A quartet of Tiger girls have qualified for the WIAA State Track & Field Championships
(Submitted photo by Dan Akin/Marshfield High School)
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — The Marshfield girls track team hit its collective peak at the perfect time.
Four Tigers girls qualified in five events for this week’s 2015 WIAA State Track & Field Championships, which will be held Friday and Saturday at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
Leading the way for the Tigers are two seniors, one with plenty of experience at the state meet and one without.
Martha Kupfer is making her third-straight trip to the state meet. After qualifying in the 200 meters as a sophomore and the 400 last year, Kupfer returns to state for two other events: the long jump and triple jump.
Kupfer took second in both events at last Friday’s Stevens Point Sectional. She had a triple jump of 36 feet, 1 inch and a long jump of 17-4 ½, which ranks her 12th out of the 24 participants in each event at the state meet.
Ashley Holubets, the other Marshfield senior to qualify for state, is making her first appearance after setting a new school record at the sectional in the 300 hurdles in a time of 46.23 seconds, more than a full second faster than her regional performance, where she won in 47.33 seconds.
Holubets battled injuries earlier in the season to fulfill her dream of breaking the school record in the event and also qualifying for her first state meet.
“I’ve been working toward it all year, but I got injured a couple of weeks into the outdoor meet (schedule),” Holubets said. “I was really devastated because I thought my season was going to be over. I’ve always wanted to break the school record in the hurdles, and this year it was really something I wanted to accomplish.”
In order to grab a top-six spot and a medal at the state meet, Holubets will have to be at her best. Her time in the 300 hurdles is ranked 11th out of the 24 runners in the event, and she will have to finish in the top nine in qualifying Friday to get a chance at a top-six finish on Saturday in the finals.
“There’s not a big difference between me and the first-place girl, so as long as I run with the people around me, I feel like I should be able to do it,” she said.
For Kupfer, the state track meet is the culmination of a stellar four-year sports career at Marshfield High School where she earned numerous varsity letters in tennis, basketball, and track.
“It’s really hard, but it’s been awesome,” Kupfer said. “I love all my coaches and all the programs. It’s kind of bittersweet. I am really thankful for everything that they’ve given me the last four years, but it’s also really sad it’s coming to an end this week.”
Joining the two seniors for the Marshfield girls are junior Amy Martorano in the discus and sophomore Stephanie Rhodes in the high jump.
Martorano was third in the discus at the sectional with a toss of 102-6, which is the 23rd best of the 24 state participants.
Rhodes had a high jump of 5-1 at the sectional, which is in the middle of the pack among the Division 1 jumpers. In order to get a medal, she will more than likely need to do something she has never done before: hit 5-3.
“These past three meets I’ve been really consistent,” Rhodes said. “I’ve been working on my speed a lot, and it’s helped me get over the bar a lot faster. I’ve always had the height and the arc to get over the bar. I’ve just been hitting it on my way down because I wasn’t fast enough. Now that, that is coming along, it’s a lot better.”
Marshfield coach Dan Akin said he is thrilled for the four girls to reach the ultimate point in a high school track athlete’s career.
“Every one of them is peaking at the right time, and they are mentally tough,” Akin said. “There was a lot of pressure on them at sectionals to come through, and each one did what they needed to do to advance.”
Calden Wojt, a junior, is the lone boy from Marshfield to make it to state. He finished third in the 400 at the sectional in 51.10 seconds, which ranks 20th out of the 24 runners in the Division 1 field.
Paul Lecker is publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com, a contributor to Hub City Times Sports. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.