2015 Top 50 Lists Summary
By Mike Krugel
Greetings from Virginia and apologies for the delay in putting together this year's summary. As many of you know, my wife and I moved here last June and moved into a new house in late May of this year. Still many things to keep us busy, but I wanted to give this year's standouts their "props" while the memories are still fresh! This was the first time in eight years that I wasn't able to attend the state meet in person, although I did catch a couple of other competitions earlier in the year while back in Wisconsin visiting. The 2015 Wisconsin high school girls' track and field season resulted in yet another major rewrite of the Top 50 Lists. 126 updates were made to the lists from meets completed through July 26th. Included were 34 new top-10 and 12 new top-5 marks. (Note: some of these were the same athlete improving marks set earlier in the 2015 season). While no new all-time bests were set, five different girls came ever-so-close with second place efforts. In addition, Gabby Beauvais of Monona Grove capped her senior year with the best individual performance point-wise in D1 state meet history by scoring 36 points, sweeping the sprint events and placing third in the long jump with a mark that actually beat the prior state record, which had been set 21 years ago. While breaking the prior best D1 total of 34 points set by Chidera Obasih of Brookfield Central in 2010, Gabby posted the second-best 400-meter (54.82) and fifth-best 200-meter (23.91) times ever.
Nine individual top-five marks (including the two just mentioned) were established this year in nine different events by eight different girls, with Gabby being the only athlete with two such efforts in 2015. In addition, three relay teams raced their ways into top five positions, as well. Other second-best all-time efforts were posted by senior Natisha Hiedeman of Green Bay Southwest in the triple jump, senior Tierney Lindner of Sun Prairie in the high jump, sophomore Josie Schaefer of Baraboo in the discus, and sophomore Cami Davre of Whitefish Bay in the 800. Josie's monster throw of 169' 4' at the Baraboo Invitational on May 11th left her behind only Jill Pedretti's (Verona) 174' 1" effort from 1999. In breaking the iconic Suzy Favor's (Stevens Point) thirty-year-old state record in the 800-meter run on June 5th, Cami's 2:09.22 effort missed the all-time best mark by a mere .08 seconds. She has two more years to try to surpass Onalaska runner Jami Hill's 2:09.14 effort from 2008.
I will touch on the other second-best efforts in the senior recaps to follow, along with any other top-five efforts by 2015 seniors. Junior Kylie Swiekatowski moved from fifth-place on last year-end's list to into a tie for third place with her 13' effort in the pole vault at the D1 Regional on May 26th at New London, becoming only the fifth 13' vaulter in state history in the process. Finally, on June 5th in the D2 State Preliminaries, junior Mikaela Grant posted the fourth-best 300-meter hurdle time ever with her 43.63 clocking.
In the relays, Kenosha Bradford's 4x200 team consisting of seniors Jackie Baldwin and Faith Taylor and juniors Alexus Nelson and Madison Marko took over the third-best slot in that event with a time of 1:39.40 in the D1 finals at La Crosse on June 6th. One day earlier at the same meet, the Sussex Hamilton 4x400 team consisting of junior Taylor Klug and sophomores Mariana Feudner, Chelsea Parker, and Bianca Stubler posted the third-best time ever in that event with their 3:53.13 effort in the D1 preliminaries. One would think that Milwaukee Riverside's all-time best mark of 3:50.23 in 4x400 could be in jeopardy the next couple of years, given the ages of the Sussex Hamilton team members and some other schools returning at least three runners from top-notch teams. Milwaukee King's 4x400 relay was one such team, posting a top-five effort at the Oconomowoc Sectionals on May 29th, with their 3:53.21 time securing the fourth slot. King's team will return three of the four runners next year, as Jhane Thornton was the only senior on the team, joining junior Aneisha White and sophomores Siara Jones and Kiersten Walker in their sectional effort, the same sectional that Sussex Hamilton ran at.
I will also make mention here that seven of the eight runners from the third and fourth-place teams at that sectional return - those teams posted the sixth and seventh-best all-time marks at the sectional meet. Should make for some great 4x400 competition for next year and beyond!
Next, I will continue my tradition of recognizing the seniors graduating with top-five-ever marks. Most were mentioned above, but all deserve some additional discussion here.
