High School Track & Field: Gillett hoping for another strong spring

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Suring, Lena/STAA individuals eyeing state
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Gillett’s Bo Krueger competes in the discus at the state track meet last spring. Krueger is one of four 2018 state-qualifiers back for the Tigers. (Times Herald file photo)

Despite rostering just one senior, the Gillett High School track and field team enters the 2019 season with big aspirations coming off a strong 2018 state meet.

The Tigers — coached by Bill DeJung — return each of their four state-qualifiers.

Sophomore Sylvia Hansen leads the girls team after a pair of top-five state finishes in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs.

“After having such a strong ending to my freshman track season, I have definitely set high goals for myself to match and to build off of — not just this year, but for the years to come,” Hansen said. “This includes trying to take a state title again and trying to better my times as much as possible.”

Sophomore Aubrey DeBauch will be looking to build upon her seventh-place state finish in the 300 hurdles. She will also compete in jumps.

Junior Bo Krueger and sophomore Derek Hanson were at state for the boys, competing in the discus and 1,600, respectively.

With state experience, both athletes head into the season with new goals and tips to improve their finishes.

“My goal this year is to make it to state again and try beating my school record. I need to focus and not get distracted,” Krueger said. “I need to work harder on throwing and fix every little detail on my form.”

Along with competing in throws, Krueger also will take part in sprints. Hanson is strictly a distance runner.

Also returning for the boys is senior Adam Anderson (mid-distance) and sophomores Riley Engebretson (distance), Andy Lemens (sprints) and Brandon Rogers (sprints).

Junior throwers Grace Wickman and Val VandeCorput and sophomore thrower Karissa Schaal bring back experience for the girls.

Suring

Coming off a first-place finish in the Marinette & Oconto Conference, the Suring boys will need to find a few new impactful athletes with roster numbers down a bit. On the girls side, numbers are up and has several upperclassmen to look to.

Senior Mitch Stegeman leads the boys after qualifying for state in the pole vault and 300 hurdles.

As the season gets started, Stegeman hopes his teammates can follow his approach.

“As for preparation, I would for sure say practice as much as you can on techniques,” said Stegeman, who mentioned he wants to reach state in four events. “Also when it comes to meets, especially regionals and sectionals, you have to stay focused on just doing your best. Other athletes are going to compete at their best and if they are doing well, don’t let that distract you. Just focus on you.”

Also returning experience is senior Jeffrey Miller, a sectional qualifier as a member of two relays and individually in the discus. Senior Reece Garrigan (throws) and junior Logan Stuart (throws and relays) are also back.

For the girls, senior Linzy Runge qualified for sectionals in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles, while sophomore Kylee Stelzer qualified in the 400.

Senior Arianna Sepulveda will lead the throwers, while senior Wylee Van Bellinger helps the team’s jumpers and sprinters.

Lena/STAA

First-year coach Fritz Weidner sees a few potential state-qualifiers on this year’s Lena/St. Thomas Aquinas Academy co-op and is excited to get the season going.

Senior Desirae Hurning was a sectional qualifier in the 100 last year, while also helping anchor the 4x100 relay team. Hurning, who will also compete in the pole vault, knows she will be looked to as a leader.

“As for what I plan to do to help the new team members, I want to do what I can to encourage them and pass down what I’ve learned from others before me,” Hurning said. “I also hope to be a good role model for them.”

Sophomore Kennedy Marquardt (200, 400, long jump) and junior Alexis Misco (400, 800, triple jump) were also sectional qualifiers last season.

The boys did not have any sectional qualifiers.

Juniors Trenton Telford (sprints, triple jump) and Alex Decoursin (sprints, pole vault) and sophomore Frank DesJarlais (throws) return with experience and hope to make postseason runs this spring.

Gillett, Suring and Lena/STAA will all compete in the M&O Championship on May 10 at Suring High School. All three teams are also in the Oconto Regional on May 20, with qualifiers advancing to the Marathon Sectional on May 23.

The state meet will be held May 31 and June 1 at Veterans Memorial Stadium in La Crosse.