Prescott takes 2nd at Northern Badger track meet

EPC’s Pullen predicts success this season

By Joe Peine
Posted 3/27/24

The Prescott Cardinals took second in the Northern Badger Classic Small Schools meet held in Menomonie on Saturday, March 23.

Currently, the head coaching position for the Cardinals is run in …

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Prescott takes 2nd at Northern Badger track meet

EPC’s Pullen predicts success this season


The Prescott Cardinals took second in the Northern Badger Classic Small Schools meet held in Menomonie on Saturday, March 23.

Currently, the head coaching position for the Cardinals is run in tandem by husband and wife duo Emily and Carl Calabrese, with Emily coaching the girls and Carl coaching the guys. Since they took over the team, roughly 50% of the school records have been broken, and Carl says that’s something they’re constantly chasing.

“We have 50 records total on our record board, so there are lots of opportunities. In total,16 girl’s records and nine boy’s records have been taken down in our time, and there are some very impressive ones still remaining,” Carl Calabrese said.

Coach Calabrese says there are a number of factors that have allowed this to happen.

“The consistent training that we have with our strength and conditioning and speed exercises throughout all of the athletic programs has also been a big factor. That ensures that most of our athletes begin the season in shape and are familiar with the terminology we use,” Calabrese said. “The last big factor I’d say is that all of the coaches at Prescott are very supportive of other sports, are always encouraging their athletes to do multiple sports. Track is a sport that everyone can do, and building speed and strength will help with every other sport they compete in. Because there are so many different events, we have lots of opportunities for kids to try new things.”

As for why a full third of the records are held by the current team, Calabrese says that’s due to the impressive talent level they have right now and also good marketing.

“We have a lot of athletes that we call true-track-kids, meaning they absolutely love the sport, are constantly thinking about it, watching videos, and training for it,” Carl Calabrese said. “There is also a lot of hype around track and field at our school because of the excitement our athletes share with their friends.”

Currently, 17 out of a possible 50 school records have been set by members of the current team, and three of those were set in the past week.

Ethan West is responsible for two of these broken records in the pole vault and 55-meter dash competitions. Will Packard broke his own record on the 55-meter hurdles earlier in the week, and if he competes in that event again, he thinks he’ll break it.

“If I run the 55-meter hurdles again, there is a good chance I will break it again because there were a couple things I could have done better in my race technique-wise that I will be working on in practice. But, we have not decided if I am going to hurdle or not at Stout Elite on Thursday yet,” Packard said. “That is probably going to be my last indoor meet of the year, and the 55-meter hurdles is only an indoor event. I’m more excited to get outdoors to run the 300-meter hurdles; I have big goals for that race this year.”

Packard says that although hurdles are his strong suit, his favorite event is the 4x400-meter relay.

“I love running with and for my teammates, especially with all the excitement that comes with the 4x400 being the last event of the meet,” Packard said.

It should be no surprise then that Packard along with Jack Kreager, Andrew Russell and Breckin Schommer took first in the 4x400 meter relay.

Other top three finishes in Menomonie for the boys include West’s first place 55-meter dash and third place in the pole vault, and Josh Peterson’s third-place finish in the shot put. Schommer also ran a personal best 4:42 in the mile, shaving 10 seconds off his time from last year and taking third.

Other top six finishes for the boys include Packard’s triple jump, Andrew Lesso’s 55-meter dash, Kreager’s 800-meter, and Jayde Canfield’s 3,200-meter events.

On the girls’ side, Marisa Cogan, Natalee Huppert, Ava Budworth and Sophie Ripley took second in the 4x400 meter relay, and Ripley also took second in the 800-meter event. Rounding out the top six finishers for the girls was Kianna Severson’s 55-meter dash and triple jump, Cogan’s 400-meter, Izzy Metz’s high jump and Charlette Kellogg’s triple jump events.

It’s looking like another great year for the Cardinals track and field as competition continued Tuesday in River Falls at 3 p.m. and again on Thursday in Menomonie at 8 a.m.

Elmwood-Plum City

The Elmwood-Plum City Wolves competed in Menomonie on Saturday in the Northern Badger Small Schools track and field competition. With spring break still going for the Wolves, Head Coach Amanda Webb says the day wasn’t a full showing.

“Only part of our team is here, so we only have 13 kids participating today. It’s a young team, we only have a couple returning letterwinners from last year. There’s lots of young kids trying new things, so today's kind of just get in and getting some good practice in,” Webb said.

With so many new faces, it’s not surprising then that overall team numbers are reduced; from 40 last year they are down to 28 in this year’s group.

“Kids are still trying new things to figure out what they’re good at. We use all of our meets the next few months before conference just figuring out how to put the best team together and have the kids be the most successful,” Webb said. “It’s going to be hard to have a team that fills out a whole lineup for all the events with our number of kids, so some events we will be short in.”

Being shorter on numbers this season doesn’t mean the Wolves are short on talent or dedication. Olivia Pullen’s specialty is distance running, and she says she stays active over the winter to stay competition ready between the fall cross country and spring track and field seasons. This involves lots of gym time and outdoor mileage.

“I probably lift about two times a day, and I go out to the weight room again and stretch. Then I run anywhere from like two to four miles per day. I probably run an average of 10 to 15 miles a week during the winter, typically  outside. It’s awful, but I bundle up and wear gloves. I just like to get better,” Pullen said. “At least for my easy run mileage, I’m probably about a minute faster than I was last year. That's a lot, especially considering I do my easy mileage at like, three to four miles, and instead of doing it at like 10:00 pace, it's more like an 8:30-9:00 pace.”

Pullen is part of one of the most exciting and successful events for the Wolves this year, the 4x800-meter relay. They made it all the way to sectionals last year in this event, although Pullen thinks they have even more in them this year.

“We didn’t finish the best, but I think we did pretty good considering how young our team was compared to the other teams who had lots of seniors. It was all our first years in track except for one person, and she was a freshman,” Pullen said.

The Northern Badger didn’t feature that particular event, although Kirsten Hassing and Willow Cripe each competed in the 800-meter solo event and put up good times.

Other top performers from the girls’ side include Taylor Asher’s 3,200-meter, Pullen’s 1,600-meter and Cripe’s 400-meter events. Andrea Arredondo, Lillian Pullen and Neveah Zahara also had solid individual performances in the 200-meter event, each of whom took either first or second in at least one heat. In the non-running events, Aurora Sampair finished well in the shot put, and so did Allison Sauve in the long jump.

With the team numbers down for this event due to spring break, there were considerably less competitors on the boys’ side than usual. However, Colin Manor placed well in the 400-meter and 800-meter events. Giovanni Nunez also finished well in the 200-meter and long jump, and Dominic Forster rounded out the guys, finishing highly in the shot-put event.

This all bodes well for the Wolves who still put up good numbers even though only half the team made it out over the break. The track and field season continues for Elmwood-Plum City’s athletes this week when they travel back to Menomonie to compete on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Northern Badger Classic Small Schools meet, Prescott Cardinals, EPC Wolves, track and field