2013 Top 50 Lists Summary
By Mike Krugel
Another season of Wisconsin high school girls' track and field in the books and another season dotted with many performances for the record books. Even with the abysmal weather that plagued the sport most of the outdoor season, almost 100 updates were made to the Top 50 lists through the end of the state meet. An additional nine were made over the course of the first two weeks of the summer season. Of these, there were five new all-time best marks set in four events - two by the same athlete improving her own #1 mark twice during the season, one by a relay team improving its record from last year, and two by new record-holders - although not unfamiliar names!
The new top marks achieved this year included Milwaukee Riverside breaking their own 4x400 record set at last year's state finals. In the Division 1 Regionals at Cedarburg on 5/20/2013, they destroyed their old record, clocking an amazing 3:50.23. Their record-setting relay team members included two pairs of sisters - Angel (sophomore) and Crystal (senior) Malone and Helen (sophomore) and Valerie (senior) Thames. This was the same quartet who posted the old record of 3:53.07 last year in La Crosse.
Valerie Thames also set the new standard for the 300 Meter Hurdles when she posted a 43.04 in the finals at the state meet. This bested one of the oldest records in the Top 50 lists - the 43.30 run by Tracy Mattes of Milwaukee Pius XI at the Metro Conference Championships back in 1987. This record had not been seriously threatened in the last fifteen years, with one having to go back to 1997 to find the last hurdler to run a time within .35 seconds of it. Only two older records remain in the books - Wendy Markham of Cedarburg and Sharon Dollins of Janesville Parker set their high jump and long jump marks back in 1980.
Also at the state meet, Mikayla Robertson broke Priya Hoze's eleven-year-old triple jump record when she posted a 40' 4 " mark on her first attempt in prelims. The old mark had been 39' 7.75 " set by Hoze (Milwaukee King) at the USATF Nationals in Omaha, NE on 7/27/2002. In an incredible series of jumps at the state meet, Mikayla's second jump was equal to the old top mark of 39' 7.75 " and her third jump was also over 39'. Her fourth-best jump was long enough to have won the state meet by over eight inches. She ended the day with five of the six longest jumps at the meet, all divisions included. It truly was one of the most dominating triple jump performances I personally have ever seen. Obviously, there was added noteworthiness in her effort - Mikayla will always be the first 40' triple jumper in Wisconsin High School Girls history.
Finally, Wrightstown's Bonnie Draxler set the top mark in the pole vault - twice! On 4/16/2013 in a triangular meet at Manitowoc Lutheran, Bonnie cleared 13' 5 " to break her own record of 13' 4.25" set on 7/8/2012 at the USATF Region 8 Meet at UW-Oshkosh. Then on 6/15/2013, Bonnie "raised the bar" again with her 13' 7.25" vault at the USATF WI Meet at Carroll University. The summer is still young, so there should be multiple opportunities for Bonnie to challenge her own mark before she returns for her senior year next season!
In addition to the all-time records mentioned above, a number of new top-five marks were established during 2013. Kennedy Blahnik of Algoma improved her own second-best all-time mark in the shot put with her 49' 1.5 " throw in the state finals on 5/31. Danielle Riggins of Kenosha Tremper moved into the number two slot in the 100-meter high hurdles with her 13.94 effort at the Lake Geneva Badger Division 1 Regional on 5/20. She had previously been 6th on the all-time list in that event. Her teammate ToNaya Gulley was close behind in the same race with a 14.01, tying her for the fourth-best time ever. Riggins also posted the fourth-best 200 ever at the USATF WI meet at Carroll University on 6/15 when she raced to a time of 23.92. This moved her up one notch, as she had been fifth. Finally, in her finest moment of an incredible Saturday at the state meet, Hannah Rohde of Waukesha West tied the second-fastest 400 time ever with her winning effort of 54.92. As all of these athletes except Hannah return next year for their senior seasons, one would think that the recent assault on the #1 marks has a very good chance of continuing in 2014!
As I have done in the past, I'd like to recognize the seniors graduating with top-five-ever marks. Most were mentioned above, but all deserve some additional discussion here.
Crystal Malone and Valerie Thames of Milwaukee Riverside graduated earlier this spring, leaving their younger sisters as custodians of their combined all-time best 4x400 relay mark. Crystal also appears in the Top 50 400-meter list. As mentioned earlier, Valerie posted the new standard for 300 hurdlers at the state meet with her 43.04 clocking. She leaves the high school ranks with the seventh-best high hurdles time, as well. I'm certain both move on to college with fond memories of their Division 1 team title in 2012.
Alison Parker and Claire Knaus leave Neenah as two of the four runners from that school holding the all-time mark in the 4x800 relay. Set in 2012, the mark they helped establish broke a record that had stood since the first year the 4x800 relay was run at the state meet. I would venture to predict that the 9:00.42 standard they set last year will stand the test of time as well as the record they broke did. Teaming with Alison's sisters - twins Jennifer and Jessica - in each year, Alison and Claire graduate with three state titles in the 4x800. They were never seriously challenged in any of the years (2011-13). Alison also holds the #13 spot on the all-time 800 list and has another five top-four finishes at the state meet, including the 800-meter championship in 2011 (I hope I didn't miss any!).
Mikayla Robertson of Menomonee Falls went out in spectacular fashion, as described earlier. When her 40' 4 " mark flashed on the display board after her first triple jump at the state meet, an audible gasp could be heard as many people in the crowd knew that they had just witnessed WI track and field history. It capped a highly successful track and field career for Mikayla - she fished no worse than sixth in the triple jump in her four visits to the state meet. In setting the all-time mark, she broke a 26-year-old state record.
Alex Flucke of Ashwaubenon leaves as the all-time #4 pole vaulter, earning that spot in 2012 with a vault of 12' 10 ". She qualified for state each of her four years, never taking lower than fifth place. She won the event twice at state, and is currently one of three co-holders of the Division 1 state record with her 12' 6 " effort in 2012.
Lastly, Hannah Rohde of Waukesha West finished her high-school career in stellar fashion, winning all three Division 1 sprint events and nearly leading her team to team title, as West finished just two points behind state champion Kenosha Tremper. In setting an all-divisions state record of 54.92 in the 400 finals, she tied the second-best time ever run in that event by a Wisconsin high school girl. She won a tremendous 100-meter final race by one hundredth of a second and a close 200 race, as well. She also leaves high school in the top 20 all-time in both the 100 and 200-meter dashes.
As always, I apologize if I've missed any names/teams people were hoping to see - there are so many deserving athletes that it's difficult to include them all! I look forward to continuing to maintain the Top 50 Lists next year - I always welcome any input provided to me.
On a final note, I would like to thank Dave Figi for posting the Top 50 Lists on his extraordinary website dedicated to Wisconsin Girls High School Track and Field. I have enjoyed getting to know Dave over the past few years, as my daughters have made their ways through high school. I have admired his love for the sport and his attention to detail. In twenty years of maintaining the Honor Rolls and possibly as long his Wisconsintrackonline website, he has devoted countless and mostly thankless hours providing an incredible service to track and field fans both in Wisconsin and other states. It sound like Dave has decided to "retire" his website after the summer season is done, although he has graciously offered to post the Top 50 Lists I will continue to update. I, for one, will greatly miss the outstanding pictures, articles, and, of course, the honor roll lists that Dave has provided in such a timely and meticulous manner all of these years. I wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement.