River Ridge Track gets ready for postseason

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Expected parameter 1 to be an array, bool given in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property 'settings' of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Warning: array_merge(): Expected parameter 1 to be an array, bool given in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in include() (line 24 of /home/pdccourier/www/www/sites/all/modules/simpleads/templates/simpleads_ajax_call.tpl.php).

By A.J. Gates


River Ridge coach Shane Sperle knows the road to this year’s WIAA State Track and Field Championships will not be an easy one, but what he has seen so far from his top athletes gives him a good feeling heading into tournament action.

While only two members of this year’s boys and girls squad return with any experience at the state meet, there are a number of others looking to make their first trip to La Crosse come later this month.

Without a doubt, the favorite to make a return trip to the state meet is senior thrower Shayna Graf, who as a freshman advanced in the shot put where she placed 19th, and as a sophomore advanced in both throwing events, placing eighth in the shot put and 12th in the discus. Last season as a junior she just missed out on a third consecutive trip to state with a fifth-place finish in the shot put at the Lancaster Sectional.

“Shayna has had a fantastic career for us and has put in a lot of time over her career and her performances this season have been consistently at a high level all season long,” Sperle said. “After just missing out last season at making state, I know Shayna is excited for the opportunity to make another attempt at getting back to state.”

Aside from Graf, the only other retuning athletes from last year’s girls squad with any sectional experience are senior Saige Childs and junior Melissa Sletten, who were both members of the 4x200 relay team that finished 13th at Lancaster.

On the boys side, there will be a number of athletes looking to make their first trip to the state meet, which include senior Matthew Nies and junior Elliott Thornton.

Nies and Thornton both missed out on a state berth last season, Nies finishing sixth in the high jump at last year’s sectional meet, and Thornton sixth in the discus.

Nies has been the leading scorer for this year’s River Ridge boys squad and has climbed into the top five all-time leading scorers for the River Ridge track and field program.

“Matthew has done well all season in the triple jump and high jump,” said coach Sperle. “We are hoping Matthew can finish off a great high school career with great efforts in the tournament series.

“Elliott has had a great season for us in the throws and is close to breaking our school record in the discus,” Sperle added. “We have an extremely difficult regional and sectional in the discus and it might take a school record throw to get to La Crosse this season.”

The team’s only returner with any state experience is junior Bryy Clark who was a member of last year’s 4x200 relay team that placed sixth, while fellow junior Colton Moris was a sectional participant in the 110 hurdles.

“The road to get out of our regional and sectional this season is as difficult as any year I can remember,” coach Sperle said. “Any athlete or relay that advances during the tournament will have earned it, as there are so many big-time performers in the area this season.”

The Timberwolves have already put together another impressive season, having both the boys and girls finishing first at the Southwestern Invite, Cassville/Potosi Invite and Timberwolf Invite, while the boys also finished second at the Six Rivers Conference Meet and the girls third.

“I am very proud of both teams on how they competed at the conference meet,” said coach Sperle. “Both teams exceeded their point expectations and performed very well.”

The Timberwolves hosted this year’s D3 regional meet, and those who qualified will move on to Thursday’s Bangor Sectional.

To qualify for the WIAA State Championships, one must first be among the top four finishers in their event at the regional meet, then among the top four finishers in their event at sectionals. Extra qualifiers are awarded to those athletes or relays whose sectional performance ranks among the eight best of all sectional performances.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet