Davis and Pansegrau lead girls to state

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Dennis Semrau/Special to the Times-Tribune
Middleton’s Kobi Davis qualified for state in the shot put and the discus./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Kobi Davis was the sole Middleton girls athlete to win an individual title at the Madison Memorial Sectional track and field meet at Mansfield Stadium on June 17.

The senior thrower will have plenty of company, though, when the Cardinals compete at the WIAA Division 1 state track and field championships this weekend.

That includes sophomore Madilyn Vander Sanden, who helped Middleton sweep the top two places in the shot put competition. The duo will be making their state meet debuts. Davis also qualified in the discus with a runner-up finish in the event at sectionals.

“I’m so happy,” said Davis, who remained unbeaten in the shot put this season with a winning mark of 39 feet, 10.25 inches that she recorded on her third throw in prelims. “I hoped throughout the entire season Maddie would make it, and she did. I’m so proud of her. I’m really glad she’s coming with me.”

Vander Sanden, who placed second with a throw of 33-11, said competing with Davis can be intimidating, but in a positive way.

“Competing is really fun because she pushes me to throw farther,” Vander Sanden said of Davis. “Before regionals, I was looking at the stats from other schools I’d be going up against and that got my jitters going. But now that I’m here, I’m a lot more controlled.”

The top three individuals in each event advanced to the Division 1 state meet Saturday at UW-La Crosse’s Veterans Memorial Stadium. The Division 3 meet will be Thursday and the Division 2 and wheelchair competition will be Friday in La Crosse.

Waunakee won the sectional meet championship with 101 points, just ahead of runner-up Middleton — which qualified eight individuals and two relays for state — with 92 points. DeForest was third with 77.

Middleton coach Jay Schweitzer said he wasn’t surprised that both Davis, who is seeded sixth, and Vander Sanden, who is seeded 18th, will be competing in the shot put on the big stage in La Crosse.

“Kobi is like on repeat, and Madilyn keeps getting better and better. She’s done so well,” Schweitzer said. “Kobi continues her awesome run in the shot. She’s so close to that 40 (foot) mark where we really want to get her. She’s throwing well. She’s feeling good. And it’s really fun to watch.

“Maddie, too, is doing well getting second. That’s incredible. It was a really great throw for her. I’m excited to see at least three more throws out of them, and the discus, too, for Kobi. But the shot, I can’t wait to watch. It will be really fun.”

Davis will also make her state debut in the discus after finishing second at sectionals with a toss of 116-7.  Davis trailed only DeForest junior Miranda Manghera, who won the event with a mark of 117-4.

“Kobi got us 18 points, just another incredible night for Kobi,” Schweitzer said. “What a great senior year for her. She’s been a hard worker since her freshman year. I’m very happy for her.”

Davis said qualifying for state in both throwing events has been a goal since her freshman season.

“It’s really cool because I’ve never gone before,” Davis said. “It’s a real competitive region and a real competitive section historically. So this is a dream come true.

“I try not to focus on how anybody else is throwing. I just try to compete against myself and keep improving. The competition will be there. When I’m competing, I’m in a zone, it’s just me.”

Also in a zone were Middleton’s distance runners, who qualified for state in the 3,200-meter relay as well as the 1,600 and 3,200 runs.

The Cardinals opened the meet with a runner-up finish in the 3,200 relay. The quartet of seniors Kaitlyn Peters and Bella Chirafisi, junior Lauren Pansegrau and senior Brielle McDonald posted a time of 9 minutes, 45.31 seconds, trailing only first-place finisher Onalaska (9:33.89).

“They ran really well. They ran a smart and strong race,” Schweitzer said. “Kaitlyn had an excellent time, she ran a 2:20 split for us.

“Bella, we hadn’t seen run due to an injury, but she was able to run really, really well. It was great to see her race. All four of them ran well. Obviously, getting second and qualifying for state, I couldn’t ask for more.”

Pansegrau, who won the alternate fall season individual cross country state championship title, then placed second in both the 1,600 (5:14.22) and the 3,200 (11:15.66).

“To do the big three, including the 800 in the relay, and the 1,600 and 3,200 is just incredible,” Schweitzer said. “There are very few kids who can pull that off, and Lauren definitely did that today. She’s running well. It’s always a pleasure to get to see her race.”

Also qualifying for state in the 3,200 for the Cardinals was sophomore Zaira Malloy-Salgado (11:20.20).

“I’m real excited that we get to go together,” Pansegrau said. “Zaira’s been working real hard. I’m proud of her and of how much she’s improved this season. Tonight, it was just about getting one of the top three places, and we did that.”

Schweitzer said Zaira Malloy-Salgado continued her breakout season on the track.

“She had a great race,” Schweitzer said. “Her last two laps were just outstanding. She was sprinting. She had a lot left in the tank there and was able to finish strong.”

Zaira Malloy-Salgado said Pansegrau’s influence on and off the track has led to her own success.

“It’s so much fun having Lauren with me because she’s an upperclassman,” Malloy-Salgado said. “I feel like I have someone who helps get me through the warmup drills and the time of everything. It really helps grounding me and keeping me calm to have Lauren with me.”

Malloy-Salgado said while attempting a distance double at state this year — when the Division 1 meet will be held all in one day — will be difficult, she believes Pansegrau can get it done.

“It’s going to be tough for her, but she can handle it,” Malloy-Salgado said. “She’s so strong. She did the state cross country meet and then ran at the Palatine meet on the same day. There is no doubt in my mind she will be amazing in both runs.”

