WIAA D2 track roundup: MBC athletes compete at state
LA CROSSE -- Even though Westy Bartsch had not thrown a shot put farther than 47 feet during spring meets, his goal was to throw a shot put past the 48-foot mark.
Bartsch put all of his mechanics together and let his third shot put throw fly 49 feet, one-quarter inch Saturday, June 3 at the WIAA Division 2 state track meet in La Crosse. The junior finished in eighth place. Columbus senior Josh Seltzner took first place with a throw of 59-1½.
"Two days earlier in practice, I threw a 50-footer," Bartsch said, "So at the state competition when I got to that third throw only having marked around a 46, I was almost a little mad at myself because I knew I could throw much better."
Bartsch and coach Carl Calabrese knew he was capable of throwing farther than his initial 46-foot throws based on a practice session on their way to La Crosse Thursday.
"On our way down to the state meet Thursday we stopped for practice and we measured a throw of his at mid 48 feet, so we knew he was ready to throw big in competition," Calabrese said.
It was his third of five throws that set his person record. Calabrese said it was a direct result of adjustments made between sectionals and the state competition.
"During sectionals, we noticed a mistake Westy had been making with his footwork, so we made a tweak to that," Calabrese said. "That change allowed him to open up his hips and finish through the throw. We also knew the throwing circle in La Crosse was much smoother and faster than any circle we had thrown in all year, so we practiced a lot on a smoother surface so Westy could get used to that."
Added Bartsch: "The most important aspect was getting my hips under me and powering up and out through my legs and hips."
Adjustsments like these are what make Calabrese enjoy working with Bartsch.
"Westy is the kind of athlete every coach would love to work with," Calabrese said. "He's got talent, but he also works extremely hard to improve. He's very smart and can make any adjustment he's asked to make."
Familiarity for MBC athletes in the 800-meter run
Prescott and Ellsworth each sent their top 800-meter girls runners to state.
Senior Sam Ritter represented the Cardinals and junior Julia VanWatermeulen represented the Panthers at the WIAA Division 2 state track meet in Memorial Stadium at UW-La Crosse Friday, June 2, and Saturday, June 3.
Prescott also sent an 800-meter boys runner, Cody Hauenstein, who took 12th place in the race with a time of 2:01.56.
VanWatermeulen took seventh place in her heat with a time of 2 minutes, 25.58 seconds. Ritter finished right behind VanWatermeulen with a time of 2:29.42.
Both runners have traded spots in races over the course of the season. VanWatermeulen won the Middle Border Conference meet. Ritter took the regionals and sectionals.
“I see her and I know that our times are usually pretty close, so it helps me stay on pace,” Ritter said. “It’s also another motivation. I know how (VanWatermeulen) is usually going to finish and she’s pretty good, so I want to stay in front of her.”