Cats send 14 to state meet
River Falls will be sending 14 athletes in ten different events to this weekend's WIAA State Track and Field Championships in La Crosse following last week's Division 1 sectional meet in Rice Lake.
The Wildcat girls will be represented by four individuals and one relay team while the boys will send three individuals and one relay team.
Seniors Mitch Lenneman and Tiano Pupungatoa will each compete in two individual events for the boys while junior Trent Powell will race in the 1600 meter run and as part of the Cats' 4x400 meter relay team.
Powell and Lenneman swept the top two spots in the 1600 at last week's sectional, with Powell posting a winning time of 4 minutes, 21.2 seconds and Lenneman second in 4:21.32. Lenneman also won the sectional title in the 800 meter run with a time of 1:56.9 to qualify for this weekend's state meet.
Powell will be making his second trip to the state meet after running in the 3200 last spring while this will be Lenneman's first trip to state.
The Wildcat boys' 4x400 meter relay team of Nick Dildy, Josiah Harris, Powell and Brad Freeborn combined for a first place time of 3:25.33 at the Rice Lake Sectional to move on. Dildy ran in the 400 meter dash last year while this will be the first state meet for Harris and Freeborn.
Senior Tiano Pupungatoa returns to the state meet after qualifying in the shot put a year ago. Pupungatoa will compete in the shot put and discus after finishing second at the Rice Lake Sectional with throws of 54-feet, 3.5-inches and 162-11, respectively, at the Rice Lake Sectional.
On the girls' side, senior Paige Skorseth will wrap up her high school career in La Crosse after finishing second in the 3200 meter run at the sectional meet with a time of 11:07.44.
Sophomore Annie Frisbie qualified for the 2013 state meet in the 1600 meter run after competing in the 3200 meter race as a freshman. Frisbie took second in the 1600 at the Rice Lake Sectional with a time of 5:17.24.
Junior Karlie Place is also returning to state for the second straight year in a different event. Place, who took ninth in the long jump at the 2012 state meet, earned a spot in the triple jump this year with a total leap of 35-6 at last week's sectional. She just missed qualifying in the pole vault, taking fourth with a height of 9-6.
Senior Riley Claude cleared 10-3 in the pole vault to take second and earn her first trip to state while the girls' 4x400 meter relay team of junior Amelia Kjos, freshman Karissa Murphy, freshman Rachel Shew and sophomore Annie Wagner earned a spot at state with a third place time of 4:06.58. Kjos just missed advancing to state in the 400 meter dash with a fourth place time of 1:00.76.
A number of other Wildcats barely missed qualifying for state. On the boys' side, the 4x200 meter relay team of junior Ryan Bjornstal, Freeborn, senior Jon Helgeson and senior John Maillette finished fourth in 1:31.46, while Helgeson took fourth in the long jump with a leap of 21-5.5 and Bjornstal was fifth in the 100 meter dash in 11.27 seconds.
Junior Alexandra Ronnestrand finished fourth in the girls' discus with a throw of 109-04.
The WIAA State Track and Field Championships will be held this Friday and Saturday at Veteran's Memorial Stadium on the campus of UW-La Crosse. Division 1 competition begins Friday at 4:30 p.m. and continues Saturday starting at 9:30 a.m.