8 Whippets heading to State Track and Field Competition

Photos by Bob Mischka

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From Coach Houwer:

The Whippet track and field teams will be sending 8 people to compete in LaCrosse next Friday and Saturday.

Miranda Reynolds will be the lone female representative, returning to the bluffs of LaCrosse to take another go at the high jump. She clutched up to clear 5′ on her third attempt when a miss would have ended her season. She then went on to clear 5′ 1″ and take second at sectionals last night.

The boys will be led by junior Sashi Popke. Sashi qualified in all 4 of his events. That feat has only been done 1 other time in school history, by Chad Simes in 2001. He won the pole vault and the long jump last night and ran on the 4×100 and 4×200 relays that qualified.

The 4×100 meter relay team of Will Leibbrand, Tyler Sheffield, Sashi Popke and Jack Mayer will go into the state meet seeded third after running a school record time last night of 43.54. Jared Clapper and Tyler Pavlik will join those 4 on the trip, ready to step in should their services be needed. It will be an exciting race in LaCrosse, with a number of other teams within a few tenths of a second.

The same four individuals sit one spot better entering the state competition in the 4×200 meter relay, seeded second, just 15 hundredths of a second out of the top seed. They ran the second fastest relay in school history with a 1:30.89 and look to improve upon that with hopefully two more races in LaCrosse. Juan Cuellar and Tyler Pavlik will serve as the alternates for this relay and gain valuable experience for the next two years.

There were a few close calls last night as well, where Whippets, unfortunately, found themselves on the outside looking in. Abby Grosinkse finished 5th in the shot put, just 2 inches out of a qualifying spot.

Even closer was the boys 4×400 relay of Tyler Sheffield, Juan Cuellar, Ignacio Cuevas, and Jacob Korf. They finished their race in the fast heat in 4th place, just 2 hundredths of a second out of third. Thinking they had secured a spot in the state meet, they began to celebrate only to find out they were beaten by one team in the first heat. That meant their 4th place finish was actually 5th, and they were just 2 hundredths of a second out of the final spot. Fighting all the way through the line, Jacob Korf was passed with about 15 meters left. The runner, believing he was ahead, let up a little and Jacob just missed passing him back. He kept fighting to the finish and needed only another step or two to take the spot back. It was an exciting, emotional race. And one where all 4 guys ran their best races of the season. I’m sure it’s a race they will remember for a long time.

The state competition festivities will kick off with Miranda jumping at 3:00 pm on Friday, June 1, followed shortly thereafter by Sashi in the vault at 3:15 pm. Both relays will have prelims on Friday and with a top ten finish, compete in finals on Saturday, June 2. Sashi will also compete in the long jump on Saturday. It will be an exciting time in LaCrosse.

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