Crusaders chasing lofty goals
Talent, depth has CMH focused on state meet
WAUKESHA – Chris Andacht is thinking big – real big.
“We fully expect to contend for a state title if we stay healthy and, given the talent of this group, that seems like a reasonable goal,” the Catholic Memorial High School girls track and field coach said.
That would appear to be some pretty big thinking, but Andacht has five returning letter winners who competed at last year’s WIAA Division 2 state meet plus the addition of a great group of freshmen to bolster this thought process.
“We usually have four or five sprinters and we run one in each individual event and in two relays,” Andacht said. “But this year might be the strongest sprinting group I’ve ever had, especially in depth as well as quality.
“Our first day of practice we always run a 55-yard dash, and we usually have four or five who are under eight seconds. But this year we have 12 of them. We don’t have 12 studs but we have 12, which allows me to do more in individual events. We have options this year.”
Senior Maddy Davis placed fourth in the 100 hurdles at last year’s state meet, and she was also a member of a fourth-place 400 relay team and an 800 relay team that was disqualified but had the second-fastest seed time entering state.
Seniors Andrea Sullivan, Bailey Finnegan and Emily Kern were also members of that 400 relay team, and Bailey Finnegan, Sullivan, Davis and sophomore Abby Finnegan were on the 800 relay team.
Davis and Sullivan were also on 400 and 800 relay teams that placed at state as sophomores.
With senior Annie West, junior Courtney Hahn and sophomores Erin Jaynes and Renee Bixby joining them as returning letterwinners, Andacht has a nice nucleus.
“Emily Kern is like a free agent acquisition as she was injured most of last year after an MCL and ACL operation on her left knee. Before the injury, she was arguably the best sprinter that we had in the program,” Andacht said. “Now that she’s fully recovered, I’m really looking forward to seeing what she’s going to be able to accomplish.”
Jaynes was runner-up in the 100 despite battling injuries at the Classic 8 Conference meet to graduated Waukesha West superstar Hannah Rohde, who won the 100, 200 and 400 at state last year.
“She’s now healthy and is looking really good,” Andacht said of Jaynes. “And Bailey Finnegan, who was new to track as a freshman last season, looks really good in the 400. Emily Kottermann and Maddy Rondeau are exciting new sprinters who will be an integral part of our relays, and Maddy might be strong enough to score in individual events at the conference and tournament level.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if Jaynes, Finnegan and Rondeau all contended for titles. So I don’t know, but I think we might have a really good chance at state and that’s the first time I’ve really been able to say that.
“In the past eight to 10 years I haven’t felt this strong about a team, but this might be the best group of sprinters we’ve had since the early 1990s. It’s pretty special.”
Memorial’s highest WIAA state-meet finish was a second-place tie in Division 1 in 2003.
Photo: Catholic Memorial senior Maddy Davis will be a key figure in the Crusaders’ chase of a WIAA Division 2 state title. Freeman file photo