited."

Florence-Niagara freshman Kamdan Johnson was third in the 400-meter dash. She finished fourth in prelims and took just over a second off her time in the finals to finish in 59.44 seconds.

"I felt very strong my first 50 meters. I had the good lead that I wanted to, and then I just kept going," Johnson said. "When I went around the corner, I still felt really strong, and overall I thought I had a pretty good race."

It's easier to take that time off the front end than make it up at the back end, so she wanted to come out fast.

"I had in my mind that I was going to get out, because I know that I can make it up in the first 50 meters and try and finish it out at the end of my race," she said.

After taking third at sectionals, she turned it on for state to finish in the same spot.

"I think I pushed myself a lot harder, because I knew my capabilities," she said. "Once I started to get better times, I realized what I was capable of and I pushed myself a lot harder. It got me here today."

She had two teammates with her at state on the boys side. Senior Patrick Milan was fourth in the 200-meter dash (22.91) and junior Blake Smith competed in two events, placing 11th in the 300-meter hurdles (41.67) and 14th in the long jump (18-3.5).

Milan's career ends with a spot on the podium. He was eighth in prelims and moved up to fourth in the finals.

This season, he took about a half second off his PR, so he was happy with his work to get to where he's at.

"There's not much else I could have done. I spent a lot of time warming up, a lot of time going over my start," he said. "I don't want to say that's the best I could have done, but I think I'll settle with that for now."

Like Johnson, it was Milan's goal to get out of the box fast.

"You've just gotta get out and run, push out of the box, get your foot speed up," he said. "If you're going to compete in that race, it's going to be within the first 15, 20 meters. You have to get out and run right away. Nobody to chase around the corner. You have to get out and run."

Last but not least, Gillett had competitors in a pair of boys events.

Alex Peterson took sixth in the 3200-meter run with a time of 9 minutes, 40 seconds, and he ran with his brother Alex Peterson, Connor Hanson, and Ben Matczak on a third-place 4x800 relay team.

The Gillett 4x800 relay team was coming off a 2021 season in which it won second at state but lost senior Derek Hanson to the college ranks of Minnesota State University Moorhead.

Matczak stepped into that spot and did his job, Gillett coach Bill DeJung said.

"The sophomore Ben Matczak really held up his end of the deal being down here for the first time," he said. "After last year's second-place finish, we lost a very, very good runner in Derek Hanson, but we had three of the four guys coming back, and it was a matter of finding that fourth guy that's going to be able to hold up his end, and Ben certainly did that. I'm real proud of all of them, including Ben."

Alex Peterson ran the anchor leg. Coming into his leg, Gillett was fifth in the pack.

"I knew it was going to be a tight pack, and I knew I was going to have to give it my all for that anchor leg," he said. "Going into it, I just thought "I'm behind in fifth right now, so I've got to make sure I get ahead of this pack at least by the end lap,' and that's what I did."

The rest of the team's plan was just to get it to Alex with a shot.

"I think our whole team did a good job of not losing any ground and sticking with people to make sure we're within striking distance for our anchor," Evan Peterson said. "I think overall, it was a really good day. Third place at state isn't bad. That's pretty good, so I'm pretty happy with that."

Gillett missed second by .08 seconds, as Cuba City's Drew Robson snuck past the Tiger anchor with less than 50 meters to go.

"Eight hundredths of a second, you don't expect that to be the difference in a race of that length, but sometimes that's all it comes down to," DeJung said.

The Petersons are juniors, and Matczak will return in 2023 as well. Hanson is a senior.

Alex Peterson set a PR and beat his own school record in the 3200-meter by a second and a half. He finished .55 seconds back of fifth. He got boxed in by the crowd in the early going, but he stayed patient and worked his way back to sixth.

"I was thinking before the race, "I better not get boxed in. I've got to get out fast,' and it happened anyway," he said. "It kind of threw me for a loop. I had to slow down a little bit, back out, and then twist my way through and out on the outside, and I eventually made my way back."

Three of the top five runners in that race are graduating seniors, so Peterson will have a chance to move up that 3200-meter list next year. He said he'll take a bit of time off and then start to gear up for cross country, where he was 10th in the Division 3 State Final last season.



Menominee's Schultz

Repeats as U.P.

High Jump Champion


Menominee high jumper Brady Schultz won a UP Division 1 title Saturday in Kingsford with a jump of six feet, seven inches.

His winning leap was seven inches better than the second-place jump, a six-foot effort by Kingsford's Conor Quick.

Schultz also ran on a couple of Menominee relays at the UP championships. With fellow seniors JR Tryan, Dawson Allgeyer, and Aidan Bellisle, he took second in the 4x200 relay, second only to Kingsford. The Menominee boys finished in 1:35.77, 2.55 seconds back.

In the 4x400, a team of Bellisle, Schultz, Allgeyer and freshman Kaden Bell was third with a 3:42.91 time.

Menominee junior Kaeden Calcari was seventh in the shot put (37-2). Senior Eric Brown was a scratch in the 200-meter and 400-meter dashes.

The Menominee girls 4x400 relay took second with a time of 4:23.86, six seconds back of first-place Escanaba. The Maroon squad was comprised of seniors Hayden Buck and Anna Nerat, sophomore Erin Schettpeltz, and junior Attica Brandt.

The same team took sixth in the 4x200 with a time of 1:56.69. Nerat was fifth in the high jump with a 4-10 jump.

Menominee boys were eighth of 10 teams and the girls were ninth. Marquette's boys and Negaunee's girls won team titles.


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