Prescott track and field aims to capitalize on 2022 success

By Reagan Hoverman
Posted 3/23/23

After winning a pair of regional titles and sending more than half a dozen athletes to the state championships in La Crosse last season, the Prescott Cardinals track and field team is looking to …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Prescott track and field aims to capitalize on 2022 success


After winning a pair of regional titles and sending more than half a dozen athletes to the state championships in La Crosse last season, the Prescott Cardinals track and field team is looking to capitalize on the momentum it built throughout the spring of 2022.

Despite graduating a couple of charismatic, athletic seniors from last year’s team, Prescott’s 2023 roster features more than 90 student-athletes – its largest roster ever – that includes promising young freshman and returning veteran leaders alike.

Throughout the first couple of weeks of practice, Prescott’s coaching staff met regularly with the team captains and established three main goals for the 2023 season. Prescott head coach Emily Calabrese spoke about those goals and what would make the season this spring a success.

“In terms of performance, both our boys’ and girls’ teams want to repeat regional championships,” Calabrese said. “It’s going to be difficult, but it’s definitely possible on both sides. I like that they have their sights set on that.”

In addition to chasing more hardware for the school’s trophy case, the staff and team captains also targeted team building and program chemistry as a goal culturally. Because the roster is approaching 100 athletes, getting to know everyone on the team will take dedicated time and effort throughout the season.

Prescott’s final major goal for the 2023 season, which was primarily developed by the coaching staff, is to cultivate young talent on a roster that is chock-full of student-athletes excited to compete for a program that has elevated its status in recent years.

Coach Calabrese spoke about building team chemistry throughout the year and developing young talent on a roster that appears to have no shortage of capable athletes.

“Being so big, we want things as simple as getting to know everyone and knowing that we’re all a part of the same team and can talk to each other anytime,” Calabrese said. “We want to cultivate the talent that’s there but may be hidden in all of these new kids. We want to bring those talents to light.”

The coaching staff developed those goals for the 2023 season with its six captains. The three girls’ captains include seniors Addison Huppert, Ella Johnson and Rian Engeldinger while the boys’ squad is led by senior Tyler Loucks,  junior Josh Peterson and sophomore Will Packard.

Although the track teams have only been practicing for a couple of weeks, coach Calabrese and the rest of her staff have been completely blown away by the leadership her six captains have demonstrated.

Whether it’s organizing drills, guiding fresh faces still navigating a new sport or simply performing at an exceptional level, the coaching staff has been impressed by the mature leadership demonstrated by the captains.

“This is an all-around group of good leaders and role models,” Calabrese said. “They’re leading the team in a direction I didn’t even imagine would happen this early in the year with such a new team. We’ve been really impressed with the leadership that has been on the team already this year and has guided everyone in the direction our program wants to head.”

Although some of the better athletes in recent Prescott memory graduated last season with Aiden Russell and Maddie Matzek, the Cardinals still return droves of veteran talent from last year’s team.

The aforementioned captain Loucks has one of the stronger resumes in the Middle Border Conference. Last season he regularly contended in distance events and even won the 1,600 and 3,200-meter running events at the regional championships in Baldwin.

Returning talent on the girls’ side includes three starters from the 4x800-meter relay that finished ninth at the Division 2 state championships in La Crosse last spring. The group includes senior Ella Johnson and juniors Ava Budworth and Sophie Ripley.

With three of the four coming back for the 2023 season, the girls have already thought about getting back to La Crosse. Junior Abby Overland, who was an alternate for the 4x800 relay last year, will likely step into that group as a full-time starter this season.

“Abby Overland has always been very driven, so I think she could definitely fill that spot,” Calabrese said. “There are some other girls who are ready to step in there too. They’re ready to go back to state and I think they’re going to do what it takes to get there.”

While Prescott has a lot of experience coming back, it also has seemingly endless young athletes ready to compete. Perhaps none have more potential than freshman Kobe Russell, the younger brother of 2022 graduate Aiden Russell.

Aiden Russell was a dynamic three-sport athlete that became a leader in every program he was involved with. Carl Calabrese, who coaches the team with his wife Emily Calabrese, spoke about Kobe Russell’s potential.

“Kobe Russell (has the potential to be good at) everything,” Carl Calabrese said. “He’s going to take some time to develop. I hate to say it, but I told Aiden this yesterday, I think Kobe might be a better athlete than Aiden by the time he’s done. Kobe is ready to work hard and pave his way.”

Given the returning experience and promising young athletes, Prescott is in a position to capitalize on the success it had last season and use it to make 2023 another special year for the program.

Prescott Cardinals, Track and Field, WIAA, Middle Border Conference