Girls track team third at Big 8 meet

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Dennis Semrau/For the Times-Tribune
Shea Ruhly and Middleton's girls track and field team finished third at the Big Eight Conference meet./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Quinn Harris entered her final Big Eight Conference track and field meet with a few emotional and physical scars, but was determined to make a stellar showing for her Middleton Cardinals’ teammates.

Less than 24 hours earlier, Harris had taken a nasty spill during a practice run at her specialty, the 300-meter low hurdles.

Junior Gabbi Butler also faced a mental hurdle, albeit a different one, in fighting off any doubts that she belonged with the best of the best at Lussier Stadium last Friday evening.

The Middleton duo proved to be two of the main reasons that Cardinals’ coach Cory Christovich, led a spirited post-meet celebration following the team’s uplifting performance.  

Sun Prairie won its third consecutive title and ninth in the past 11 seasons, finishing first with 152 points. Madison Memorial was second (144) and Middleton took third (135), repeating its performance of a year ago.

But Christovich said nearly everyone who competed for Middleton either had a personal- or season-best performance on a cool spring evening that signaled the start of the post-season run to the state track and field championships in La Crosse.

“We ran as best as we could,” Christovich said. “I was pleased with how the meet went. Sun Prairie and Memorial are just really great teams. They’re really deep, and they don’t have any weak events. They’re just scoring two and three places in every event that helps pile up the points.

“This is a good confidence boost for our team heading into regionals. We’ll try to get as many girls as we can to state. We want to pack the bus and have a great time. We’re definitely dropping times and improving at the right time of the year.”

Middleton finished with three individual conference champions in Butler, who won the 400-meter dash in 1:00.10; senior Shea Ruhly who earned her first conference title in the 1,600-meter run (5:13.43); and freshman Lauren Pansegrau, who secured her first title in the 3,200 (10:56.94), where Ruhly placed third.

Butler, who is in her second season competing in track and field after playing softball as a freshman, had ample motivation to secure her first conference crown.

“I was a little scared because I was seeded third,” Butler said. “It was a mind game for me, so I knew I had to push myself. I just tried to get out of my head and run as fast as I can. I do my best with a little kick for the last 100. So I think it went really well.

“I really love the 400. I feel really bad after it because I’m out of breath. But it’s like that runner’s high feeling. That’s how I feel. It’s one of my favorite races.”

Christovich said he was proud of Butler’s breakout performance, which included a third-place finish in the 200 and a personal-record 59.2 second anchor split for the Cardinals’ runner-up 1,600 relay.

“To break 60 in the 400 is awesome,” Christovich said. “That was something we strive for, so that was a big race for her.”

Ruhly entered the meet with high expectations after being seeded first in the 1,600 and second in the 3,200.

“I had the motivation to do it from my coaches and teammates,” she said. “I like running for long periods of time, so I like the two mile. But the mile was pretty fun tonight.”

Christovich was also pleased with the performance of all four relays, led by runner-up finishes by the 800 relay of sophomores Natalie McLain, Kenzie Nickels and Molly Gaab and senior Tai Pritts and the 1,600 relay of senior Hadley Braaten, sophomores Kaitlyn Peters and Olivia Wissink and Butler.

“I’m really proud of all the girls,” said Braeten, who also placed fifth in the 400 and sixth in the 200. “We’ve been training hard. Tonight, you could see how we’re peaking, which is really cool.”

The Cardinals’ 400 relay of McLain, Gaab, Nickels and Pritts finished third, while the 3,200 relay of Pansegrau, Peters, senior Anna Thomley and sophomore Brielle McDonald placed fourth.

“I’m really happy with how things went,” Christovich said. “I thought our girls ran great.”

Middleton scored points in 16 of the 18 events led by the distance crew, which scored 18 points in the 3,200 and 14 points in the 1,600.

“Shea was first in the mile and third in the two mile, and Lauren was first in the two mile and was our lead-off in the 4-by-8 today,” Christovich said of Ruhly and Pansegrau. “Both of those ladies ran really well. They showed why they are among the top distance runners in the state. I see big things for them as we move into the meets before state.”

