By Reagan Hoverman
The annual Big Rivers Conference meet, held this year in Menomonie on Monday, May 16, was a situation for the Wildcats where everything would have to go correctly to win a conference title.
The Wildcats performed close to their season averages – with a couple of student athletes exceeding expectations – which cul
minated in a third and fourth place finish for the boys’ and girls’ track and field teams at the Big Rivers Conference meet.
Throughout the year there have been two teams on the boys’ side that have produced excellence consistently in New Rich mond and Menomonie – the two teams that beat River Falls at the BRC meet with team scores of 145 and 132.5 respectively. The Wildcats finished with a total team score of 95.
River Falls head coach Max Haskins knew that it was going to be tough to battle with New Richmond and Menomonie at the BRC meet. He spoke about the results and what he made of the third
place finish for his boys.
“I thought the BRC meet shook out in a way that was pretty predictable,” Haskins said. “I knew that we had an uphill battle to overtake NR and Menomonie and that proved to be true. They both have incredibly talented kids and run tremendous pro
While Haskins spoke highly of the impressive results from NR and Menomonie, he also spoke about his athletes, their re
sults, and how hard they worked throughout a highly
competitive BRC meet.
“We got some fantastic performances from our kids,” Haskins said. “Conference is a tough meet because we ask so much from our athletes. A lot of kids did a lot of events and gave it their all for their team. I’m very proud of our team and how they battled until the very end even when victory was out of reach.”
While many student athletes produced results around their season averages, River Falls junior Jacob Gilbertson had one of the best days of his track and field career. He finished third in the
meter dash and second in the 200 meter dash, scoring 14 of River Falls’ points early in the meet.
“(Jacob Gilbertson) had a heck of a day,” Haskins said. “He
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set personal records in both open events, dropping his 100
meter time by 0.34 seconds and his 200 meter time by 0.65 seconds, as well as anchoring the 4×200 meter relay to a win.”
River Falls senior Isaac Carns also had a great showing at the conference meet. He finished second in the 300
meter hurdles and was on the first
place 4×200 meter relay and the third
distance and relay events have been the strength of River Falls all season, and that certainly remained true at the Big Rivers Conference meet in Menomonie last Monday afternoon. Haskins spoke about the relays and their construction.
“We had a few new faces on our 4×100 and (sophomore Jacob Lane), and (sophomore Trey Hartung) so it was tremendous to see those guys step in and perform while the lights were brightest. They had been waiting for their shot all year and their hard work paid off.”
The relays in track and field are some of the most competitive events at any given meet throughout the entire season. For River Falls, the 4×400 meter dash has been a work in progress all sea
son. At the BRC meet, they finished third among some of the toughest relay groups in western Wisconsin.
“Our 4×400 relay team has been trending in the right direction all year and had another strong showing,” Haskins said. “Being in the top three of those relays is no easy task, so I’m incredibly proud of our kids and the hard work they’ve put in to be in a po
sition to do that.”
As for the girls’ side of the Big Rivers Conference meet, River Falls posted a fourth
place team score of 93.5 points. The Wild
cats trailed only Hudson, Eau Claire Memorial and New Rich
Notable results for River Falls include junior Rebecca Ran
dleman, who posted a second place finish in the 100
meter dash and a third
place finish in the 200
meter dash. Sophomore Lilly Jensen earned a second place finish in the 800
meter run with a time of 2:25.37.
Senior hurdler Brianna Strehlau secured a first
place finish in the 100
meter hurdles, winning by half of a second against sec
place Ellen Somerville of Hudson. Similar to what the boys’ team did, the girls’ team had strong showings in nearly every relay event.
The group of seniors Elise Frisbie and Allie Humburg and jun
iors Abi Banitt and Rebecca Randleman secured a first
ish in the 4×200 meter relay. The girls also had success in the
meter relay. The relay group of Frisbie, Humburg, and sen
ior Josephine Johnson and junior Brooklyn Silloway earned a sec
place finish in the 4×100.
River Falls also earned a third
place finish in the 4×400 meter relay. Senior Zoe Wise just missed out on all
conference honors with a fourth
place finish in the girls’ triple jump event. Haskins spoke about how the conference shook out for both the boys’ and girls’ teams.
“We had a lot of kids place very highly, but I don’t think we had anyone come out of the woodwork for a super surprising fin
ish,” Haskins said. “We needed a few dominoes to fall our way to get a team title and that didn’t quite happen.”
Up next, the Wildcats compete in the WIAA Division 1 Re
gional at the Hudson High School on Monday, May 23. The meet was slated to begin at 3:30 p.m.