Kenosha Bradford teammates Jackie Baldwin and Faith Taylor graduated as members of the third-best 4x200 relay squad ever, as stated earlier. In winning the D1 state title on June 6th, they destroyed a strong field - five other teams in the race posted Top 50 times at the state meet and a sixth did so at sectionals - winning by almost three seconds. Their time of 1:39.40 was only the fourth ever sub-1:40 time and left them less than a second behind only the epic Bradley Tech 2008 and 2009 teams led by the incomparable Dezerea Bryant. Jackie also leaves high school with the tenth-best efforts in both the 100 and 200-meter dashes, finishing second in both events at this year's D1 state meet.
Jhane Thornton of Milwaukee King leaves high school as a member of the fourth-best 4x400 unit ever. As mentioned above, King posted a time of 3:53.21 at the loaded Oconomowoc Sectional on May 29th, vaulting them into the #3 slot at that time, with Sussex Hamilton dropping them into the fourth slot a week later with their effort at La Crosse.
Rayce Albino of New Berlin West moves on to the next level tied with two others as the third-best pole vaulters in WI history, earning her share of that spot in 2014 with a vault of 13' at the AAU National Qualifier at Park Center High School in Minnesota. She qualified for state each of her four years, winning in 2013 and 2015 and taking third last year.
Milwaukee Madison's Jade Nolan enjoyed a tremendous senior campaign, one that saw her move up to third in the long jump in breaking a 21-year-old state record. Her 19' 8.5" effort topped the old record, held by Brittany Rusch of Wausau East, by nine inches. She topped arguably the best top-end field in state history by six inches - two of the other competitors also topped the previous state meet mark. Jade had podium finishes in both the long and triple jumps at the 2014 state meet and also leaves high school with a top-20 all-time mark in the triple jump.
Tierney Lindner of Sun Prairie became the first 5' 10" high jumper in eleven years when she cleared that height at the Big Eight Conference Meet on May 15th of this year. She enjoyed a spirited rivalry with Brookfield East's Khadiya Hollingsworth the past few years, besting her in winning the state title in 2014 and finishing a close second behind Khadiya this year. Tierney joined five others tied for second place on the all-time list, each of them looking up only to the magical 6' clearance of Wendy Markham of Cedarburg thirty five years ago. Tierney qualified for state in the high jump each of her four years and also was a member of numerous strong relay squads that represented Sun Prairie at La Crosse over the past three years.
Natisha Hiedeman of Green Bay Southwest leaves high school as a two-time state champion in the triple jump, winning in both 2014 and 2015. Earlier this year, she became only the second forty-foot triple jumper in girls' state history, joining Menomonee Falls' Mikayla Robertson with a 40-foot even effort at the Al Vandenberg Invitational at Ashwaubenon on May 9th. In addition to her #2 spot on the all-time triple jump list, Natisha appears on both the high jump and long jump Top 50 lists, as well. She qualified for state in all three jump events in three of her four years, narrowly missing in the high jump as a junior. In addition to her two wins at state in the triple jump, she had five other top-six finishes at the state meet during her high school career - appearing on the podium at least once each year - and also one other scoring effort at La Crosse. Apparently not content with being an elite competitor in "only" three events, she also made finals at state in the high hurdles in 2014.
Lastly, Gabby Beauvais of Monona Grove ended her senior year in spectacular fashion. As mentioned in the opening paragraph, she set an all-time D1 state record for points in individual events with her 36-point effort in June. In her four years of high school, she scored 77 points in individual events at state, tallying at least 11 in each year. She was on the podium in those events an amazing eleven times, with only one of those finishes lower than fourth. While I am unaware of a reliable compilation of career statistics at the state meet (please contact me if you're aware of something I might refer to - I'd like to take a shot at compiling something on my own once I retire!), I am sure this total would rank quite high on such a list (I was able to come up with two who have scored more - Holmen's Joanna Schultz and the aforementioned Obasih). Her efforts at La Crosse this year also left her as the fifth-best 200 and second-best 400-meter female sprinter in WI high school history. In addition, she leaves as the sixth-best long jumper with a mark of 19' 3.5" achieved at sectionals in 2014 and further appears on the Top-50 list for the 100-meter dash. Well done, Gabby!
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 continuing to maintain his extraordinary website dedicated to Wisconsin Girls High School Track and Field. I won't make any predictions about his return next year, but will state this obvious in saying that it will be a HUGE loss when he and wisconsintrackonline.com do decide to "retire". His attention to detail makes the updating of the Top 50 lists much easier than it might otherwise be.