High hopes for Janesville athletes at state track meet
Judging by seeding and qualifying times, it could mean a few trips to the podium.
Led by defending Division 1 girls high jump champion Shelby Demos of Parker High, a number of Janesville athletes and relay teams could crack the top six.
“It’s the state track meet. That’s is all that needs to be said,” Janesville Craig boys coach Jeff Deininger said. “It’s where people have their best performances, and that’s what we’re expecting from our kids.
“And for JoJo (Pregont), who has been there before, he certainly is more than capable of scoring points and earning a medal.”
Pregont, a senior who will attend the University of Iowa in the fall as a preferred walk-on in football, qualified in two events. He won the sectional high jump title by clearing 6-4 and was third in the triple jump with a distance of 42-7.
“If you’ve ever watched JoJo compete, whether it’s in football, basketball or track, you know that the bigger the stage, the better he performs,” Deininger said. “And there’s nothing bigger than the state track meet.”
The Cougar boys also will be represented by the 3,200-meter relay team of seniors Ryan Ahrens and Matt McDonald, junior Matt Bordwell and freshman Tommy Meister. The relay team qualified for state with a time of 8:12.82, while Hartland Arrowhead enters the state meet with the fastest qualifying time of 7:59.08.
Carolina Shea, a junior, and freshman Katherine Bagley have qualified for the Craig girls in the 400 with times of 1:01.06 and 1:01.47, respectively. Milwaukee North senior Tasha Allen is the front-runner at 54.33 seconds.
Demos goes into the state meet as the top seed in the high jump and will be heavily favored to repeat. The senior cleared 5-7 to win the sectional meet, which was three inches higher than any other competitor in the Division 1 field. She cleared 5-9 earlier in the season to break a long-standing Parker school record and is unbeaten in the event this season.
“Obviously, Shelby is an accomplished athlete,” Parker girls coach Dave Lehmann said. “And like Kelsey (Jones), she’s excelling at the right time. That’s key heading into the state meet.”
Demos also qualified for the third straight year in the 100 high hurdles, and enters the state meet as the fifth seed with a time of 15.23. Marissa Savitch of Mequon Homestead is the top seed at 14.44.
Jones will anchor Parker’s 400 and 800 relay teams that qualified, and she is also hoping to reach the finals in the 200. The senior is the 13th seed after qualifying with a time of 26.17.
Parker’s 800-meter girls relay team, which won the sectional title with a time of 1:44.54, is seeded fifth. Members of the team are Demos, Jones, sophomore Emily Mauermann and junior Niquisha Kenerson.
Jones, Mauermann, Kenerson and sophomore Jessica Heitsman will run on the 400 relay team. They finished second at the sectional with a time 50.61 and are seeded 14th at state.
The Parker boys will be led by Nick Cahill, who qualified for state for the second straight year. The senior won the sectional title in the triple jump at 43-6 and enters state as the 16th seed. He also qualified in the long jump and is seeded 21st.
Parker junior Cody Speaker is seeded 10th in the pole vault. After attending several vaulting camps over the summer, Speaker cleared 14-0 this season and went 13-9 at the sectional. Chris Pendergrast of Arrowhead is the top seed at 15-0.
Speaker will join junior Ryan Shelton, sophomore Dan Treinen and senior LaVell Hewlett on the Vikings’ 1,600 relay team. Speaker, Shelton, Hewlett and Cody St. Michael will run on the 800 relay team.
“The bottom line is that you never know what can happen at the state meet,” longtime Parker boys coach Joe Dye said. “We took a 1,600 relay team to state in 2003 that was seeded 23rd out of 24 teams, and they ended up finishing fifth.
“It’s a matter of going up there and competing to the best of your abilities. Leave everything you have on the track.”
And hopefully, come home with a medal or two.
Here are some of the other area state track and field competitors who have high seed qualifying times or distances:
-- Milton’s Ethan Bachinski has the No 3-qualifying distance of 161 feet, 6 inches in the discus. Monona Grove’s Demone Reed ranks No. 1 at 163-9.
Bachinski also will compete in the shot put, where his qualifying throw of 49-3¼ ranks 23rd.
-- Another Milton thrower, junior Leah Devries, has the third-best qualifying distance in the shot put at 40-11. Angela Boushea of Monona Grove tops the list at 43-7½.
-- Lake Geneva Badger senior Brittany Frederick has the sixth-fastest qualifying time in the Division 1 girls 800 at 2:17.81. Kenosha Tremper’s Sarah Ball has the fastest time at 2:16.64.
-- Clinton sophomore Laura Popanz takes the second-best 100 time (12.43) into state. Milwaukee Lutheran senior Amber Leazer is first at 12.34.
-- Whitewater junior Tony Bilderback ranks third in the triple jump with a leap of 43-11. Arcadia’s Isaac Vazquez tops the list at 44-10.
-- Another Whippet, junior Tony Floyd, is sixth in the 110 high hurdles (15.04). Jared Abbrederis, a senior at Wautoma/Faith Christian, leads the list at 14.69.
-- Whitewater junior Jacob Dennis ranks second in the 200 qualifiers (22.51). Only Platteville senior Casey Goffinett is better at 22.11.
-- Edgerton senior Peter Zepke has the eighth best distance in the shot put. Junior Ryan Miesbauer leads the qualifiers at 56-8¾.
-- Shea Sweeney, an Edgerton senior pole vaulter, returns to state with a height 10 feet. She has gone 10-6 this season. The top qualifying height is 11-3 by Richland Center’s Danielle Vetesnik, followed by Monroe’s Meaghan Tomasiewicz at 11-0.
-- Orfordville Parkview junior Anna Soyck, who placed fifth in the state last year, returns with a qualifying height of 5-2, which is matched by Evansville sophomore Sylvia Gay. Junior Kayla Ashland of Bloomer is No. 1 at 5-3.
-- Whitewater freshman Molly Griep ranks ninth in the shot put (38-2). Seymour junior Jessica Maroszek leads the list at 42-11½.
Griep also ranks seventh in the discus (124-10). Maroszek also is the top discus qualifier at 164-2.
-- Albany’s 3,200 boys relay team ranks fourth 8:24.71. North Crawford is the top time of 8:19.87.
-- Jake Lincicum, a senior on that Albany relay team, has the top qualifying time of 2:00.93 in the boys 800-meter run.