A weather delay was not enough to slow down the DeForest boys and girls track teams at the WIAA Division 1 Madison Memorial Sectional on June 17.
The Norskies had one of the best sectional showings in school history and combined to advance to state in 15 events.
The DeForest girls had Carleen Snow, Anna Szepieniec, Stacy Kipkoskei, Miranda Manghera and Morgan Hahn qualify for state individually. They also advanced a pair of relays.
Deven Magli, Ferris Wolf, Caleb Ekezie and Jackson Grabowski all quailed for state for the Norski boys, along with two relays.
“Sectionals was a great example of not allowing a deviation from plans to alter your performance,” DeForest boys coach Joe Parker said. “With the delay, it could have been very easy to let that get in your head, but our guys were steadfast.”
Both Norski squads placed in the top four at the Memorial Sectional.
The DeForest girls garnered 77 team points to place third behind Waunakee (101) and Middleton (92).
“Despite the weather delay, we came back out and performed at a high level,” DeForest girls coach Chris Smith said. “So many bright spots to mention.”
The Norski boys earned 64.5 points to finish fourth behind only Onalaska (91.5) and Memorial (86) and Middleton (82).
The DeForest boys were also fourth at the Middleton Regional on June 14 after coming away with 89 points. Madison Memorial (143) and Middleton (118) claimed the two spots.
“Regionals was a great night for us,” Parker said. “Getting all four relays through continued to speak to our depth on the track.”
The Norski girls 106.5 points to also earn fourth place. Middleton (152) claimed the regional title, while Waunakee (131) was second.
The Division 1 state meet will be held this Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium on the UW-La Crosse campus.
Szepieniec led all DeForest athletes at the regional with two titles. She was first in the 300 hurdles (47.12 seconds) and triple jump (37-feet, 11-inches), to go along with a third-place finish in the 100 hurdles (:15.46).
Kipkoskei was second in the 300 hurdles (:48.88) for the DeForest girls, while Manghera was the runner-up in the discus (114-11). Manghera came in eighth in the shot put (27-11.5).
Jada Kelliher (seventh, 400, 1:09.05), Grace Roth (fourth, 800, 2:31.35), Lydia Bauer (fifth, 1,600, 5:31.27), Morgan Hahn (third, shot put, 30-9.5; fourth, discus, 95-4), Alexys Scheuerell (fifth, high jump, 4-8; fifth, pole vault, 10-feet), Paige Scheuerell (eighth, pole vault, 8-feet), Natalie Compe (sixth, high jump, 4-8; fourth, long jump, 15-11) and Carleen Snow (third, pole vault, 10-6) also had top-eight finishes for the Norski girls.
The DeForest girls had Ashley Durnen, Kipkoskei, Alexys Scheuerell and Jocelyn Pickhardt place second in the 800 relay (1:48.96), while Logan Peters, Snow, Pickhardt and Szepieniec were third in the 1,600 relay (4:09.80). Scheuerell, Narianna Tagura, Compe and Pickhardt added a fourth-place finish in the 400 relay (:52.52).
Wolf had the only individual win for the DeForest boys in the 110 hurdles (:16.19). He was the runner-up in the 300 hurdles (:42.97).
Magli (100, :11.13), Ekezie (400, :50.10) and Grabowski (800, 2:01.82) each had a second-place finish for DeForest.
The Norskies added top-eight finishes from Samuel Piontek (fifth, 100, :11.51), Aydin Kelliher (eighth, 100, :11.57), Isaiah Bauer (eighth, 1,600, 4:49.33), Alex Winters (sixth, shot put, 41-9), Cameron Bendixen (seventh, shot put, 40-8), Avrey Pierick (fourth, pole vault, 11-feet), Oliver Vandehey (fourth, triple jump, 41-11) and Trace Grundahl (eighth, triple jump, 37-10).
DeForest earned a regional title in the 1,600 relay, thanks to a time of 3:28.19 by Vandehey, Bryce Jacobsen, Grabowski and Ekezie.
The DeForest boys also placed fourth in the 400 relay (:44.62; Bryan Sels, Grundahl, Piontek, Magli), 800 relay (1:32.77; Piontek, Sels, Jacobsen, Vandehey) and 3,200 relay (8:32.88; Korbin Eisler, Joe Huber, Isaiah Bauer, Grabowski).
Szepieniec had another remarkable meet for the Norski girls. She won sectional titles in the 300 hurdles (:46.50) and triple jump (37-4) and was third in the 100 hurdles (:15.56). She quailed for state in all three events.
“Anna Szepieniec is meeting all of the expectations many had for her,” Smith said. “That’s a lot of mental weight to carry going into a big meet. Our records show Anna to be only the second girls track athlete to compete in four events at State.”
Manghera came away with a title in the discus (117-4).
“Quietly Miranda Manghera has put together a real nice season of throwing,” Smith said. “Watching her power that first attempt in the discus to a new personal was awesome. To be a sectional champion in our group of schools is pretty impressive.”
Kipkoskei punched her ticket to state after placing second in the 300 hurdles (:47.94).
Hahn is continuing her season after placing third in the shot put (32-5.5). She added a sixth-place finish in the discus (98-7).
Snow was the final Norski girl to earn an individual spot at state after earning third place in the pole vault (10-6).
“If anyone is deserving of a state berth, Carleen is it,” Smith said. “She has put in so much time and guided efforts to improve, it’s rewarding to see that commitment pay off.”
Compe finished seventh in the long jump (16-2.75).
The DeForest girls also qualified for state in the 800 and 1,600 relays.
Durnen, Kipkoskei, Alexys Scheuerell and Pickhardt were second in the 800 relay (1:47.13), while Peters, Snow, Pickhardt and Szepieniec came in fourth in the 1,600 relay (4:07.13).
“There was a lot of joy to go around when the 4x200 finished second to qualify,” Smith said. “The 4x400 will be an extra qualifier with their time being the seventh best in the state. In the moment there was some disappointment finishing fourth, but when we looked at the time we ran that numbed a little of the sting. As we were headed back on the bus comparing all of the other Sectional meets, we realized we were likely going to take that relay to state as well.”
The DeForest boys were led by Ekezie and Grabowski. Both had a second-place finish.
“For Jackson and Caleb to come back in both of their individual events and qualify, along with their final two legs of the 4x400, they really showcased their talents in being the first male athletes I have had qualify in three events for the state meet,” Parker said.
Ekezie was the runner-up in the 400 (:50.86), while Grabowski was second in the 800 (2:01.89) to also qualify for state.
Magli is headed to state after placing third in the 100 (:11.56).
Wolf punched his ticket with a third-place finish in the 110 hurdles (:16.40). he added a fifth-place finish in the 300 hurdles (:42.79).
“Ferris and Deven, I believe are the first athletes in school history to qualify for the state tournament in three different sports over the course of their careers,” Parker said. “Ferris did all three this year, while Deven did so with the Football title in 2019.”
Pierick (sixth, pole vault, 11-feet) and Vandehey (fourth, triple jump, 42-4.25) had the only other top-eight individual finishes.
The DeForest boys had Vandehey, Jacobsen, Grabowski and Ekezie advance to state with a second-place finish in the 1,600 relay (3:29.60).
Eisler, Huber, Isaiah Bauer and Grabowski are also moving on in the 3,200 relay after placing second (8:12.48).
The Norskies had Sels, Grundahl, Piontek and Magli place fourth in the 400 relay (:44.95).