2012 Top 50 Lists Summary
By Mike Krugel
With the benefit of some spectacular weather, the 2012 WIAA State Championships resulted in a significant rewrite of the all-time state Top 50 lists. Two all-time records were set at the state meet, with an additional eight top ten efforts achieved, as well. Earlier in the year, two other all-time bests were set, resulting in four new all-time standards being realized-possibly five, if Cami Gilson finished pole vaulting before Bonnie Draxler the day of sectionals!
The top marks achieved at the state meet came in the 4x400 and 4x800 meter relays. In the 4x400, Milwaukee Riverside ran a 3:53.07 in Saturday's finals, eclipsing Bradley Tech's 3:53.64 set in the 2010 state prelims. Riverside's record-setting relay team members included two pairs of sisters - Angel (freshman) and Crystal (junior) Malone and Helen (freshman) and Valerie (junior) Thames. Given that all four of these runners return next year, this record might not remain on top of the list for too long! Considering that all of the Riverside athletes scoring in this year's state meet also return next year, one would think that Riverside has got to be considered as one of the early D1 favorites for next year, with a chance to extend the Milwaukee City Conference's hold on the team title to five straight years.
In the 4x800, Neenah's team - consisting of twin sisters Jennifer and Jessica Parker (sophomores), their older sibling Alison (junior), and Claire Knaus (junior) - broke Marinette's eighteen-year-old record in the event, running a 9:00.42 to break the mark of 9:03.38 set the first year the event was run - 1994 - and never seriously threatened until this year. As with Riverside's new standard, this one might not last too long, either, as all four runners return next year! An interesting side note on the 1994 Marinette team that stood atop the record list for so long: their team also consisted of sisters - Janet and Jenni Westphal - who teamed with Suzi St. Clair and Jodi Bolen to establish the old mark.
Earlier in the year, two other top marks were established. On February 26th in the Brooks PR Invite at Seattle, Molly Seidel of University Lake School broke Allie Woodward's (Green Bay Notre Dame) mark of 10:11.48 set at last year's state meet. Molly ran a 10:13.45 two mile at the Brooks meet, which translates to a 10:09.89 3200-meter using standard conversion factors. Adding another two state titles to her resume' this past weekend - bring her four-year haul to eight - surely cemented Molly's place in Wisconsin track history as one of the best distance runners ever.
Finally, Wrightstown's Bonnie Draxler established a new pole vault standard with her 13' 3" effort at May 24th D2 Sectional at Little Chute. This broke the record of thirteen feet even established by Jenny Soceka of Madison Memorial in 2005. In a recurring theme, this mark might not be long for the books, either, as Bonnie is only a sophomore! As I alluded to earlier, it is possible that Cami Gilson of Hartland Arrowhead briefly held this record, as she surpassed Soceka's old record the same day as Bonnie with her 13' 1" effort in Menomonee Falls at the D1 Sectional held there.
In addition to the all-time records mentioned above, a number of new top-five marks were established during 2012. Cami Gilson's 13' 1" effort in the pole vault mentioned immediately above now stands #2 on the all-time list. Sophomore Kennedy Blahnik of Algoma moved from fourth to second on the all-time list with her 48' 7" throw in the shot put at the 5/8/2012 Algoma Invitational. Senior Elexis Fuller-Stewart's (Milwaukee Bradley Tech) 100-meter time of 11.49 at the Waukesha North Sectional on May 24th moved her up one notch in the all-time rankings in that event to third. Senior Amber Sanderson of La Crosse Logan notched two top-five spots in the hurdles events. Not on either list at the beginning of the year, Amber ran scorching 14:01 in the 100 High Hurdles at the Middleton D1 Sectional (May 24th) to jump to third on the all-time list. Her 43.75 clocking in the 300 Lows in the finals at the state meet on Saturday landed her in a tie for the fourth slot in that event. In that same event on Saturday, Greenfield's Michelle Garner (senior) won the event in 43.69 (in breathtaking, come-from-behind fashion for the third year in a row!), landing her just one spot ahead of Amber on the all-time list in third. She had previously held the fourth spot on that list. Junior Alex Flucke of Ashwaubenon - who entered the season second on the all-time pole vault list - bumped her PR up three inches to 12' 10" at the D1 Sectional at Green Bay Preble on May 21st, and currently finds herself fourth on the all-time list, after the other pole vault marks mentioned earlier are accounted for. And lastly, West Bend West's 4x400 meter relay team ran a 3:54.50 in the D1 state finals on Saturday to land in the #3 slot all-time for that event. Their squad was comprised of senior Candice Wayne, junior Kayla Janto, and sophomores Alexis Wolf and Erica Wanie. Three of these four runners will be back for more next year, also!
