Ladysmith’s Becker, Dupee reach podium at state track
The Ladysmith Track & Field team was represented by eight athletes in ten different events at the WIAA State Track & Field Meet on May 31 through June 1. Representing the boys team were Connor Berg and Caden Dupee, while the girls team were represented by Kylee Becker, Erica Loe, Faith Meltz, Maddy Nybakke, Holly Rands, and Cassidy Stanger.
On Friday, Caden Dupee started the day for Ladysmith competing in the High Jump and Long Jump at the same time. He would spend almost two and a half hours going back and forth competing in these two events. In High Jump, Caden was competing against 22 other boys, and was able to clear the opening height of 5’8” on his first attempt, then 5’ 10” on his first attempt, and then 6’0” with ease on his first attempt. Less than half of the other competitors were able to achieve these marks. It was after the 6’0 attempt in High Jump that Caden was called to start Long Jumping as well. In his three preliminary attempts in Long Jump, Caden jumped 19’ 1.25”, 19’ 5”, and 20’ 4.25”. His last jump qualified him to make finals where he received three additional jumps. In finals, Caden went on to better his best mark to 20’ 6”, which placed him tenth overall. In the High Jump, Caden ended up not being able to clear 6’ 2”. His foot barely knocked off the bar on his third and final attempt at this height. Many of the other competitors failed to clear this mark as well. Because Caden had no other missed prior to attempting this height, he finished in a tie for 7th place. Caden had been seeded in a sixteen-way tie for eighth at the start of the meet.
While Caden was busy with his field events, two Lumberjills were competing on the track. Kylee Becker was on the track first competing in the preliminaries of the 100m hurdles. Kylee ran a school record time of :16.03, bettering her current :16.30 school record, which qualified her sixth going into finals on Saturday.
Then it was Erica Loe’s turn in the 1600m Run. Erica entered the meet seeded fourteenth in this event. Despite not being able to run during practice for the last three weeks due to a lower leg injury. “Erica was able to run a great race and finish in twelfth place. All of her swimming and elliptical cross training during this time really paid off for her,” stated head coach Jacob Ebner.
After Erica was done running, the attention turned back to the field events, where Kylee Becker was competing in the Triple Jump. Kylee was able to get one jump in before being called to compete in the 300m Hurdles. Kylee jumped 33’ 5” before running over to check in for her hurdle race. In the 300m Hurdles, Kylee finished second in her heat and bettered her own school record from :47.10 to :46.93, which qualified her third going into finals on Saturday. Then she hustled back to Triple Jump and with tired legs jumped 31’ 5.75” and 33’ 7.75”. Her best mark was not quite enough to qualify her for finals and she finished 13th overall. She had been seeded fourteenth at the start of the meet. After Kylee was done with her 300m Hurdle race, it was time for Caden to compete in his 300m Hurdle preliminary race. Caden ended up finishing fourth in his heat, which qualified him 5th going into finals on Saturday.
Finally on Friday came the final Ladysmith competitor for the day for the both the Lumberjacks and Jills. Cassidy Stanger was competing in the finals of the 800m Run. Cassidy was in the first of two heats. She was seeded sixteenth entering the State Meet in this event and ended up finished in fifteenth place and was less than half a second away from fourteenth place. Prior to this season, Cassidy had never competed in the 800m run and had only competed in this event a few times this season before qualifying for the State Meet.
On day two of the state track meet, the Ladysmith girls 3200m relay was in the very first race of the day. The relay team of Kylee Becker, Erica Loe, Faith Meltz, Maddy Nybakke, Holly Rands, and Cassidy Stanger sent Erica Loe as the first runner, Cassidy Stanger as the second runner, Maddy Nybakke as the third runner, and Faith Meltz as the fourth runner into this race. These girls put forth an incredible effort. Over the course of the last few weeks, this relay team was really encouraging of one another and all six girls were able to compete in this really at least once during the WIAA Tournament Series, which is something that is not very common. Also, five of the six girls on this really, were making their first trip to the State Track & Field Meet. As a senior, this race also marked the last race in Cassidy Stanger’s high school career. “Her ability to compete at such a high level in the 800m Run and 3200m Relay at the end of this season, helped this relay to qualify for State and helped the girls team win a Regional Title.,” stated coach Ebner.
This race also was the last race in a Ladysmith track and field uniform for sophomore, Erica Loe, as she will be moving to Minnesota next year. “Erica’s hard work and dedication to distance running at Ladysmith has not only greatly benefited the team, but has helped her achieve a high level of individual success in both Track & Field and Cross Country,” coach Ebner pointed out.
Next up was Kylee Becker in the finals of the 100m Hurdles. Kylee entered the State Meet seeded in tenth place, moved up to sixth place after preliminaries, and ended up finishing in fourth place in finals. In finals on Saturday, she shattered the school record she set the day before, bettering it by over half a second at :15.49. At the conclusion of this race, Kylee got to stand on the podium in the middle of the infield to receive her fourth place medal.
After a long delay for an injury on the track, Connor Berg was up for the final race of his high school the career. Connor had previous qualified for the State Cross Country Meet three times, but this was his first trip to the Track & Field State Meet. Connor competed in the 1600m Run. The race was run with all of the competitors in one big aggressive pack for the first two laps in which Connor was boxed into a position that was hard for him to get out of. Once the pack started to separate, Connor gave it his best effort but couldn’t quite get up to the position he desired. “While this race didn’t quite go the way Connor hoped it would, qualifying for this meet will put the cherry on top of a very successful high school running career for Connor Berg,” coach Ebner commented
Up next was Kylee Becker in the finals of the 300m Hurdles. After a rough second hurdle, Kylee was able to recover very nicely and move herself up towards the front of the pack. She ended up bettering her own school record that she set yesterday and ran a :46.08, which had her finishing in secnd place, which was less than half a second behind the winner. At the conclusion of this race, Kylee got to stand on the podium in the middle of the infield to receive her secnd place medal.
The final race of the day was Caden Dupee in the 300m Hurdles. In an extremely talented field, Caden was able to run a great race and finish in 6th place. At the conclusion of this race, Caden got to stand on the podium in the middle of the infield to receive his 6th place medal. “This was perfect way for the senior spring dual-sport athlete to cap off a three year high school career in track and field that saw his earn 11 All-Conference medals and 5 State Qualifier medals,” coach Ebner pointed out. Caden will be competing in Track & Field at Duluth next year.
With the points that Kylee and Caden were able to score in their events at this meet, the Ladysmith girls team finished 21st and the Ladysmith boys team finished 49th overall, out of almost 200 Division three teams in the state.