Wykon distance runners ran through the slush, past huge snowbanks, as they get ready for track season. From left: Nolan Raab, Mike Barker, Brandon Clifford, Colton Pangrazzi and Brandon Olson.
IRON RIVER—Winter showed few signs of backing down last week, so West Iron County’s track team mostly stayed indoors as it got ready for its first event of the season.
Barring one more major snowstorm, the season will start Tuesday, March 26, at Northland Pines’ indoor fieldhouse in Eagle River. Think of it as the first robin for area spring sports.
After that, the Wykons have to wait at least until April 16, when the team is scheduled for an outdoor meet at Lakeland Union High School in Minocqua.
But as the long-running cold spell continues and mountains of white remain unmelted, that start date is looking shakier with each passing day.
WIC boys Coach Dan Schive said it’s hard for him to tell what he has until the team can get outdoors. “Working out in the gym is ridiculous,” he said, “but I’m not going to send sprinters outside.”
Since the high school hallways are 100 yards long, “We run a lot of sprints in the hallways and work on handoffs.” In the gym, the sprinters get to work with starting blocks.
The boys team has 17 members, and the major returnees are senior Tyler Stafford and juniors Colton Pangrazzi and Chasz Jonet.
Stafford won the 100 and long jump at last year’s regional tournament. At the U.P. Finals, he was a very close second in the 100 and third in long jump. Pangrazzi won the 400 at regionals and was second in the 800. He placed in both events at the U.P.’s. Jonet was first in shot at regionals, fifth at the U.P.’s. Brandon Olson, a sophomore, was third in the 400 at regionals.
The boys 400 and 800 relay teams both were second at the U.P.’s, and Schive said the Wykons will be strong with sprinters again.
As of last week, he was looking at Stafford, junior Andrew Peterson, freshman Jake Polich and junior Ryan Rogers for the 400. “But [sophomore Nick] Thoney looks really fast, so he may slide into there, too.
The 800 team could be Peterson, Thoney, Rogers and Polich or freshman Austin Petts. Stafford could run in the 800 relay, but Schive said he may opt for the 200 run instead. “That’s up to him, because he’s a senior.”
“We’re pretty solid and pretty fast, in freshmen and sophomores Stafford will do his job. Rogers will run relays. Petts, we’ll have to see. Polich will run relays.”
As of last week, the Wykons will have Jonet, Bryson Heimerl and Peterson on shot; Peterson on disc; Mike Barker and Brandon Clifford on middle distances; Joe Pisoni and Tylor Capadagli on hurdles; and Capadagli on pole vault.
WIC’s girls team finished third at last year’s Division 2 U.P. finals, and several key members of that team will return for Coach Kristi Berutti this year: Kylee Erickson, Megan Miatech, Cassilyn Pellizzer and Emilie Christensen.
Erickson earned team points at the U.P. finals in both the 800 and 1600 runs and was a member of the first place 1600 and 3200 relay teams. She was third in the 1600 and fourth in 800 at regionals.
Pellizzer was third in high jump and fifth in the 400 at U.P.’s and also was on the winning 1600 team. She won the 400 at regionals and was third at the West Pac meet. Christensen was fourth in high jump at the U.P. Finals.
Miatech was first in the shot at regionals, a close second at the West Pac meet and fifth in both shot and discus at the U.P. Finals.
The Wykons girls took third place in Division 2 at the U.P. Finals last year. They finished second at their regional and were third at the West Pac Conference meet.
“We have 40 girls,” said Berutti, “and maybe 10 returning letter-winners.” There are plenty of young girls on the team.”
Last year, of course, saw a record warm March, and the girls spent a lot of time outside. This year, it hasn’t even been mild, much less warm.
“It just limits what we can do—we can’t do a lot inside,” Berutti said. “We’ve just been mainly conditioning.” She will use the Northland Pines meet mostly as another practice as the team gets ready for the outdoor season’s start.