Girls track team was thinking big

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Rob Reischel
Lauren Pansegrau finished second at state in the 3,200-meter run last season./File photo

Editor’s Note: The WIAA recently canceled spring sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the Times-Tribune, we’d like to give recognition to the athletes and coaches who had their seasons stopped prematurely.

So, we’re running a series of stories on the teams that didn’t get a chance to perform in 2020.


Jay Schweitzer felt like he was the new guy at the poker table — and he was just dealt four of a kind.

Schweitzer took over Middleton’s girls track and field program this season. And Schweitzer inherited a team ready for big things.

We’ll never know if the Cardinals would have reached their lofty aspirations, as the WIAA canceled spring sports in late-April. But Schweitzer believes that Middleton was ready for a memorable year.

“We were positioned to finish strong at the conference meet,” Schweitzer said. “I really felt like we had a good chance to win the meet. We were a deep team with talent at every area.”

Middleton’s top returnee was sophomore distance runner Lauren Pansegrau, who finished second at state in the 3,200-meter run last season.

Pansegrau was also part of Middleton’s 3,200-meter relay team that finished 12th at state last year. The rest of that group included current juniors Brielle McDonald, Kaitlyn Peters and Bella Chirafisi.

Senior Sitori Tanin, who qualified for state each of the last three years in the triple jump, was also back.

“Sitori would be a top finisher in multiple events,” Schweitzer said. “She is just so talented. I feel like we could put her in any event and she would do well. Ideally, we were looking at top finishes in high jump, triple jump and 100 hurdles.”

Sophomore Abby Gessler, senior Gabbi Butler and junior Molly Gaab were all back from Middleton’s 800-meter relay team that finished 14th at state last year.

Peters, McDonald and Butler all ran on Middleton’s 1,600-meter relay team that finished 13th at state.

“Our senior class was small but talented,” Schweitzer said. “Gabbi Butler won the 400-meter last year (at conference), and it would be tough competition this year. But I think it would have been her race to lose.

“Gabbi would also get points in the 200-meter and then we were looking at see if she could do 800-meter races as well. She could have anchored the 1,600-meter relay at that meet, too. She is a tough girl and I was really looking forward to seeing her improve from a great junior year.”

Among the Cardinals’ other seniors, Schweitzer felt hurdler Emma Kostecki was ready for a big year.

“Emma Kostecki was another senior I was really looking forward to seeing progress this year,” Schweitzer said. “She is a great personality and a positive kid. She ran both hurdle events, and each year got better and better. I thought this year she would be able to get some points for us and surprise even herself a little.”

Schwietzer felt seniors Natalie McLain (100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, 400-meter relay, 800-meter relay), Georgia Elliott (pole vault) and Margo Motiashova (jumps) were all ready for big years, as well.

“I felt we had a great chance to send a lot of kids to the state meet,” Schweitzer said. “I think we would have a good strong chance at getting all four relays to state and once you’re there anything can happen. That is pretty unique accomplishment that we've only been able to do a few years.”

While Schweitzer and the Cardinals certainly understand the bigger picture regarding COVID-19, that didn't make losing the year any easier.

“This team was and is really strong,” Schweitzer said. “We have a strong senior class that I thought would have a good shot at winning conference. More than missing the competition, though, I miss the opportunity to see the kids, and watch them grow over the season.

“They always impress me with their positive attitudes, humor and teamwork. This program is really strong, built up over years and I am always amazed each year at the awesome group of kids we get to work with.”



Seniors: Chloe Balster, Gabbi Butler, Sophia De Oliveira, Georgia Elliott, Almanique Hester, Lexi Hillebrand, Julie Jones, Maggie Kane, Emma Kostecki, Lillian Mckee, Natalie McLain, Margo Motiashova, Sitori Tanin, Ashleigh Tischer.

Juniors: Bella Chirafisi, Ava Clark, Kobi Davis, Jordan Dettmann, Malia Faessler, Leona Frinzi, Molly Gaab, Maria Go, Lauren Halterman, Faranak Hematti, TayTay Jackson, McKenzie Johns, Genevieve Kubsh, Kiara Malloy-Salgado, Brielle McDonald, Lily Noak, Kenzie Nickels, America Perez-Wilson, Kaitlyn Peters, Sophia Peters-Michaud, Isabel Prohaska, Rithika Puli, Rionne Rivera, Jasmine Singh, Rhiannon Teschner, Allison Thomley, Olivia Wissink.

Sophomores: Natalie Ahn, Margaret Aiyenero, Emma Baize, Maria Batchenkova, Katy Bouril, Isabelle Gamer, Abby Gessler, Serena Haack, Molly Haag, Cheyenne Halverson, Julia Healy, Mary Beth Johnson, Tayva Johnson, Elaina Jones, Molly Keebler, Mia Kim, Madison LaCrosse, Mia LaRico, Kalea Long, Emily Lynch, Maeve McGinley, Brooke Mendenhall, Lila Mihal, Amalia Morner, Cate Ohly, Lauren Pansegrau, Gisella Peters, Midlyne Pritts, Brooke Rhodes, Maddie Ruszkiewicz, Laney Seffrood, Lindsey Smith, Lorna Smithberger, Azaria Spencer, Julia Torresani, Emily Tsipis, Abby Utter, Megg Weiler, Abby White, Sami Whiteis, Nancy Williams, Ryanne Woodall, Addy Ystenes, Polina Zvereva.

Freshmen: Tanmayi Addanki, Sophia Agapov, Jamila Akbar, Maddy Ancheta, Adalie Balster, Kyra Batley, Baila Becker, Sydney Blindt, Emily Bohl, Jessica Bristol, Kielley Corbett, Sara Cushman, Madeleine Dart, Lilly Erickson,  Amelia Frautchi, Megan Fritz, Sophia Gibson, Shradha Godishala, Varsha Gouraram, Katie Hoerres, Carlee Hull, Rachel Jasinski, Sophia Jorgensen, Greta Jungbluth, Olivia LaCour, Gloria Lee, Emily Leys, Jennifer Lopez-Osorio, Zaira Malloy-Salgado, Marlee Mladucky, Sarah Mounajjed, Eunice Ndoyi, Yasmin Paiva, Sierra Pertzborn, Hannah Poehling, Sarah Ralphe, Leila Redzepagic, Alaina Riley, Jazhara Roberts, Sarah Robertson-Hoyt, Elle Seager, Gracie Sellers, Ariya Shah, Mackenzie Sloan, Ellierose Smith, Lillian Steen, Madilyn Vander Sanden, Andrea Villalobos, Claire Wallsch-Drury, Abigail Whitson, Emma Wilson, Sofia Wordinger, Sara Zahn


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