It will be a family affair at state for the Cardinals with senior Kiara Malloy-Salgado, Zaira’s older sister, qualifying for state with a third-place finish in the 300 low hurdles (:48.26).

Kiara Malloy-Salgado also qualified as a member of Middleton’s third-place 1,600-meter relay that included senior Kenzie Nickels, McDonald and Peters and posted a time of 4:06.03.

“What an exciting race,” Schweitzer said of the 1,600 relay. “It was like out of a movie. The rain started coming down and it comes down to the last leg and Kaitlyn (Peters) was able to gut it out and we get third to get those girls to state. It was awesome.” 

Schweitzer was also impressed with Kiara Malloy-Salgado’s overall performance.

“She was third in the 300 low hurdles, and she ran a great race. In the four-by-four, she’s our third leg and has been a key contributor all season,” Schweitzer said Kiara Malloy-Salgado. “She does everything from 100 hurdles to the 800 so we’ve had her in a variety of things which can be difficult for an athlete.

“But she’s just had a great attitude all season. She’s worked so hard. We’ve really been training her for the 300 (hurdles), and I’m so happy and satisfied for her.”

Rounding out Middleton’s state qualifiers was Nickels, who placed third in the 200 (:27.15).

“Kenzie didn’t come out quite as clean as she wanted in the 200. But in the last 100, she fought through a real strong headwind and gutted it out,” Schweitzer said of Nickels.  “Today, you didn’t care about times, you just wanted to place and get to state, and she was able to do that.”

Others competing for Middleton included:

• The fourth-place 800 relay of Peters, McDonald, senior Molly Gaab and Nickels (1:50.03).

• Senior Allison Thomley, who was fifth (5-0), and sophomore Sierra Pertzborn, who was seventh (4-10), in the high jump.

• Sophomore Elle Senger, who was fifth in the 100-meter high hurdles (:17.71).

• Freshman Tait Haag, who was sixth in the 3,200 (5:31.98).

“This is a stressful meet, but the girls performed amazingly,” Schweitzer said. “I’m very happy with the group. There’s not as many as I wanted to get to state, but it’s definitely a good, solid crew going to state, and I’m happy for those girls that competed today.”



Madison Memorial Sectional

Note: In Division 1, the top three finishers in each event automatically advance to state. Also, individuals and relay teams who are not automatic qualifiers, but whose performances rank among the eight best in all sectionals in their division, advance.



Team scores: Waunakee 101; Middleton 92; DeForest 77; Onalaska 77; Madison Memorial 67; Reedsburg 56; Monona Grove 45; Holmen 40; Sauk Prairie 35; Verona 34; Baraboo 29; Tomah 24; La Crosse Central 11; Madison West 8; Sparta 3.

Automatic qualifiers

100 meters: 1, Wepking, V, :13.02; 2, Grigg, W, :13.07; 3, Bailey, V, :13.08.

200: 1, Hogan, MG, :26.48; Stanek, R, :27.05; 3, Kenzie Nickels, Mid, :27.15.

400: 1, Bova, W, :57.05; 2, Larsen, W, :58.02; 3, Hogan, MG, :59.34.

800: 1, Malecek, Onalaska, 2:13.56; 2, Gruner, B, 2:20.81; 3, Nelson, MG, 2:20.81.

1,600: 1, Malecek, Onalaska, 5:12.24; 2, Lauren Pansegrau, Mid, 5:14.22; 3, Rhodes, MM, 5:21.03.

3,200: 1, Malecek, Onalaska, 11:06.16; 2, Lauren Pansegrau, Mid, 11:15.66; 3, Zaira Malloy-Salgado, Mid, 11:20.20.

100 hurdles: 1, Hogan, MG, :15.39; 2, Ashworth, MM, :15.47; 3, Szepieniec, D, :15.56.

300 hurdles: 1, Szepieniec, D, :46.50; 2, Kipkoskei, D, :47.94; 3, Kiara Malloy-Salgado, Mid, :48.26.

400 relay: 1, Madison Memorial, :51.06; 2, Verona, :51.06; 3, Waunakee, :51.87.

800 relay: 1, Madison Memorial, 1:46.83; 2, DeForest, 1:47.13; 3, Onalaska, 1:48.58.

1,600 relay: 1, Waunakee, 4:00.92; 2, Onalaska, 4:02.54; 3, Middleton (Kenzie Nickels, Brielle McDonald, Kiara Malloy-Salgado, Kaitlyn Peters), 4:06.03.

3,200 relay: 1, Onalaska, 9:33.89; 2, Middleton (Kaitlyn Peters, Bella Chirafisi, Lauren Pansegrau, Brielle McDonald), 9:45.31; 3, Waunakee, 10:00.42.

High jump: 1, Saleh, W, 5-6; 2, Campbell, R, 5-2; 3, Gruner, B, 5-2.

Pole vault: 1, Jenks-Recker, MG, 11-6; 2, Sweet, MM, 10-9; 3, Snow, D, 10-6.

Long jump: 1, Sandeman, SP, 18-6½; 2, Bova, Wau, 17-7; 3, Saleh, Wau, 17-0¾.

Triple jump: 1, Szepieniec, D, 37-04; 2, Sandeman, SP, 36-07¼; 3, Larsen, W, 35-2.

Shot put: 1, Kobi Davis, Mid, 39-10¼; 2, Madilyn Vander Sanden, Mid, 33-11; 3, Hahn, D, 32-5½.

Discus: 1, Manghera, D, 117-4; 2, Kobi Davis, Mid, 116-7; 3, Baumgarn, Holmen, 109-7.


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