2014 Top 50 Lists Summary
By Mike Krugel
The 2014 Wisconsin high school girls' track and field season resulted in the most significant rewrite of the Top 50 Lists in the six years that I've been compiling them. 145 updates were made to the lists through the meets completed the weekend of July 5-6. Included were 27 new top-10, 15 new top-5, and 5 all-time best marks (Note: some of these were the same athlete improving marks set earlier in the 2014 season). One of the best performances at the D1 state meet ever was accomplished by Danielle Riggins of Kenosha Tremper, winning three individual events in leading her team to a second-consecutive state title. Danielle actually had three of the all-time-best marks mentioned above' - all in the 100 High Hurdles, as I will describe below.
Danielle began her assault on the 100 high hurdles all-time best mark on May 30th in the D1 Sectional at Janesville Parker. There she tied the mark of 13.89 seconds set by Elexis Fuller-Stewart of Bradley Tech in the 2011 D1 State Finals on 6/4/2011. She then became the sole all-time leader at the State Meet, where she clocked an amazing 13.67. Apparently not resting on her laurels, she then improved this mark to 13.63 at the AAU District Qualifier Meet at Carroll University on June 21st.
Another familiar name was responsible for setting the other two all-time best marks: Bonnie Draxler of Wrightstown. Bonnie broke her own record in the pole vault on July 6th at the USATF Junior Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, OR when she cleared 13' 11.25". This broke the mark she had set just fifteen days earlier (June 21st) at the Senior Spotlight Meet in Joliet, IL, when she cleared 13' 9". She has held the top spot since May 25th, 2012, breaking it once later during that season and twice in 2013. All six of these marks were higher than 13', a feat achieved (once) by only one other vaulter in state history.
Top five efforts this year (in addition to the all-time best marks just mentioned) were established a total of eight times by six individuals in five events. In addition, two relay teams raced their ways into top five positions, as well. Senior Danielle Riggins of Kenosha Tremper led this assault with three top five marks. She first moved into the fifth-place slot in the 100-meter dash with her 11.71 effort at the Southeast Conference meet at Oak Creek on May 20th. She then improved her time in the same event - while remaining in fifth place' - with the 11.62 she posted at the AAU Region 14 Qualifier at Park Center High School in Minnesota on June 29th. At the same meet on June 29th, she moved from fourth to third on the list for the 200-meter dash when she finished in 23.70 seconds.
Senior Kennedy Blahnik of Algoma moved from eighth to second place on the discus list with her 169' 2 effort at the D3 Regional at Hilbert on May 27th. Senior Alisha Harper of Brookfield East moved into a tie for the fifth-place position in the long jump with her 19' 3.25" leap on May 14th at the Menomonee Falls Girls Invitational. When junior Gabby Beauvais of Monona Grove went a quarter inch farther at the D1 Sectional at Madison Memorial on May 30th, she replaced Alisha and Brittany Rusch of Wausau East (1994) in the number five slot on that list.
On May 27th at the D1 Regional at New London, sophomore Kylie Swiekatowski of De Pere moved from eighth into fifth place on the pole vault list with her 12' 7" effort. Junior Rayce Albino of New Berlin West moved from ninth into a tie for third on the same list with her 13' even vault at the Park Center, MN AAU Regional Qualifier on June 29th.
Moving on to the relays, on June 6th in the D1 preliminaries at La Crosse, the West Bend West 1600-meter relay team, consisting of sophomore Libby Brugger and seniors Alexis Wolf, Celina Wanta, and Erica Wanie, took over the fifth-place spot on the all-time list in that event with their time of 3:54.67. In the D1 finals of the 3200-meter relay on that same day, freshman Morgan McClone and seniors Jessie Laabs, Jennifer Parker, and Jessica Parker moved Neenah into fifth place all-time, clocking in at 9:10.97.
Next, I will continue my tradition of recognizing the seniors graduating with top-five-ever marks. Most were mentioned above, but all deserve some additional discussion here.
