|Mario Blanquel qualified for state in the discus. (click for larger version)|
June 01, 2011 | 08:37 AMLast Thursday at the WIAA Division 1 Badger Sectional at Badger High School, Tristan Sproul and Megan Mulligan weren't about to let the season end for the Badger girls track squad.
Sproul, a sophomore, and Mulligan, a senior, are headed back to this weekend's state meet for a second straight year at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse after combining to qualify in five events including three individual spots and two relays.
Mulligan took second in both the 100 (13.14) and 200 (26.6). The standout just missed out on the sectional title in the 200 by .04 seconds behind Janesville Craig's Maggie Slatter, who also edged Mulligan in the 100. Furthermore, Mulligan along with Annie Gaugert, Carly Beil and Alyssa Humphrey qualified for state in the 400 relay, taking second in 51.02 seconds, less than a second behind Waterford's 50.63.
Sproul made sure distance runners will be represented at state for Badger. She nabbed third in the 800 with a 2:28.05. Also, she joined the 3,200 relay team of Karina Reeves, Aaryn Edge and Alyssa Olsen, which took second with a time of 9:56.86.
With five qualifying events, girls coach Jenn Jaeger couldn't have asked for much more.
"I'm very happy about how tonight turned out," she said. "With all the girls and alternates, we are bringing 12 girls to state. I'm proud of all the girls for qualifying for state. I'm really excited. A lot of girls were on the bubble coming into sectionals, and we pulled through in those instances."
Jaeger believes the 400 and 3,200 relay could each break the school record at state. Mostly, she hopes the girls are at the top of their games.
"I want to have everyone have personal bests," she said. "These girls are going to state for a reason. They have all worked really hard."
Ruzga, Blanquel move on for boys
The boys track squad will send a couple of first-timers to Friday's state meet.
Junior Eddy Ruzga paced the boys, qualifying by taking second place in the 110 high hurdles (15.02) and the 300 hurdles (39.53). Also, senior Mario Blanquel advanced in the discus, taking third with a solid toss of 151-0.
Boys coach AJ Curtis was very proud of the two boys.
"We were hoping to get a couple guys through to state," he said. "Ed and Mario are extremely hard workers. They are great individuals, and they deserve every piece of success they get."
Ruzga's 15.02 was his best time of the season. Curtis also commended Ruzga's season-high split in the 1,600 relay, where Badger took eighth.
"Every coach dreams of an athlete like that," Curtis said of Ruzga. "He has been consistent all season."
Blanquel has vastly improved from last season, when his best discus throw was around the 140-0 range.
"Mario has come a long way," Curtis said. "He has improved a lot and has worked really, really hard. He is extremely dedicated."
As for the sectional, Curtis said the competition was stiff.
"We did OK overall, but there were some great teams there," he said. "There were some really great athletes. We are on the verge of getting better. It's kind of a rebuilding year for us. I'm still trying to get the kids to love the sport. But I'm definitely excited for the future. We have a lot of potential coming up."
Curtis said his guys won't just settle for participating at state.
"We want to compete well, and we are looking forward to it," he said. "It's about trying to medal. It's the first time up there for Eddy and Mario. They will have to get the jitters out then give it their all."