Suring’s Mitchell Stegeman wins D3 boys pole vault title

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Oconto Falls, Gillett athletes also earn strong finishes
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Suring’s Mitchell Stegeman clears 14 feet to win the Division 3 boys pole vault title at the 2019 State Track and Field Championships on Saturday. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)


Gillett’s Aubrey DeBauch, right, clears a hurdle in the 300-meter hurdle finals during the 2019 State Track and Field Championships on Saturday. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)


Gillett’s Bo Krueger competes in the discus during the 2019 State Track and Field Championships on Saturday. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)


Oconto Falls’ Kari Albrecht, right, competes in the 100-meter hurdle prelims during the 2019 State Track and Field Championships on Friday. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)


Gillett’s Derek Hanson, left, runs the 1,600-meter during the 2019 State Track and Field Championships on Saturday. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)


Gillett’s Sylvia Hansen runs the 1,600-meter during the 2019 State Track and Field Championships on Friday. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)


Suring's Mitchell Stegeman came in fifth in the high jump after clearing 6-2. (Times Herald photo by Morgan Rode)

Suring High School senior Mitchell Stegeman cleared 14 feet on his third and final attempt to win the Division 3 boys pole vault at the 2019 State Track and Field Championships at Veterans Memorial Stadium in La Crosse on Saturday.

Not only did Stegeman win the state title, but also made history in the process, becoming the school’s first pole vaulter to win a state title.

“I am super excited to have placed first. It was a goal of mine ever since I started vaulting in sixth grade,” Stegeman said. “Freshman and sophomore year, I was the top Division 3 vaulter in my grade. Last year was a little disappointing because I didn’t go up any, but this year was just a dream come true.”

Stegeman became the ninth Suring boy to win a state title and first since 2002.

Stegeman also competed in the high jump and 300-meter hurdle competitions.

He came in fifth in the high jump on Saturday after clearing 6-2.

Stegeman said the high jump competition was frustrating. The officials skipped a height and then let a competitor take an extra jump, which forced the high jumpers back into action after the event had wrapped up.

Stegeman had been sitting in fourth place before the athletes had to re-jump, and was eventually bumped to fifth place.

On Friday, Stegeman posted a time of 41.45 seconds in the 300 hurdle prelims to place eighth and qualify for the finals.

The finals were run Saturday, where Stegeman earned a time of 41.19 to take seventh.

“Placing in high jump was a bit of a surprise because I didn’t place top four in the sectional. I tied my best of 6-2, which was my goal going in, and was very pleased with my place,” Stegeman said. “The 300 hurdles were kind of an afterthought after the excitement of the pole vault, but I still ran a tenth of a second off my best.”

The only Eagle competing, Stegeman earned 16 points for Suring — good enough to tie for 11th of the Division 3 boys teams.

Oconto Falls junior Kari Albrecht competed in the Division 2 100 hurdle competition.

Albrecht ran to an eighth-place finish in 16.57 seconds on Friday, which qualified her for Saturday’s final.

The junior shaved 0.2 seconds (16.37) off her prelim time, but had to settle for eighth in the finals.

“It’s a great feeling. Just being here, the atmosphere is amazing,” Albrecht said. “But my finals run, it wasn’t my best — I tripped up on a hurdle and I could have done better. But it was still awesome to just be here.

“It’s crazy, even to be in the top 10. I can’t even put it into words. So many other hurdlers want to be here and I’m here.”

Lodi’s Mackenzie Heyroth came in first in the event, shattering the state record of 14.64 with a 14.36 in the finals.

Each of Gillett’s four state qualifiers ended up competing in the finals of their respective events in Division 3.

Junior Bo Krueger hoped to make the podium and improve his distance in the discus. He accomplished both of those goals.

Krueger qualified for the finals and ending up taking sixth after a top throw of 146-7.

“It made me feel pretty good,” Krueger said. “It wasn’t as far as I wanted to throw but it was still pretty good compared to what these guys were throwing.”

The only non-senior ahead of Krueger was the top finisher — Elkhart Lake Glenbeulah’s Finn Shields (176-0).

Sophomore Aubrey DeBauch also landed on the podium for the Tigers.

DeBauch finished sixth in the 300 hurdle prelims with a time of 48.22 to qualify for Saturday’s final, where she trimmed her time to 47.85 to place sixth.

“I’m glad, I met my goal of getting on the podium this year,” DeBauch said. “I took a stumble over the second or third hurdle but I caught myself and didn’t wipe out. So my time wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be but I’m still proud I met one of my goals.”

Sophomore Sylvia Hansen ran in the 1,600 on Friday, before taking part in the 3,200 Saturday.

Hansen placed seventh in the 1,600 with a time of 5:18.74. She ran the 3,200 in 12:02.95, which was good for 11th.

“Both of my races this weekend were ran out of pure motivation, strength and faith,” Hansen said. “So when I think about it, I would assess my races as simply amazing knowing that I laid everything out on the line with what I had — because at the end of the day, that’s what matters.”

Sophomore Derek Hanson ran the 1,600 on Saturday. He earned a 10th-place finish after finishing in 4:38.3.

Of the boys placing in front of him, seven were seniors.

“First of all, I got out without tripping, which is a plus,” Hanson said with a chuckle. “This year, it was kind of tough because I kept getting boxed in and then slowed down a little bit which kind of pulled apart the race a little bit. But I think I handled it okay, but it wasn’t the best race of my life.”

All four Gillett athletes expressed optimism of what the state experience did for them and hoped it would fuel them to keep improving their finishes in the coming years.

For full state results, visit www.wiaawi.org/Sports/Spring/Girls-Track-Field/Tournament.