The Big Foot/Williams Bay track and field team had a season to remember this spring, capped off with a Division 2 state meet performance that featured two state championships, two runner-ups and three new school records.
All of those stellar performances came in jumping events.
Junior Annie Murphy won a state title for the girls in both the pole vault and triple jump, junior Tyler Wilson was runner-up for the boys triple jump, and freshman Kaden Rambatt was runner-up in the boys pole vault.
Murphy’s state titles were the first for the BFWB girls program since 2016’s win by the 4x800 relay team, and the first overall since 2017 when Jackson Enz won the 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles for the boys team.
It also was the first podium placements since 2018, when Zanzie Demco took third in the 800 for the girls team and Ben Martin was fourth in the 110 hurdles for the boys.
While the main reason for that stellar season was having a trio of great athletes, those athletes believe it helped that they all competed in overlapping events that allowed them to spend practices and meets hyping each other up.
“Yeah, I’d say to motivate each other to keep improving,” Rambatt said.
The BFWB coaching staff has taken a bit of an “it takes a village” approach to mentoring the jumpers, as head coach Greg Lueck coaches the long jumpers and triple jumpers, Kaden’s father Dan Rambatt coaches the pole vaulters, and even retired coach/athletic director Tim Collins stops by from time to time to give the field athletes pointers.
It also helps that this was the first season the track team used the new facilities that were built after the 2018 athletic referendum passed, which allowed the athletes to train on some of the best surfaces and equipment the area has to offer.
“The facility we have now really helps too. It’s brought to life this,” Lueck said.
Prior to the season, this sort of a successful campaign would seem like a bit of a surprise. None of the athletes had ever made it to the sectional round in a track season, let alone making it to state or doing well on the grand stage.
On the other hand, there was signs that each of the three was destined to make a splash.
The most noticeable of those signs came from Murphy, a stellar all-around athlete that won both individual and team state titles in the gymnastics season over the winter. Wilson is another strong all-around athlete, a star on the basketball court and football field for the Chiefs, though with no track experience prior to the season, it took a bit of time for him to find which event suited him best.
“Tyler and Annie, they’re gifted natural athletes. Tyler could have gone to state in another event if he really focused on another event, high jump or long jump, same thing with Annie,” Lueck said.
For Kaden Rambatt, pole vaulting was clearly his event of choice. With a father and two older brothers that all vaulted at BFHS, including a few school records set in the family as well, Kaden started in the sport young, even winning high-profile youth track meets in middle school.
All three of the ChiefDogs’ track stars may have been unknowns heading into this season, but they all return next year and will be clear favorites to contend for state titles, whether it is repeat performances or first-time wins.