I'd like to recognize the seniors graduating with top-five-ever marks. All five were mentioned above, but certainly merit a little more discussion here
Michelle Garner of Greenfield graduates this year with three D1 300-meter low hurdles titles to her credit. All three were achieved in electrifying fashion, with Michelle winning by margins of .04, .01, and .06 seconds in 2010-12, respectively. As mentioned above, she leaves with the third-best time in state history in the event.
Against an ever-improving field of pole vaulters, Cami Gilson of Hartland Arrowhead made her mark early in her career and left with her name included on the state meet record list. She finished second at the D1 state meet each of her last three years, improving her height each of those years. This past weekend, she tied the D1 state mark of 12' 6", finishing behind Alex Flucke on misses. Her 13' 1" effort at Menomonee Falls in the sectionals leaves her second on the all-time list, one of only three thirteen-foot vaulters in state history.
Amber Sanderson of La Crosse Logan - a relative unknown at the beginning of the year - went out in spectacular fashion, ending up in the top five in both hurdle events, as mentioned earlier. Not on either top-50 list entering the season, she entered the high hurdles list on May 12th at the Mississippi Valley Conference Outdoor meet. She made her debut on the low hurdles list at the state meet in the prelims and then moved into the top five in the finals. She also anchored her team's winning 4x200 effort at the state meet, coming from behind to win in 1:41.03 - eighth-best all-time.
Molly Seidel leaves Wisconsin's track and field and cross country fans with many memories. The only runner on her team as a freshman, she cleared an administrative hurdle to get to the state meet that year and proceeded to win the D3 state titles in the 1600 and 3200 for University Lake School each of her four years. She is only the second girl in any division to win the same two individual events four times each. These are in addition to her four state cross country titles. Six of her twelve winning times were all-division bests in the years they were run, quite an impressive feat given that she was seldom pushed during her high school career. With her top ranking ever in the 3200 and just a little over a second off the top 1600 time ever, she leaves for Notre Dame as clearly one of the top distance runners ever in the state.
Lastly, Elexis Fuller-Stewart capped a tremendous high school career in a fitting manner, winning the 100 and 200-meter dashes and the 100-meter high hurdles last Saturday in La Crosse. All of these races were won by comfortable (by sprint standards) margins. The latest of an amazing group of sprinters that continues to pass through Milwaukee Bradley Tech, this year she was a one-athlete show for her school, scoring all 30 points to finish third in the D1 "team" standings. This is in addition to being a major factor in her school's team titles the prior three years. Last year, she established the current top mark in the 100-meter high hurdles at 13.89. She barely missed it in this year's state prelims, running a 13.90. Earlier this year, she jumped up to the #3 spot all-time in the 100, with her 11.49 sectional clocking. She sits fifth all-time in the 200 with her time of 24.08, a mark she set at last year's state meet while finishing second behind record-setting teammate Dezerea Bryant. She teamed with Dezerea, Angelina Howard, and Tahje Whittley last year to blow away the prior top 4x100 meter relay mark by nearly a second in the state finals. The prior year, in the preliminaries of the 4x400 meter relay, she was a part of a team that broke a thirty-year-old state record and a 29-year-old all-time top mark. Broken in the state finals this year, she and her 2010 teammates now hold the second spot on the all-time list. Finally, in 2010's state finals in the 4x200 meter relay, she and her squad ran to what was then a fifth-best all-time mark (now sixth). Whew - quite a high school career!
All in all, another amazing year in Wisconsin high school girls' track and field. Again, I apologize if I've missed any names/teams people were hoping to see - there are so many deserving athletes that it's difficult to include them all!