Rock track meet is wide open

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Gazette staff
Friday, May 13, 2011

Whitewater High’s boys and East Troy’s girls were heavy favorites in last year’s Rock Valley Conference track and field meet.

Both lived up to the hype in winning team titles.

Saturday’s conference meet, hosted by Turner High School and being held at Beloit Memorial, figures to be much more wide open, with a number of schools possibly making a run at a conference title.

“I think for both the boys and girls, three or four teams could win conference on the right day,” Whitewater coach John Houwers said. “And I’m pretty sure that’s how everyone is approaching the conference meet.

“We had a special group of seniors last year, and we’ve had to replace a lot of talent, but I’m pretty happy with some of our kids and the holes they’ve filled in the lineup.”

The Whippets’ lone returning champion is Dawson Miller in the 1,600, while Whitewater’s girls have two-time defending champion Molly Griep (shot put and discus), as well as senior Kim Stonewerth in pole vault.

Edgerton’s boys have three returning champions in Brent Samuelsen (pole vault), Tyler Dobratz (110 high hurdles) and Lucas Langer (800). Samuelsen has the top vault in the state this season at 14-6, which he cleared in breaking the school and Tider Invitational record last Friday.

Crimson Tide boys coach Jason Knott agrees with Houwers’ assessment of the conference meet.

“I don’t really think you could pick a favorite, especially for the boys,” Knott said. “McFarland might be the front-runner for the girls, but it’s wide open.

“There will be some very good athletes competing Saturday that are probably going to compete at state, too. But there isn’t a dominating team like the Whitewater boys last year.”

Clinton’s Laura Popanz was second in both the 100 and 200 last year, and ranks in the top five in the state this season in both races.

“East Troy’s girls had to replace (Jasmine) Haines and (Tia) Nowak, but they’ve got an outstanding freshmen class,” Houwers said. “They’ll be in the mix again, but I still think two or three other teams will be, too.

“Weather-wise, this hasn’t been the best spring to compete. I think if it’s nice Saturday, you’ll see some really good performances on both sides.”

Last updated: 5:13 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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