Girls track team aiming high

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel

Strength in numbers.

That’s what Middleton’s girls’ track and field team is hoping for this spring.

The Cardinals have a record 112 girls out for track. And when Middleton begins its season Saturday at the Ripon Invite, the Cardinals hope their large crew will embark on a special season

“I’ve been going through old track results and 20 years ago (1998 season) there was about 30 girls on the team,” Middleton coach Cory Christnovich. “That is a huge jump in numbers, but a testament to the previous athletes and coaches that have made Middleton track and field the success it is.”

The Cardinals have become one of the top programs in the state over the past two decades. And Middleton could be poised for big things again this spring.

The Cardinals were fourth at the Big Eight Conference meet last season and 57th at state. But Christnovich believes his team is ready to jump up several notches.

“We were in a lot of races last year and would lose a place or two in the last few meters,” Christnovioch said. “I expect this season we will finish races and gain those extra points needed to contend for the conference title.”

Junior Hadley Braaten, who runs the 400 and 800, was the MVP of Middleton’s track season last year. This year, Christnovich believes Braaten will be even better than she was 12 months ago.

“She is a very hard working young lady and loves taking on the tough challenges that is a 400 or 800 meter race,” he said. “I expect her to keep up her high level of work ethic, determination, and grit when it comes to both practice and races.”

Senior Jen McGinnis qualified for state last year in both the triple jump and with the 800-meter relay. 

“Jen is one of those great athletes that can be put into many different events and perform at a high level,” Christnovich said. “She I also would expect to see her in many other events throughout the course of the season.”

Sophomore Sitori Tannin finished seventh at state last year in the triple jump. She’ll also compete in the high jump and high hurdles.

“Sitori is our top returner in the triple jump, high jump, and hurdles,” Christnovich said. “Last season was also her first season ever in track and field. I expect that her performances will continue to improve as she gains more experience in all three of these technical events.” 

Senior sprinter Autumn Delaney has been an alternate on Middleton’s state 400- and 800-meter relay teams the last two seasons.

“I look for her to continue to improve and be a leader of our sprint squad,” Christnovich said.

Junior Tai Pritts was a key member of Middleton’s 400 and 800-meter relays that qualified for state in 2017. Pritts was also Middleton’s only athlete that qualified for the finals at conference in both the 100 and 200. 

“I look for Tai to be one of our key members of our sprint squad this season, maybe even dabbling in the 400,” Christnovich said.

Senior sprinter Clara Cownie was an alternate on Middleton’s state qualifying 400-meter relay team last season. 

Senior Juliana Castillo ran the lead leg of Middleton’s 1,600-meter relay team that returns five of six members. 

“I look for her to continue to drop her time and run under 1 minute in the 400 this year,” Christnovich said of Castillo. 

Sophomore Charlotte Buck was part of Middleton’s 1,600- and 3,200-meter relay teams that both made state a year ago.

“I look for her to keep dropping her times after a promising freshman year,” Christnovich said.
Senior Reshma Gali is Middleton’s top returner in the shot put and discus.

“I look for her to throw over 100 feet in the discus as well as being a leader to our young group of thrower ladies,” Christnovich said.

Junior Claire Lorman has tremendous potential in the triple jump and could have a breakout year.

“She does not have the typical build of a triple jumper, but her ability to quickly get off the ground and carry her speed helps her jump to great distances,” Christnovich said.

Senior Marie Mayers looks to have a big year in the 300-meter hurdles and in the 1,600-meter relay.

“Marie is in the best shape of her career to start a season and is looking to end her track and field career on a high note,” Christnovich said. “I expect her to have big PRs (personal records) this season for both the 300 hurdles and in the 4x400.”

Senior Iris Ohlrogge is Middleton’s best returning two-mile runner.

“Iris is a very hard working young lady who has had some bad breaks in the past with injuries,” Christnovich said. “If she can stay healthy, I expect that she can run well under 12 minutes.”

Senior Margaret Patterson was part of Middleton’s 3,200-meter relay team that qualified for state last year. Patterson also qualified for state as an individual during cross country season, and will look to carry that momentum into the track season.

“She will continue to improve her times as she continues to gain confidence with her running success,” Christnovich said.

Senior Erika Rader was not at Middleton last season after being elected to attend the prestigious Wisconsin Conserve School, where only about 60 students are selected to attend each semester. This spring, Rader will run the 800, 1,600 and 3,200.

“She has always been one of our better distance runners and I look for her to be a senior leader of the distance group,” Christnovich said.

Senior Charlotte Sue was one of the members of Middleton’s 3,200-meter relay team that qualified for state in 2017. Sue will also try the pole vault this season.

Middleton’s top newcomers include freshmen Lauryn Abozeid (sprints and field events), Bella Chirafisi (distance), Kobi Davis (throws), Sara Foley (distance), Molly Gaab (sprints), Natavia Jackson (sprints and throws), Brielle McDonald (sprints), Kaitlyn Peters (distance), Isabel Prohaska (pole vault), Jackie Volkema (sprints and field events) and Kate Weiler (sprints); sophomores Gabbi Butler (sprints), Georgia Elliott (pole vault), Josie Lemirande (sprints and field events), Natalie McLain (sprints), Megan Schwartz (distance) and Kimmy Williams (pole vault); and junior Charlotte Dunn (jumps).

Christnovich believes the Cardinals will have solid relay teams and a strong group of distance runners. His greatest concern is the field events for both long jump and pole vault. 

“Our best athletes in these events graduated so we will need others to step up,” Christnovich said. “We have the athletes to fill the void, it just remains to be seen if they can live up to the expectations.”

Since 2007, the Big Eight champion has been a Cardinal every year — either Middleton or Sun Prairie. Christnovich expects both Cardinals to challenge for the title again, while Madison Memorial could challenge, as well.

“We expect to work hard, but have a blast doing it,” Christnovich said.

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