Sophomore Bella Chirafisi also took fifth in the 1,600 and seventh in the 800, while sophomore Sarah Foley was seventh in the 3,200

Junior Sitori Tanin was a major contributor to the Cardinals’ success as well, finishing second in the triple jump, third in the 100 high hurdles and fourth in the high jump.

“It was a busy day with the long jump, high jump and hurdles all going on at the same time to start the meet,” Tanin said. “I really enjoy all the events, but the triple jump was the first event I had a lot of success in, so I love the triple jump.”

Christovich said Harris’ inspirational performance in the 300 hurdles, was one of the meet’s highlights for the Cardinals.

 After being seeded sixth, Harris finished third in a personal-best time of 51.19, trailing only Sun Prairie’s Brooke Crosby (47.11) and Aubrie Deprey (48.12).

“After having a really bad fall in practice (Thursday), for her to comeback today and run a PR and take third overall in the meet, I couldn’t be more proud of her,” Christovich said of Harris.

Harris said despite doing a face plant in her final workout before the conference meet, there was no way she wasn’t going to overcome the mental hurdle of picking herself up and getting back on the track.

“You’ve got to put it in the past,” Harris said. “It was, unfortunately, my only run through, and I fell in that run through. But I had the amazing support of all my teammates who helped me put that behind me. I stayed positive and confident.”


May 10

Big Eight Conference meet

At Lussier Stadium, Madison


Team scores: Sun Prairie 152, Madison Memorial 144, Middleton 135, Madison La Follette 68, Verona 62, Janesville Parker 52, Madison West 41, Janesville Craig 21, Madison East 21, Beloit Memorial 5.

100: 1, Wade, MM, :12.55; 2, Shelton, JP, :12.68; 3, Cross, SP, :12.71; 4, Korger-Mitchell, MM, :12.85; 5, Smith, V, :12.93; 6, Lee, MLF, :12.94; 7, Tai Pritts, Mid., :12.96; 8, Kenzie Nickels, Mid., :13.17.

200: 1, Cross, SP, :26.17; 2, Shelton, JP, :26.28; 3, Gabbi Butler, Mid., :27.03; 4, Korger-Mitchell, MM, :27.14; 5, Abby Gessler, Mid., :27.25; 6, Hadley Braaten, Mid., :27.50; 7, Wade, MM, :27.75; 8, Lindsey, SP, :27.84.

400: 1, Butler, Mid., 1:00.10; 2, Graesslin, JP, 1:00.60; 3, Lindsey, SP, 1:01.40; 4, Miller, MM, 1:02.00; 5, Braaten, Mid., 1:02.10; 6, Rademacher, SP, 1:0.70; 7, Gaines, MM, 1:02.90; 8, Bissen, MM, 1:03.43.

800: 1, Remiker, V, 2:22.00; 2, Bowman, MW, 2:23.20; 3, Nelson, SP, 2:24.20; 4, Hulick, JC, 2:25.50; 5, Gaines, MM, 2:26.50; 6, Rhodes, MM, 2:26.90; 7, Bella Chirafisi, Mid., 2:27.50; 8, Kopotic, SP, 2:27.90.

1,600: 1, Shea Ruhly, Mid., 5:13.43; 2, Bowman, MW, 5:14.92; 3, Kopotic, SP, 5:18.32; 4, Ray, SP, 5:20.96; 5, Chirafisi, Mid., 5:22.93; 6, Cutforth, MM, 5:24.25; 7, Brunner, MM, 5:27.34; 8, Gage, JP, 5:30.44.

3,200: 1, Lauren Pansegrau, Mid., 10:56.94; 2, Nashold, MW, 11:01.76; 3, Ruhly, Mid., 11:07.73; 4, Cutforth, MM, :1:33.38; 5, Ray, SP, 11:43.17; 6, Gage, JP, 11:44.88; 7, Sarah Foley, Mid., 12:00.14; 8, Kunstman, MW, 12:02.35.

100 hurdles: 1, Crosby, SP, :15.23; 2, Porter, JP, :15.45; 3, Sitori Tanin, Mid., :16.58; 4, Deprey, SP, :17.27; 5, Randall, BM, :17.23; 6, Peterson, MW, :18.33; 7, Fair, MLF, :18.34; 8, Ashworth, MM, :18.47.

