64th Cougar Relays takes place today
The 64th edition of the Cougar Relays may be greeted by some rare sunshine today at Monterey Stadium.
All four Janesville high school coaches have reason to be optimistic heading into the state’s oldest running track and field meet, which begins at 4 p.m.
The city coaches also are crossing their fingers that today’s pleasant forecast holds true after a spring season that has been dominated by wet, windy and cool weather.
Craig’s girls team hasn’t lost outdoors this season.
“We’re able to score in every event,” Cougar coach Mark Marsden said. “Every field event we have one or two strong kids, and we’re very deep in the sprints. We don’t have as much depth in the distance events.”
Craig’s girls are 3-0 in Big Eight Conference dual meets, and the Cougars won the 11-team Watertown Invitational.
The Cougar Relays, which were rained out last year, feature relay-only running events. In field events, the results from each team’s three competitors are combined.
“In a relay meet, things change,” Marsden said. “The Middleton and Sun Prairie girls are coming. We beat both teams this year, but both teams are loaded. Parker’s got a good chance with great hurdlers and jumpers, and Waterford has always been very good.”
Eight girls teams will compete, while the boys field includes seven teams.
Distance runners lead Craig boys
The Craig boys team is 1-1 in Big Eight dual meets and finished second at the Watertown Invitational.
Coach Jeff Deininger said his team is fairly young, yet also has several seniors who have made a big impact.
Deininger pointed to the combination of distance runners Tommy Meister and Spencer Hrycay as one of the team’s strengths. They, along with Joe Sarow, were on last year’s 3,200-meter relay team that qualified for state, where they ran a school-record time.
Cy Badertscher, a triple-jumper and long-jumper, also was a state qualifier last year for the Cougars.
Deininger said Calvin Coleman, a jumper and a sprinter, has been a consistent scorer in every meet this season.
Tom Kitching in the pole vault, and Rutger Meister in the hurdles also have been top performers for Craig this season.
Hurdles, throws key Viking boys
Parker boys coach Joe Dye said his most experienced athletes are in the hurdles, the shot put and discus.
The Vikings are 5-0 in dual meets, including 3-0 in the Big Eight.
Trever Steinke, Keven Bell, Max Monson and Cody Colson lead the way in the shot put and discus.
Dye said hurdlers Erik Albeck, Shawn Bohler and Austin Lloyd also are experienced and have performed well, but he see major challenges for the Vikings.
“Craig’s going to be outstanding,” Dye said of today’s meet. “La Follette and Middleton should also be right there.”
Dye said it’s always fun to compete against Craig and in a meet that has such great tradition.
“And the best thing is it looks like the weather is going to be nice,” he said.
Long jumpers shine for Parker girls
Parker girls coach Dave Lehmann’s team also is off to a strong start. The Vikings are 4-1 in duals and finished third at the Parker Invitational.
Lehmann, though, said depth is the key to winning the Cougar Relays.
“Depth is huge there,” he said. “We have some. But we don’t necessarily have as much as we’ve had in some of the prior years. There are teams that are loaded up and down.”
Lehmann said long jumpers Brecklyn Skaleski, Erika Whitson and Sadie Johnson all have eclipsed 15 feet this season.
“That should be a good event,” he said.
Other top perfomers so far this season for Parker include Paige Demos and Sam Shelton in the hurdles and high jump, Whitson and Kristin Zeilinger in the pole vault, Sadie Johnson, Ashley Hartwig and Mahoganie Franklin in the sprints, and distance runners Brooke King, Miranda Slaback and Lexi Lathrop.
Pole vault is Craig girls strength
The Craig girls team features three pole vaulters who may be among the best in the state.
Senior Sara Ennocenti has cleared 10 feet, 6 inches this season, while sophomore Jessica Washington and freshman Courtney Pohlman each have gone 9-6 this year.
“Their goal is to win the event and set the meet record,” Marsden said.
Other top field event performers for the Cougars include junior Kaylyn Funk, whose 37-11 effort in the shot put is one inch shy of the school record; senior Kayla Rohr in the discus; sophomore Ashley Pohlman in the triple jump; and freshman Ally Calkins in the high jump and long jump.
Craig’s top runners are Katie Bagley, a junior, who runs the 200, 300 hurdles, 400 and 800; sophomore sprinter Maggie Slatter, who is unbeaten this season and has run a 12.6-second 100; senior Rachel Gilmore and junior Danica Rienike, the Cougars’ leading distance runners; and senior Jill Castro, who excels in the sprints and middle distances.