River Falls, Ellsworth, Prescott and Elmwood/Plum City all sent at least three individuals or relay groups to this year’s state track and field championships, which are slated for Friday, June …
River Falls, Ellsworth, Prescott and Elmwood/Plum City all sent at least three individuals or relay groups to this year’s state track and field championships, which are slated for Friday, June 2, and Saturday, June 3, at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
In total, Pierce County track and field programs had 20 individuals or relay squads finish fourth or better (third or better for Division 1 teams) in their event competitions at their respective sectional meets on Thursday, May 25.
River Falls (D1) and Prescott (D2) both led the local charge with seven qualifiers each. Ellsworth (D2) and Elmwood/Plum City (D3) tallied three qualifiers apiece. Spring Valley (D3) sent 11 to sectionals but didn’t have any finish high enough to qualify for the state championships.
Perhaps no athlete headlines River Falls’ qualifiers more than senior Rebecca Randleman, who makes her third consecutive appearance in both the 100-meter dash and the 4x200-meter relay events this season.
Randleman’s best performance in the 100-meter dash was a 14th-place finish last summer. The senior standout has had even more success in the relays, as she helped anchor the 4x200-meter squads to fifth-place finishes in both 2021 and 2022.
She goes into the 2023 state championships coming off the heels of a sectional title in the 4x200 relay and a third-place finish in the 100-meter dash. Joining Randleman in the relay are senior teammates Brooklyn Silloway and Abi Banitt and junior Lilly Jensen.
River Falls’ only other individual sectional champion this year is senior Kayleigh Volkman. She vaulted 10 feet, 6 inches at the Division 1 sectional at D.C. Everest High School on Thursday, May 25. Her performance was nine inches clear of the eventual runner-up.
Max Haskins, who coaches the Wildcats alongside Kady Bauschelt, spoke about River Falls’ two individual sectional champions – Volkman in the pole vault and the girls’ 4x200-meter relay.
“Kayleigh and the girls’ 4x200 are two parts of our team that have been performing at a high level all season, and the postseason has been no different,” Haskins said. “They both won conference, regional and sectional titles and have been clicking. It’s tough to make it through to the state meet, and it’s a testament to the work those girls have put in throughout the season.”
Sophomore Quin Andrews qualified for state when he posted a runner-up time of 1:56.92 in the 800-meter run. Senior sprinter Jacob Gilbertson also punched his ticket to state in the 200-meter dash with a third-place time of 22.61.
Gilbertson also helped guide the boys’ 4x200-meter relay to a berth in the state championship. He is joined by sophomore Charlie Loesch and juniors Robert Anderson and Trey Hartung. They ran a 1:30.55, which finished runner-up to Eau Claire North at the Division 1 sectional.
The Wildcats’ 4x400-meter relay group of Andrews, Anderson, sophomore Ty Bauschelt and junior Morris Toppel also qualified for state. They finished runner-up to Chippewa Falls with a time of 3:26.73.
Throughout the 2023 season, Prescott coach Emily Calabrese has spoken regularly about how the Cardinals have become a relay school. The Division 2 sectional results at Arcadia on Thursday, May 25, currently support that claim.
Prescott sends three of the four boys’ relays to state including the 4x200, 4x400 and 4x800 squads. The 4x200 team includes freshman Kobe Russell, sophomores Ethan West and Will Packard and senior Shane Butler. They finished third at sectionals with a time of 1:31.73.
The 4x400 also finished third and featured Packard, Butler and juniors Breckin Schommer and Kyle Cogan. They posted a time of 3:28.45 and were bested by only Osceola and La Crosse Logan.
Prescott’s 4x800 included Schommer, Cogan, sophomore Jack Kreager and senior Tyler Loucks. They posted an 8:24.85, which finished fourth behind Altoona, Medford Area and La Crosse Logan.
Schommer, who ran on the state-bound 4x400 and 4x800 relays also qualified individually in the 800-meter run. Schommer edged out 13 other competitors en route to a runner-up finish with a time of 2:00.77.
More information regarding the girls’ state-bound relays can be found in the Prescott girls’ regional championship story.
While the Ellsworth Panthers sent 18 individuals or relays to sectionals, just three finished in the top four of their respective events and qualified for the state championships in La Crosse. However, two of Ellsworth’s three state qualifiers won individual sectional championships.
Ellsworth’s first individual sectional champion is junior Parker Woodland, who is remarkably in his first year with the Panthers track and field program. Woodland bested 15 other athletes when he high jumped 6 feet, 1 inch at the Division 2 sectional in Arcadia on Thursday, May 25.
Drew Pechacek, who coaches Ellsworth’s boys, spoke about Woodland’s development in his first season with the program.
“He has shown improvement in both the high and triple jumps all season long,” Pechacek said. “He will continue to improve and set the bar higher each time he goes out to compete. He is still learning both events and I think he will be near the top of the leaderboard for some time to come.”
Ellsworth’s other individual sectional champion is Bo Hines, who has been one of the area’s best long jumpers since he broke onto the scene during his sophomore year in 2021. Hines jumped 21 feet, 3 inches, to claim the sectional title and was nearly four inches clear of second place.
“Bo Hines has been one of the top long jumpers in the area his entire track career,” Pechacek said. “He set a school record at regionals with his last jump, which was a great way to advance to sectionals. I always expect him to place high in the long jump and compete for a championship.”
Ellsworth’s final state qualifier is the boys’ 4x200-meter relay, which includes Hines alongside sophomores Levi Nelson and Michael Holst and junior Jake McCabe. They ran a 1:31.80, which finished fourth behind Prescott, West Salem and Lakeland Union.
Anybody that has picked up a copy of the Piece County Journal this spring will know that Elmwood/Plum City’s two state qualifiers are the same senior standouts who have dominated all spring.
Senior Trevor Asher has become one of the most dominant male track and field athletes in program history. He qualified for the state championships in both the long jump and triple jump events after a successful day at the Division 3 sectional in Cameron on Thursday, May 25.
Asher finished third in the triple jump when he leaped 44 feet, 3 inches. He booked his second trip to the state championships when he long jumped 21 feet, 0.5 inches.
Senior Isabella Forster has already cemented herself as one of the great track and field athletes in program history – regardless of what she does or doesn’t accomplish at state this weekend. She punched her ticket to the final meet of the year when she triple jumped 35 feet, 2 inches, which secured a third-place finish.
Elmwood/Plum City, Ellsworth, Prescott and River Falls will all be in action on Friday, June 2, and Saturday, June 3, at the state championships at Roger Harring Stadium on the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus. Events are slated to begin at 9:30 a.m.
River Falls’ state qualifiers (Division 1):
Rebecca Randleman in the 100-meter dash
Girls’ 4x200 relay
Kayleigh Volkman in the pole vault
Jacob Gilbertson in the 200-meter dash
Quin Andrews in the 800-meter run
Boys’ 4x200 relay
Boys’ 4x400 relay
Prescott’s state qualifiers (Division 2):
Girls’ 4x100 relay
Girls’ 4x400 relay
Girls’ 4x800 relay
Breckin Schommer in the 800-meter run
Boys’ 4x200 relay
Boys’ 4x400 relay
Boys’ 4x800 relay
Ellsworth’s state qualifiers (Division 2):
Boys’ 4x200 relay
Parker Woodland in the high jump
Bo Hines in the long jump
Elmwood/Plum City (Division 3):
Isabella Forster in the triple jump
Trevor Asher in the long jump
Trevor Asher in the triple jump