Propelled by three individual titles by Lucas Heyroth, the Lodi boys track team earned its first ever team state title in La Crosse last Friday.
“Overall, it’s tough to put into words what winning this state title means to the community of Lodi, athletes, parents and coaches,” Lodi coach Randy Skellenger said. “This was the most difficult year of many people’s lives without a doubt and to finish up with a state team title after all we’ve endured over the last 16 months is a dream. We thought we had a shot last year as a team and that was taken away by COVID-19. Many seniors who left us to graduation didn’t’ get that chance, so this title really feels like a COVID-double state title. It’s that much more meaningful to bring this trophy home to the community and to the kids who didn’t get that chance last season. I’d be remise if I didn’t recognize our 2020 senior captains, Amanda Miller and Jack Hansen, who spoke to the team on Wednesday prior to heading to state about not taking the opportunity for granted.”
The Blue Devil boys tied Jefferson for the Division 2 crown with 40 team points. Madison Edgewood (33), Little Chute (32) and Shorewood (31.5) rounded out the top five.
“Coming into the day, we were targeting for 40 points,” Skellenger said at the conclusion of his 20th season with the program. “We knew Jefferson was targeting 40 points as well. We figured whoever could get to 40 first would be in the driver’s seat and anything after that would likely do it.
“We were fortunate to finish where we expected to,” he added. “We were fortunate to tie. It’s sweeter, even tying as opposed to being second. We will take the tie any day. This is the first track and field state title for Lodi, boys or girls. The boys were runner-up three years ago. This is really the culmination of a lot of things. A lot of kids working hard, a coaching staff that is second to none. We joked that we’ve got a hundred years of experience between the five coaches.”
It was the first track title for Lodi and just the 11th in school history.
The Lodi girls also had a great showing. The Blue Devils finished in 33rd place with seven points.
Freedom claimed the girls team state title with 59 points, followed in the top five by Shorewood (52), Xavier (27), Edgewood (25) and Rice Lake (25) and Osceola (25).
Heyroth had one of the best state meets in program history. He garnered state titles in the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles and long jump.
“Lucas with two titles in the hurdles, and the long jump and contributing to the relay as well,” Skellenger said. “We’ve got a lot of speed. Really, it’s coaching and just great talent with the athletes that are coming through the program as well. They listen to the coaches they have got. They listen to the experience. I really have to give a shout out to Nancy Rabensdorf, for preparing Lucas as well in both the long jump and hurdle events.”
In the 110 hurdles, Heyroth had a winning time of 14.56 seconds and he clocked in at :39.19 in the 300 hurdles.
Heyroth had a distance of 22-feet, 10-inches to win the long jump.
“Despite the heat and humidity, Lucas really remained quite calm,” Skellenger said. “It seemed like he’d had two years to visualize his junior state meet and he executed perfectly.”
Melvin McIntyre also made it to the medal podium after placing sixth in the pole vault with his height of 13-6.
“Melvin was able to move his way up the placements and onto the medal stand by being flawless through 13-feet,” Skellenger said. “His first miss occurred at 13-feet on his first attempt, but then cleared it on his second attempt. Without those early makes in competition, we wouldn’t have come away with the team title.”
Brody Nyffenegger also garnered big points for the Lodi boys. He was seventh in the triple jump (43-2) and 13th in the 100 (:11.45).
“I really felt for Brody in the final round of the triple jump,” Skellenger said. “His final distance put him in seventh overall and only 2-inches out of the second-place spot.”
Lodi’s Parker Heintz came away with 11th place in the 800 (2:01.56).
The Blue Devils’ last medal came in the 800 relay, where Marcus Malig, Nyffenegger, Cayden Coddington and Heyroth finished fourth (1:31.19).
“I can’t say enough about the relay,” Skellenger said. “We inched up on several teams over the final two legs which put us into the fourth-place spot. We were gaining on third but ran out of real estate.”
Connor Pecard, Sean Crowder, Amos Weber and Heintz added a 13th-place finish in the 3,200 relay (8:31.47).
The Blue Devil girls had their share of outstanding finishes. Lauryn Milne led the way with a fourth-place finish in the triple jump (36-3).
“Lauryn had an excellent day in triple jump finishing fourth overall,” Skellenger said. “She was our senior Rockstar all season and today she finished on a high note and near her school record. She’ll be off to UW Lacrosse in the fall to compete in basketball and track and field, so her career isn’t done quite yet.”
Milne was also 11th in the 200 (:26.48).
Lily Strong competed in the sprints for the Lodi girls. She was eighth in the 100 (:12.61) and 14th in the 200 (:26.58).
“Lily had an amazing state meet in her first appearance as a sophomore,” Skellenger said. “To PR in both races was a pretty big accomplishment and she has two seasons left to keep moving up.”
The Blue Devils’ Ella Puls earned 11th place in the shot put (36-3).
“Ella didn’t have her best day, but you can’t always have your best day at the state meet,” Skellenger said. “She ended up setting the school record this year by 6-feet and will be hungry to return next year to go after the state title again.”
The Lodi girls also medaled in one relay event. Lexi Meek, Dylann Harrington, Puls and Milne were eighth in the 1,600 relay (4:10.72).
The list of state champions on the boys’ side included Luke Vance (GET, 100 and 200), Nathan Cumberbatch (Shorewood, 400 and 800), Hunter Krepline (Brillion, 1,600), Shane Griepentrog (Valders, 3,200), De’Shawn Barsness (Wisconsin Heights, high jump), Luke Haase (Osceola, pole vault), Camden Combs (Beloit Turner, triple jump), Logan Cleary (Nekoosa, shot put) and Gavin Fritsch (Little Chute, discus).
Earning state titles on the girls’ side was Delea Martins (Shorewood, 100 and 200). Eliana Sheplee (Rice Lake, 400), Nora Gremban (Northland Pines, 800 and 1,600), Mikaela Helling (Two Rivers, 3,200), Ellyse Wolfrath (Fox Valley Lutheran, 100 hurdles), Sam Bartels (Freedom, 300 hurdles), Kalli Knoble (La Crosse Logan, high jump), Annie Murphy (Big Foot, pole vault and triple jump), Kylie McCormick (Xavier, long jump), Kayla Will (Lake Mills, shot put) and Linnea Willer (Freedom, discus).