Track and field: Cardinals conclude indoor season on high note
It may have reached 55 degrees in Western Wisconsin on Saturday, March 23, but the Prescott Cardinals’ track and field teams were confined to the indoor facilities of the University of Wisconsin-Stout Johnson Fieldhouse.
However, the Cardinals’ indoor restrictions didn’t hold them back at the Northern Badger Indoor Classic.
Prescott’s head coach Emily Calabrese said she was thrilled with how her teams competed on Saturday, especially after the grueling week of practice the sprinters went through.
“We had a really tough week of practice on the sprinter side, so I knew our times would be slower than they had been on Tuesday,” Calabrese said. “I keep reminding our kids that we are training through these first few meets and don't expect them to come out and set personal records across the board.
“We also didn't put our top athletes in all of their events, which made it even neater to be able to win such a large meet with the team we put together. I told our kids all day long, ‘Just go out and compete. Race,’ and that's exactly what they did.”
The Cardinal girls locked up a first-place finish at the 27-team small team division meet after edging out the Spencer Rockets by six points, and their meet win came down to the final event of the afternoon.
Prior to the girls’ 4x400-meter relay, the Cardinals trailed the Rockets by four points, but Abby Syverson, Megan Gilles, Jessie Urman and Tori Benck’s first-place finish in the relay gave Prescott the 10 points it needed to claim 47 total team points on the day, compared to Spencer’s 41.
Third-leg runner Urman regave the Cardinals the lead after her first lap around the 200-meter track, and anchor Benck solidified her team’s win by crossing the finish line 1.45 seconds before St. Charles’ final runner.
Syverson, Gilles and Benck had all earned team points for the Cardinals earlier in the day. Syverson ran a 7.73-second 55-meter dash to win the event and give Prescott 10 team points. Fellow sophomore Grace Carlson came in .07 seconds behind Syverson to earn a second-place finish and eight team points for the Cardinals.
Syverson broke the Cardinals’ 55-meter dash school record at Thursday’s meet, and Carlson’s time on Saturday also beat out the previous record.
Sophomore Benck became the second Cardinal to win an event on Saturday after she ran her open 400-meter race in one minute, 3.6 seconds, and Gilles took seventh in the 55-meter hurdles after completing the dash in 9.62 seconds in the finals, which earned her a new school record in the indoor hurdle event.
All above-mentioned athletes competed at the WIAA Division 2 State Track and Field meet in La Crosse last season, but they’re sticking to this year’s motto before they rush to June.
“It's looking like it'll be a good season for these girls,” Calabrese said. “However, our motto of the season is ‘Nothing is promised’. I keep reminding these girls that they need to work harder than ever to get back to La Crosse. We are in a new regional, there are new girls to compete with and our sectional is going to get faster.”
The Cardinals also earned two points from two of their distance runners, Allie Murphy and Amanda Auleciems.
Despite having few opportunities to build up their endurance outside, Murphy and Auleciems both took eighth place in their distance events. Senior Murphy ran a 2:47.64 800-meter run, while freshman Auleciems completed her 16-lap indoor 3,200-meter run in 14:12.10.
The distance runners have been running the hallways of Prescott High School to train while waiting for warmer weather, and Murphy has split her time between speed workouts with the sprinters and building endurance with the distance runners.
“I think that’s something that will help Allie a lot in the long run,” Calabrese said.
Jada Iberg has also had to get creative practicing for pole vault while waiting for the snow to melt, but that didn’t stop the Prescott senior from earning a fourth-place finish in her chosen field event. Iberg cleared a height of eight feet, six inches on Saturday to land a fourth-place finish and five team points for the Cardinals.
The Cardinal boys finished in 15th place out of 22 small division teams with nine team points, all of which came from three athletes.
Junior Wyatt Holum earned the boys’ highest finish by taking fourth in the high jump. Holum cleared 6-00 — the height he won the event at Thursday’s UW-Stout meet with — but was unable to get over the bar when raised two more inches.
“Wyatt is battling a knee injury right now that has held him back from a lot of his training, so we are impressed that he is still able to jump as high as he has been,” Calabrese said. “We look forward to getting him back to full strength where he can help the team in other areas as well.”
Junior Tristan Winkler and freshman Josh Gergen both took seventh place in their very different races to earn two points apiece for the Cardinals.
Gergen earned two points for the Cardinals in the 200-meter dash after completing one lap around the indoor track in 24.84 seconds.
“Josh is a very talented, young athlete,” Calabrese said. “I am really excited to see what he can do this year and in his future years.”
Gergen was the highest-placing freshman at the Thursday, March 21, Blue Devil Invite in both the 55- and 200-meter dashes.
“He pays attention to the small things, watches results and is one of the most coachable athletes I have met,” Calabrese said. “He's a kid who wants to do everything right. It bothers him when he doesn't perform as well as he expects — all of these characteristics are going to set Josh up for a really successful track career.”
Winkler finished seventh in the 3,200-meter run and led his opponents for the first four laps of the race.
The Marathon Raiders won the boys’ meet with 80 team points.
The Cardinals are scheduled to begin their outdoor season on Tuesday, April 4, at the four-team meet hosted by Cochrane-Fountain City High School.
GIRLS’ TOP-EIGHT FINISHERS:
55-meter dash: 1. Syverson (So., 7.73) 2. Carlson (So., 7.80)
400: 1. Benck (So., 1:03.66)
800: 8. Murphy (Sr., 2:47.64)
3,200: 8. Auleciems (Fr., 14:12.10)
55-meter hurdles: 7. Gilles (Jr., 9.62)
4x400-meter relay: 1. Prescott (Syverson, Gilles, Urman, Benck; 4:34.69)
Pole vault: 4. Iberg (Sr., 8-06)
BOYS’ TOP-EIGHT FINISHERS:
200: 7. Gergen (Fr., 24.84)
3,200: 7. Winkler (Jr., 12:00.02)
High jump: 4. Holum (Jr., 6-00)