Girls track earns 11 individual medals, finishes 2nd at state

Girls track completed an historic performance Saturday at state, finishing second as a team for the first state trophy in school history.

The Chargers qualified five girls in 11 events on its way to a regional championship the previous week. The team earned medals in all 11 events at state.

Senior Lauren Schutter repeated as long jump champion for the team’s only gold medal of the meet, a repeat of her finish last season. With a season best jump of 17’6.5”, Schutter, earned her third career gold medal, passing Larry Schwalm for most gold medals and most points scored at state (51). With her eighth place finish in the 200 and third in triple jump, she also passed Karsen Schultz for most medals earned at state, with eight. The records are especially impressive as Schutter didn’t get a sophomore season because of COVID-19.

Freshman Payton Wurtz also had a record-setting meet, becoming the first Charger to win four state medals in a single season. Wurtz finished second in the 400, 1600 and 3200. After getting tripped up early in the 800, she fought back to a fourth-place finish.

Junior Rebekah Stuhlsatz added two medals, seventh in the 3200 and eighth in the 1600. Senior Madison Schurle finished fourth in the 100 hurdles and sophomore Sienna Jones finished eighth in the triple jump.

With 55 team points, the Chargers finished behind champion Garden Plain by only three points. “We had 5 girls and 11 events qualify for state while they had 9 girls and 18 events, but our girls went toe to toe with them,” coach Roger Alderman said. “Our squad medaled in every one of our 11 events, an incredible feat considering only half of the entries at state bring home medals.”

It was the best showing for a WHS track team. Previously, the highest girls finish was 11th in 2009 and 2016. The boys finished fourth in 1983.

The squad also set five school records this season: Lauren Schutter in Triple Jump and Payton Wurtz in 400, 800, 1600 and 3200.

Although the track team will graduate three seniors (Schurle, Schutter and Justin Carslon), coach Alderman has high hopes for continued success. 

“We will miss their leadership and dedication, but also know that they have shown the way for our future squads. We are already looking forward to next year and think our future is bright.”

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