Middle Border, Big Rivers conferences made major impacts in spring sports

If you look for spots around Wisconsin that produced the best high school sports in the state this spring, our area would rank among the best.
Between the Middle Border and Big Rivers conferences, there was a huge amount of success accomplished this spring.
Start with four WIAA state championship teams, plus a runner-up team. Add in a state individual champion golfer, four WIAA track state titles and enough state qualifiers to fill a cruise ship and you start to understand everything that these 15 area high school athletic programs accomplished.
Start with the fact that our area produced two of the four state championship teams. Chippewa Falls earned gold in Division 1 and Baldwin-Woodville reached the pinnacle in Division 2.
Then there’s baseball, where Prescott earned the Division 3 state team championship and Ellsworth took second place in Division 2.
Girls track teams from the Middle Border Conference also stood out. Four of the eight MBC track teams produced top 20 team finishes at the 2012 WIAA state meet. New Richmond’s girls placed 10th in Division 1. Osceola led the MBC girls in Division 2 with a fifth place finish. Somerset and Ellsworth both ranked among the top 20 teams in Division 2 as well.
The state track champions in the area begin with both Division 2 discus champions. Amery’s Ryan Johnson won the boys event with a throw of 171 feet, 10 inches. Ellsworth’s Abbey Ristow matched that accomplishment, winning the girls event with a throw of 129 feet, 4 inches.
Osceola’s female sprinters, anchored by Aimee Rice-Strand, set a Division 2 state record in winning the 400 meter relay. Rice-Strand also took second place in the 100 and 200 meter dashes.
Rice Lake’s Wally Ellenson captivated the state crowd with his attempt to break the state record in the high jump. He finished with a winning height of 6 feet, 10 inches.
Menomonie’s Stefani Friedenfels was one of the bigger surprises of the state meet. She improved her triple jump distance from sectionals by more than three feet to win the state event with a leap of 38 feet, 6 inches.
Our 15 schools produced 24 state medalists, meaning they placed in the top six in their state events.
As long as there are Danielsons in Osceola, there’s likely to be a state championship trophy placed in the Chieftains’ trophy case at the end of the season. Charlie Danielson earned his second Division 2 state championship this season. He had to defeat Madison Edgewood’s Johnny Decker in a two-hole playoff after they both shot rounds of 148 in the state tournament. The Danielson family has now produced nine WIAA state championships. Lindsay earned four state titles before taking her golf career to UW-Madison. Younger sister Casey has won three straight championships heading into her senior season this fall.
The River Falls boys golfers were also competing at state, finishing eighth among the Division 1 entries.
Our area produced seven state tennis singles qualifiers, along with eight doubles teams that advanced to state. The Eau Claire Memorial boys reached the semifinals of the Division 1 team state competition.
What does this say about our conferences? Pretty clearly, it shows that the strong overall talent in both conferences pushes individuals and teams to achieve greater things. There are expectations to succeed and every school tries to carry its weight in making each conference highly successful.