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Large flock of Redbirds heading to La Crosse
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    BANGOR – The Darlington boys’ and girls’ track and field teams will have a busy weekend in store for them in La Crosse for the WIAA State Meet after turning in 15 state qualifying performances at the Division 3 Sectional Meet held at Bangor High School on Thursday, May 24.
    The Redbirds advanced six individuals and four relay teams to state en route to a second-place finish in the boys’ meet with 82 points, and the Lady Redbirds advanced three individuals and two relays team to state while placing third overall in the girls’ meet with 48.5 points.
    Host Bangor took home the boys’ sectional team title with 88 points, and the Benton/Scales Mound/Shullsburg tri-op won the girls’ meet with 60 points.
    Senior Grady Rielly was crowned a sectional champion after winning the boys’ 110-meter high hurdles in 15.35 seconds and the 300-meter intermediate hurdles in 40.64 seconds, and he also moved on to state as a member of the Redbirds’ runner-up 400-meter relay team along with seniors Curtis Blosch and Kameron Bloch and junior Blake Whalen, who took second in 44.77 seconds.
    C. Blosch also placed second in the pole vault (12’9”) and joined with K. Blosch and Whalen to finish second in the 800 relay (1:33.88) and third in the 1,600 relay (3:32.32) to make it to state in four events. Senior Tyler Mosley was the fourth member of the 4x200 squad, and junior Trae Schilling rounded out the 4x400 team.
    Darlington’s 3,200 relay team of seniors Tanner Evenstad and Paul King and juniors Payton Heinberg and Tucker Lange won a sectional title in a time of 8:25.11. Heinberg also advanced to state with third-place finishes in the 1,600 (4:39.10) and 3,200 (10:08.01) meter runs.
    Senior Connor McGowan was the final state qualifier for the Redbirds after placing fourth in the boys’ discus (138’11”).
    Evenstad was seventh in the 800 (2:07.50) and King was seventh in the 3,200 (10:37.28) for the ‘Birds, while sophomore Ross Stauffacher placed eighth in the discus (120’1”) at the sectional meet.
    Junior Ilse Mendez and senior Hunter Weber each qualified for state in two events for the Lady Redbirds. Mendez finished second in the 3,200 run (12:17.79) and teamed with seniors Emma Crist, Miriam Lindqvist and Erin Wolf to take second in the 3,200 relay (10:15.41), while Weber was second in the pole vault (8’9”) and combined with juniors Kaylee Meyers and Kathleen Mathias and sophomore Lizzie Schwartz to place fourth in the 800 relay (1:49.55).
    Sophomore Marissa Gould also advanced to state by finishing third in the shot put (36’10.5”) for the ‘Birds.
    The Lady Redbirds’ 1,600 relay team of Crist, Schwartz, Meyers and Mathias narrowly missed a state berth after placing fifth (4:14.46), and the 400 relay squad of Schwartz, Meyers, Mathias and sophomore Natty Soper also missed out on a state berth after tying for fifth (52.73).
    Lindqvist and freshman Morgan Black came in seventh (13:10.88) and eighth (13:13.05), respectively, in the girls’ 3,200 run.
    “I was very proud of the way our athletes performed at the sectional meet. Every one of our relays was able to run their fastest time of the year. The girls’ 4x200 ran the third fastest time in school history from the slow heat, while the boys’ 4x100 and 4x200 both ran the fifth fastest time in school history,” stated Darlington head coach Pat Reichling. “Marissa was able to PR by almost two feet and threw the fifth best throw in school history. Curtis Blosch moved up to seventh on the all time list in the pole vault. Grady was able to finish first in both hurdles and is ranked very high going into La Crosse.” 
    The 2018 WIAA State Track and Field Meet will be held at UW-La Crosse’s Veterans Memorial Stadium on Friday and Saturday, June 1-2. Friday’s Division 2/3 competition will begin at 3 p.m., and Saturday’s competition begins at 9:30 a.m.
    “I am looking forward to seeing our athletes compete against the best. I think we have many athletes who are going to put on quite a performance. A lot of the seniors realize this is their last high school meet and want to go out with a great performance,” noted Reichling.