Prescott track and field outperforms expectations at State Track and Field Meet

Posted 6/7/22

By Reagan Hoverman The Prescott Cardinals are likely one of the only high school track and field teams in Wisconsin that can say they performed better than they were seeded in every event they …

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Prescott track and field outperforms expectations at State Track and Field Meet


By Reagan Hoverman

The Prescott Cardinals are likely one of the only high school track and field teams in Wisconsin that can say they performed better than they were seeded in every event they competed in at the annual WIAA Division 2 State Track and Field Meet in La Crosse on Friday, June 3, and Saturday, June 4.

Prescott had 14 student

athletes qualify in five different events at the state track and field championships. The girls’ 4×800 meter relay consisted of senior Maddie Matzek, junior Ella Johnson, and sophomores Ava Budworth and Sophie Ripley.

The boys’ 4×100 meter dash consisted of sophomore Josh Pe

terson and seniors Aiden Russell, Grant Stanton and Andrew Lee. The boys’ 4×200 meter dash consisted of the aforementioned Pe

terson, Russell, Stanton and senior Dylan Bierbrauer. Russell also qualified individually for the high jump and long jump events. Prescott coach Emily Calabrese, who coaches with her husband Carl Calabrese, spoke about the overall results at the state cham

pionship meet.

“Every state entry we had outran or out

jumped their seed place this weekend,” Emily Calabrese said. “We could not be more proud of how all of our athletes performed.”

Prescott’s first contest of the championship meet was on Fri

day, the preliminary day, when the girls’ 4×800 meter relay ran a season

best time and earned a ninth

place finish after being seeded as the 13th team based on Division 2 Sectional results. At the D2 Sectional in Rice Lake on Thursday, May 26, the girls earned a fourth place finish to qualify for state.

“At state, they beat each of the teams that had previously run faster than them at the Rice Lake sectional,” Calabrese said. “Those are all fantastic teams, so the girls were very proud of themselves for running so well at a big competition.”

While the group wasn’t all seniors, the leader of that squad, Matzek, ran her final race in that 4×800 meter relay on Friday. Calabrese spoke about Matzek’s contribution as a leader and competitor as well as her track and field career, which will con

tinue at Minnesota State University Mankato.

“Maddie (Matzek) had her final race as a Cardinal and couldn’t have led these girls better this season,” Calabrese said. “We look forward to watching Maddie (Matzek) compete at the next level for Mankato next year and continue to be a role model for our girls.”

It was also the final meet for some of Prescott’s competitors in the 4×100 and 4×200 meter relays. The boys’ 4×200 meter relay came into the state track and field championships seeded

13th. That group slightly outperformed expectations with a 12th

place finish. Shortly after that, the boys’ 4×100 meter relay earned a 14th place finish after being seeded 16th.

“The 4×200 didn’t run a season best, but they ran very well,” Calabrese said. “The boys’ 4×100 ran just 0.02 seconds off their previously

set school record (which before this season, had stood since 1985).”

The seniors in those relays consisted of Russell, Stanton, Lee and Bierbrauer. Peterson is the only starter from either the 4×100


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or 4×200 that will be returning to competition next season. Calabrese spoke about those sen iors and their efforts.

“Each of them left it all on the track and should be very proud of how they performed,” Calabrese said. “I’m thankful to have had such great senior leadership for my boys this season. Although it was sad to see the running careers of Russell, Stanton, Lee, Bierbrauer, and (Logan Stewart, a senior alternate in the relays) come to an end this weekend, I am so proud of each of them.”

Once the running events were over, the sec ond day of competition belonged to Russell, who qualified for the finals in both the high jump and long jump events. While Friday was a warm, sunny day with perfect conditions, Sat urday’s finals were the opposite. It rained most of the day, was cold and the sun rarely came through the heavy cloud cover. Calabrese spoke about Russell competing in those adverse con ditions.

“The conditions on Saturday were less than ideal for jumpers, but Carl (Calabrese) and I thought Aiden (Russell) did a fantastic job nav

igating that meet and the conditions he was pre

sented with,” Calabrese said.

According to Calabrese, Russell’s goal head

ing into the weekend was to earn a top six fin ish, enough to finish on the podium with a medal around his neck. Despite not having his best day at the high jump, Russell earned a fourth place finish and secured himself a spot on the podium.

“Even though his height didn’t match what he had previously done this season, considering the conditions, he was happy with the result and we were, too,” Calabrese said.

Despite Russell being one of the best athletes in Prescott history, he can still be his toughest critic. While warming up for the long jump just minutes after he finished the high jump, he was visibly frustrated that he wasn’t getting the re

sults he wanted in his warm ups for the event.

“Aiden (Russell) can be his own hardest critic,” Calabrese said. “He can get frustrated with himself when things don’t go perfectly. Carl (Calabrese) said Aiden (Russell) was frus trated that his approach wasn’t ‘on’ at the long jump.”

As Russell finished his last warm up repeti

tion at the long jump, Carl Calabrese got Rus sell’s attention from the sideline, and yelled, ‘Hey! Just make sure you have fun!’ and smiled at him. Emily Calabrese provided context to Carl Calabrese’s coaching technique in one of the biggest moments of the season.

“Aiden (Russell) is a very focused athlete, but he competes best when he is relaxed and having fun with what he’s doing,” Emily Cal abrese said. “Finding the balance between focus and fun generally gives Aiden (Russell) the best chance for success in his jumping events.”

While competition is certainly the main focus, the Prescott coaches and student athletes who qualified for state were also able to build lifelong memories outside of the University of Wisconsin La Crosse track and field complex. The program did team building exercises on Thursday night, which included working through a local escape room for entertainment and team building. Calabrese spoke of the ca maraderie of the weekend.

“They joked around, played games together, enjoyed meals together, and made memories with their teammates to last a lifetime,” Cal abrese said. “This weekend was a blast for the kids.”

As the season wrapped up, the Calabreses re flected on the 2022 campaign and where it stands in Prescott track and field history.

“It was a successful year with eight new school records, 14 athletes at state, countless PRs, veteran athletes reaching new levels of competition, new athletes developing a love for the sport, and everyone making memories to gether with their teammates,” Emily Calabrese said. “We are proud of every single one of the athletes on our team this year and can’t wait to continue to build on their personal growth and successes this year as we look ahead toward the 2023 season.”