300 hurdles: 1, Crosby, SP, :47.11; 2, Deprey, SP, :48.12; 3, Quinn Harris,  Mid., :51.19; 4, Veak, V, :51.25; 5, Toth, MM, :51.35; 6, Braun, MM, :51.90; 7, Hill, ME, :52.68; 8, Emma Kostecki, Mid., :53.05.

400 relay: 1, Madison Memorial, :50.12; 2, Sun Prairie, :50.84; 3, Middleton (Natalie McLain, Molly Gaab, Nickels, Pritts), :51.54; 4, Verona, :51.87; 5, Madison La Follette, :53.35; 6, Janesville Parker, :53.70; 7, Janesville Craig, :54.77; 8, Madison East, :54.97.

800 relay: 1, Janesville Parker, 1:46.24; 2, Middleton (McLain, Nickels, Gaab, Pritts), 1:48.56; 3, Sun Prairie, 1:50.95; 4, Madison Memorial, 1:51.36; 5, Verona, 1:51.71; 6, Madison La Follette, 1:57.23; 7, Madison West, 1:57.26; 8, Beloit Memorial, 1:57.91.

1,600 relay: 1, Sun Prairie, 4:07.79; 2, Middleton (Olivia Wissink, Butler, Kaitlyn Peters, Braaten), 4:08.00; 3, Madison Memorial, 4:08.13; 4, Verona, 4:16.03; 5, Janesville Craig, 4:18.72; 6, Madison West, 4:36.96; 7, Janesville Parker, 4:37.80; 8, Madison La Follette, 4:43.71.

3,200 relay: 1, Sun Prairie, 9:41.03; 2, Madison Memorial, 9:50.67; 3, Verona, 9:55.12; 4, Middleton (Pansegrau, Peters, Anna Thomley, Brielle McDonald), 10:10.11; 5, Janesville Craig, 10:21.77; 6, Madison West, 10:22.76; 7, Madison La Follette, 10:23.3

High jump: 1, Korger-Mitchell, MM, 5-2; 2, Andrews, SP, 5-2; 3, Ammeraal, MLF, 4-11; 4, Tanin, Mid., 4-10; 5, Allison Thomley, Mid., 4-10; 6, Jordan Dettmann, Mid., 4-8; 7, Garel-Moore, MM, 4-8; 8, Figueroa, SP, 4-8.

Pole vault: 1, O'Connell , SP, 11-0; 2, Mickelson, SP, 10-3; 3, Sweet, MM, 10-3; 4, Sowinski, MW,         9-9; 5, Brings, V, 9-6; 6, Hershberger, MM, 9-6; 7, McDermott, SP, 9-0; 8, Georgia Elliott, Mid., 8-6.

Long jump: 1, Lee, MLF, 18-1.252, Buske, ME, 16-11.75; 3, Smith, V, 15-6.5; 4, Slattery, MM, 15-6.25; 5, Bender, MLF, 15-5.75; 6, Andrews, SP, 15-2.5; 7, Cross, SP, 15-0; 8, Miller, MM, 14-8.5.

Triple jump: 1, Lee, MLF, 37-9.25; 2, Tanin, Mid., 35-7.5; 3, Buske, ME, 33-0; 4, Bender, LF, 32-7.25; 5, Josie Lemirande, Mid., 32-0.75; 6, Blaser, JC, 31-7.75; 7, Kundinger, V, 30-10; 8, Lippens, JP, 30-8.5.

Shot put: 1, Thorns, MM, 42-2.5; 2, Walker, MLF, 39-2.5; 3, Kobi Davis, Mid., 36-1.5; 4, Maier, MM, 36-1.25; 5, Ayite-Atayi, V, 35-7; 6, Alderman, JC, 35-5; 7, Odjedele, MLF, 35-0; 8, Witthuhn, V, 33-11.

Discus: 1, Rosales, MM, 130-0; 2, Thorns, MM, 118-4; 3, Witthuhn, V, 114-8;

4, Morgan, MLF, 113-5; 5, Buske, ME, 111-0; 6, Widiker, SP, 110-10; 7, Johnson, MLF, 108-5; 8, Walker, MLF, 107-2.





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