New Berlin West girls to defend track titles
Vikings boys have some holes to fill, but should contend
Last year's track Indoor & Outdoor Conference Championships were the first in New Berlin West's school history for the girls. The Vikings bring back a strong group from last year's team, and they hope to continue to build on that success.
Coach Matt Ische has 15 returning letter winners, led by six seniors: Marissa Myers (state qualifier 800, conference runner-up 100 and 200 dash), Gina Pezze (state qualifier and conference champion shot put), Anne Radtke (state qualifier 800 relay), Kia Richards (sectional qualifier high jump), Estee Schmidt (state qualifier and conference champion 3,200 relay), Carley Stauche (state qualifer 800 relay) and Ashley Zidar-Brimyer.
He also has five talented juniors returning: Rayce Albino (state and conference champion pole vault, state qualifer 800 relay), Ali Boldt (conference champion 400 dash, state qualifier), Madeline Egan (state qualifier 3,200 relay conference runner-up 3,200 run), Emily Szydlowski (state qualifier 3,200 relay) and Gaby Torres.
Four returning sophomores also bring along some impressive credentials: Liz Doty, Ariana Gladieux-Carter, Liz Liska (conference champion high jump), Sarah Meleski (state qualifier and conference champion 3,200 relay) and Claire Radtke (state qualifier and conference champion 3,200 relay).
"Rayce Albino and Gina Peze were very strong individuals for us last year along with Marissa Myers," Ische said. "At conference these three provided 40 points for us.
"The development of Madeline Egan and Sarah Meleski in cross country (state qualifiers) is very promising for the track season. Last year, the two were great compliments to Brittany Kozlowski. This year they will be our leaders in distance. The high jump and pole vault should be very strong areas for us as where we can score three deep in these events."
The Vikings also have a solid group of freshman and new upperclassmen that will help their team depth. Health though will be an issue, since several athletes are coming in with existing injuries that were predicted to be major contributors.
"In their absence we will lean on the underclassmen and newcomers to fill their spots for the foreseeable future," Ische said.
Boys team has spots to fill
The New Berlin West boys, last year's conference outdoor champions, have some holes to fill through graduation, but Ische has some talent to fill them.
"Our graduating class was very balanced and provided us great depth in the sprints and distance," he said. "This year's group will have to pick up a lot of the points that we will lose. We will rely heavily on developing our juniors and our underclassman. I can even see some of the freshmen contributing on the varsity this year."
Ten returning seniors are led by Bryan Watson (state qualifier 400 relay, conference champion 800 relay, conference runner-up 100 dash) and Dylan Wiese (state qualifier 400 and 800 relay, conference champion 110 high hurdles, 800 relay), Nate Latus (state qualifier 400 relay), Devon Thiel (state qualifier 400 relay), James Fortier, Lukas Lauer, Travis McKeon, Sam Nigbur, Scott Reichel and Dom Ropella.
Returning juniors are Mitch Baker, Grant Marton and Alex Rodriguez and sophomores Sami Alfahel and Dan Western.
Promising newcomers include brothers senior Chamika Wijenayake and junior Mindika Wijenayake.
"We bring back a strong core of seniors that helped us to win outdoor conference last year and the year before helped us to win relays," Ische said. "Dylan Wiese, Bryan Watson and Nate Latus lead our sprint crew, while Lukas Lauer, James Fortier and Scott Reichel are major field event contributors. Dom Ropella and Grant Marton will be two athletes that our distance crew lean on this year."
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