Indoor track meets show the great possibilities for spring teams

Indoor track meets have grown into a major learning tool for area track coaches.
These days, any team that doesn’t compete in indoor meets puts themselves weeks behind the teams that do compete indoors.
There have been several major indoor meets in the area already this spring, like the Northern Badger Invite at UW-Stout and the All-America Invite at UW-River Falls. For track athletes who are looking to get to the WIAA state meet, these early season looks at the competition are incredibly important in gauging how athletes compare with the competition.
Just as important in the overall spectrum of track progress are smaller indoor meets. These meets are coaching tools. The coaches can have their less experienced athletes go through the routines that are involved in prepping for their events.
These meets are also a key piece in the evolution of the team. The veteran track athletes get their turns to help teach the younger athletes all the keys of track meets, from when to warm up to setting blocks to marking off steps in the jumping events. Every great track athlete was a newbie at some point, and this is their time in the life cycle of the track athlete to pass on their knowledge.
The area track teams have already shown that this is going to be an incredible season. There are a number of athletes who’ve posted notice that they could make an impact at the state level this season.
Here are a few of the track athletes and teams that have already proven they can make big things happen this season.
Girls distance runners: Katie Wetzstein of Hudson, Paige Skorseth of River Falls, Sarah McMahon of Colfax, Andi Ostenso of Ladysmith and McKenzie Fortier of Osceola have all shown they are threats to get to state.
Girls sprints: New Richmond’s Kat Keller was one of the top sprinters in the state last year and she’s back just as strong, if not moreso. She’ll have plenty of challenges, especially when she runs against Hudson. Hudson’s Tipp sisters, Angela and Erika, lead one of the deepest groups of girls sprinters ever witnessed in this area. Hudson had four of the eight finalists in the 55 meter dash at the Northern Badger Invite. You can bet that puts Hudson in a golden situation for the sprint relays.
Girls shot put: Here’s another event where Hudson is loaded. Jamie Lindstrom set a new All-America Invite record with her effort of 41 feet, 4 inches on Saturday. This is another event where Hudson has great depth. Ashley Akey and Taylor Steffen also are posting distances beyond 36 feet. Osceola has returning state champion Paige Garriga to handle the throws again this year.
Boys distance: You’ll notice Hudson gets mentioned a lot in this post. That’s because the Raiders are stacked in nearly every event. The Raiders’ distance crew is incredible, led by Matt Rudquist and Ryan Kromer.
Pole vaulters: Hudson again. Walker MacSwain has already cleared 14 feet, 3 inches this season. Michael Congdon won the All-America Invite by clearing 13-6. He then tried for a personal record at 14-6 and had the bar cleared, but grazed it with his leg as he went over the bar. Having two athletes working together in an event is a huge bonus, because they can learn from each other and compete against each other as they continue to improve.
New Richmond runners: New Richmond’s boys look ready to defend their streak of Middle Border Conference championships, which has run to four straight. The Tigers are strong in the hurdles, led by senior Cody Taubman. With juniors Tyler Cran and Eli Kelley, the Tigers will be tough to beat in the sprints and middle distances.
Wally Ellenson: Rice Lake junior Wally Ellenson was an all-state player in basketball and he appears ready to take center stage in track as well. Ellenson has the cleared the highest mark in the state in the high jump, clearing the bar at 6 feet, 10 inches. That’s four inches better than anyone else in the state thus far.