Whippets aim to leave mark
As far as Whitewater High, East Troy, Milton, Fort Atkinson and Jefferson are concerned, Southern Lakes track and field competition may be saving its best for last.
Those schools head to new venues next fall in area realignment, and Tuesday’s co-ed conference meet at Fort Atkinson is the last chance for their track and field athletes to leave a mark on the Southern Lakes. And it figures to be quite a show, Whitewater coach Mark Maas says.
“I think it’s going to be the most competitive Southern Lakes track meet in a long time,’’ he said of the 4:30 p.m. event.
Whitewater aims to close out its 55-year run as a Southern Lakes member with another banner showing. The Whippets are looking for their 12th boys championship in 15 years and 15th straight girls title.
Although both Whitewater teams won the Southern Lakes Relays in April, Maas doesn’t see the final leg coming easily.
“It’s going to be an eye-opening dog fight,’’ the Whippets’ coach said, with no pun intended. “Milton boys are going to be very tough again, and I know the East Troy girls want to win this meet badly.’’
What’s more, the East Troy girls are led by one of the state’s premier athletes in senior Becca Buchholtz. The Michigan State University track and field recruit won the conference last year in the long jump and triple jump, finished second in the high jump, then captured WIAA Division 2 state titles in the high jump and triple jump.
East Troy’s girls also return conference champions Brooksie Loth in the 100-meter dash and Karissa Kadow in the discus. Fort Atkinson brings back Michaela Magsaman, last year’s champion in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200, and Milton returns shot put champion Tasha Randall.
As always, the relays figure to be strengths for the Whitewater girls. The Whippets also have one of the top sprinters and jumpers in senior Chelsea Heil.
Heil ranks 11th on the state honor roll in the long jump with a distance of 17 feet, 6.5 inches, and Buchholtz is tied for the second in the high jump at 5-8.
Grant Bughman, another of the state’s premier athletes, won Southern Lakes boys championships last season in the 100, 200 and 400, but the senior standout isn’t expected to run those events Tuesday. Instead, he is listed for the high and intermediate hurdles, where he placed second and third in the state last year.
Whitewater’s boys also bring back defending 800-meter champion Jeff Luther, who is recovering from a hamstring injury, and defending pole vault titlist Mitch Fiedler. Other returning boys conference champions are Elkhorn’s Alex Lockwood in the high jump and Jefferson’s Tyler Mueller, the 2007 Division 2 state runner-up in the triple jump.
Milton junior Ethan Bachinski returns after winning the conference discus title and placing second in the shot put last season, but a shoulder injury will keep him out of those events. However, his speed is expected to be a major factor, particularly in the 400 relay, along with the 100-meter dash and 800 relay.