Pansegrau shines at state

Error message

  • Notice: Undefined index: taxonomy_term in similarterms_taxonomy_node_get_terms() (line 518 of /home/middleton/www/www/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 0 in similarterms_list() (line 221 of /home/middleton/www/www/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 1 in similarterms_list() (line 222 of /home/middleton/www/www/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
MTT News's picture
Dennis Semrau/For the Times-Tribune
Middleton freshman Lauren Pansegrau (top) finished second at state in the 3,200-meter run./Photo courtesy of Christopher Hujanen

LA CROSSE — Lauren Pansegrau was all smiles following her state track and field debut last Saturday at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium.

On a beautiful, sun-splashed afternoon, Pansegrau picked the perfect opportunity to run the best race of her prep career.

The Middleton freshman distance runner put the finishing touches on an impressive year that began with a 31st place finish at the Division 1 state cross country meet last fall and ended up on the podium with a runner-up finish in the 3,200-meter run at the WIAA Division 1 state track and field meet.

Pansegrau ran a strategically savvy race finishing in a personal-best time of 10 minutes, 47.81 seconds. She trailed only Onalaska sophomore Kora Malecek, a triplet whose sisters also competed in the meet, who was first in 10:36.25.

“I’m really happy,” Pansegrau said. “It was a fun race. I tried not to stay too far behind (the leader) and run with the pack around me.”

After finishing second to Malecek at the Verona Sectional on May 23, Pansegrau said she knew what to expect.

“I just tried to stay with a steady pace,” she said. “I wanted to run my pace and not get too far behind but not go out super-fast.”

Pansegrau was Middleton’s sole competitor to score points. The Cardinals’ eight points tied them for 31st place in the Division 1 standings.

Muskego won the team title with 51 points. Milwaukee Divine Savior Holy Angels (49), Milwaukee King (44), Onalaska (36) and Glendale Nicolet (29) rounded out the top five.

However, Middleton coach Cory Christovich was pleased with his contingent of 17 participants, including alternates, who gained valuable experience at the state meet.

“I’m really happy with how it went,” Christovich said. “Tai (Pritts) and Hadley (Braaten) are some of the seniors who have been here before and ran well. I’m going to be sad to see them finish off their high school careers. But they went out with good performances.

“We had a young group of freshmen and sophomores, some of them running at state for the first time. It was a really good experience for them. This helped open their eyes on what they have to do to elevate their game. They see what it takes to get to their end goal.”

The youthful group of newcomers included Pansegrau, whose performance Christovich said was the highlight of the meet.

“It was pretty amazing,” Christovich said. “She had an eight-second PR today. That was great. She ran a real smart race. Some of the other girls went out hard the first couple of laps. She fell into her pace nicely.

“Then those early leaders fell off of their pace and she started to move up. The last three laps, you could tell she was really determined, and she performed well. She ran a heck of a race. Second-place is quite an accomplishment for a freshman.”

Pansegrau got her day off to a solid start, running the leadoff leg of Middleton’s 3,200 relay, that included sophomores Brielle McDonald, Kaitlyn Peters and Bella Chirafisi. That quartet finished 12th in 9:42.61.

The relay was seeded sixth with a sectional time of 9:39.11.

“Lauren led off the 4-by-8 and ran about a 2:25, which she had been running all year long,” Christovich said. “She had us in a good spot. All of the 4-by-8 girls ran really well.

“Brielle McDonald just started running the 800 about five, six weeks ago. To run it in the 4-by-8 at state was great. Kaitlyn Peters ran her fastest split of the year, which was great. Bella Chirafisi ran a solid race. It was their second-fastest time of the year, three seconds slower than what we ran at sectionals. But I was super pleased at how they ran.”

Christovich also had high praise for junior Sitori Tanin, who made her third straight trip to state in the triple jump. She was seeded 13th and finished 11th with a best effort of 36 feet, 6.5 inches, which came on her second jump in the trials.

Unfortunately, Tanin came up one-quarter of an inch short of advancing to the finals after taking seventh as a freshman and sixth last year.

“She had her best performance of the year with her three best jumps of the year so she was consistent,” Christovich said. “She got the short end of the stick on that one, but you can’t fault her how she did.”

Senior Shea Ruhly had a rough trip to state after qualifying for the first time in the 1,600.

“She was disqualified for a false start,” Christovich said. “That was the ruling the referee gave us, and we had to go on from there. It was a real bummer.”

On Friday’s opening day of competition, Middleton’s 800-meter relay team of freshman Abby Gessler, junior Gabbi Butler, sophomore Molly Gaab and Pritts finished 14th in a season-best 1:45.48, but did not qualify for the finals.

The 1,600-meter relay team of Braaten, Peters, McDonald and Butler finished 13th in the prelims also in a season-best 4:03.38, but was unable to secure a spot in Saturday’s finals.

The 800 relay was seeded 19th and the 1,600 was seeded 16th entering the meet.

“We were hoping to make the finals in at least one of them,” Christovich said. “But we ran our best times of the year and had good splits all the way around. The girls gave it their all and were running for each other and were really hoping to run on Saturday. We fell a little bit short of that goal, but it wasn’t due to a lack of effort.”

Christovich said Butler opened some eyes, in particular with her performance in the 1,600 relay.

“Gabbi had her fastest (400) split of the year,” he said. “She is really coming into her own in the 400. Her times keep dropping and dropping and dropping. She is going to be a force to be reckoned with next year.”

Christovich said the future looks bright for the Cardinals to make an even bigger impression at state next year.

“It was a great season,” he said. “We got 17 girls down to state. They had great performances and a great year and definitely had a lot of great memories we can build on for the future.”



Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)