As one might guess from the top-five efforts listed above, Kenosha Tremper's Danielle Riggins leads this year's graduates, departing with three top-five marks. She leaves with the best mark ever in the 100 high hurdles, a time of 13.63 seconds. Her 23.70 clocking in the 200-meter dash leaves her third all-time in that event, and her 11.62 in the 100-meter dash leaves her fifth all-time. She also leaves with team championships in each of the past two years, teaming with ToNaya Gulley this year to score the maximum number of team points possible (48) in an eight-point win over Brookfield East. Danielle actually appears in two of the other lists, as well' - the 400-meter dash and 300 low hurdles. With the thirty points she scored at this year's state meet, she graduates with a total of sixty points in individual events at the D1 state meet during her high school career.
Kennedy Blahnik of Algoma leaves the Wisconsin high-school track scene with the second-place marks in both the discus and shot put. Her monster discus throw of 169' 2" at the D3 Regional at Hilbert and her 49' 1.5 shot put at last year's state meet earned her these spots on the lists. She joined an elite group (only three others) this year at the state meet when she won both of these events for the fourth consecutive year. All of her efforts at the state meet during those four years would have won in any of the divisions, usually quite decisively. She also leaves high school as the first three-time winner of Gatorade's Wisconsin Girls Track & Field Athlete of the Year award.
Bonnie Draxler of Wrightstown leaves with the all-time best mark in the pole vault' - on July 6th at the USATF Junior Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, OR. Bonnie also appears in the 100-meter dash and 400-meter dash Top-50 lists. She, too, joined the elite group (now four) of WI athletes winning the same two events in all four of their high school years. She captured titles in the 400-meter dash and the pole vault in each of her four years. She added titles in the 100-meter dash in her junior and senior years, becoming the only girl in state history to win ten individual events during their career. Adding in third and fifth-place finishes in the 100-meter dash in her sophomore and freshman years, respectively, she ended her career with a staggering 110 total points' - all in individual events' - at the state meet. Only one other Division 2 school scored more points that Bonnie during that time! She led Wrightstown to the team state title in 2011.
ToNaya Gulley of Kenosha Tremper moves on to the next level in a tie for fourth on the all-time list for the 100 high hurdles. She notched that spot with her 14.01 time at last year's D1 Regional at Lake Geneva Badger on May 20th. She also appears on the 300 low hurdles list. ToNaya, too, leaves with two team state titles to look back upon. She contributed twenty two points to Tremper's 2013 victory with second-place finishes in both hurdles events and a third in the 100-meter dash. She also scored at the state meet as a sophomore in the high hurdles.
Three members of this year's West Bend West 4x400-meter relay graduated this year: Celina Wanta, Alexis Wolf, and Erica Wanie. The team posted the fifth-best time ever' - 3:54.67 - in the state meet preliminaries on June 6th. Alexis and Erica were also on the 2012 4x400 team that posted the fourth-best time ever (3:54.50) in the finals of the 2012 state meet. Additionally, these two ran on the fourth-place 4x400 squad at the state meet in 2011. Erica was a frequent sight on the podium in La Crosse, placing sixth, sixth, and fourth in the 800-meter run in 2012-14, respectively, and running on the fourth-place 4x400 relay in 2013 and the third-place 4x800 meter relay this year.
Twins Jennifer and Jessica Parker leave Neenah as two of the four runners from that school holding the all-time best mark in the 4x800 relay. (The next two sentences are repeated from last year's summary.) Set in 2012, the mark they helped establish broke a record that had stood since the first year the 4x800 relay was run at the state meet. I would venture to predict that the 9:00.42 standard Neenah set that year will stand the test of time as well as the record they broke did. Jennifer and Jessica each leave high school with four 4x800-meter titles' - winning by at least five seconds in each year. The squads they ran on in 2011 and 2014 hold down the number four and five slots on the all-time list. They were joined by fellow senior Jessie Laabs in establishing this year's fifth-place mark. The twins also ran together on the 4x400 relays teams that finished third and fifth at state in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Jennifer appears on the all-time list for the 800, while Jessica appears on the list for the 1600. Jennifer finished seventh at state in the 800 in 2011 and second in the same event in each of the past two years. Jessica won the state title in the 1600 last year and placed fourth this year.
As always, 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!