Milton Red Hawk boys gaining momentum
Jeff Bachinski is the head coach in Milton High football, along with boys and girls track and field.
He believes in combining his football and boys track roles.
That explains why several key members of the Red Hawks’ explosive football team also carry the same role in track and field
“I’m a big believer that football players should also run track,” Bachinski said. “I think it carries over very well.”
Bachinski will rely on that as his track teams enter today’s Badger South Conference track and field meet at Monona Grove.
Bachinski thinks his boys team can challenge Monroe for the title. The girls meet appears to be a tossup between three or four teams, he said.
The Red Hawks have been gaining momentum throughout the season.
“We had a late spring break, and I think that hurt us,” Bachinski said. “I think we’re still climbing the ladder and starting to peak.”
Milton’s boys have point-producers in the running and field events.
“We can be very competitive,” Bachinski said. “But I don’t know if we have enough gas to take Monroe.”
Milton’s Nate Hammon, the football quarterback who is headed to the University of Wisconsin, is the defending Badger South champion in the 100-meter dash and long jump. He won both events and anchored a victorious 400 relay team Friday night in the Tom Mueller Invitational at Oregon, where the Red Hawk boys took second place.
Riley Kovars, a football receiver, also is a returning conference champion for the Red Hawks in the triple jump and comes off a winning performance at Oregon.
Along with Hammon, Colin Sayre and Phil McCarthy from the football team give Milton additional threats in the sprints.
The group of sprinters makes the Red Hawks’ 400 and 800 relay teams threats throughout tournament run.
Milton also is strong in the mid-distance events, led by Riley Clark in the 400 and 800. Kyle Martinelli also is a threat for Milton.
Bachinski also expects a good showing from his 400 and 800 relay teams.
A.J. Natter leads the Red Hawks in the shot and discus.
Monroe’s strength in the boys competition includes two of state’s top high jumpers in senior Michael Barrett and Jake Hirsbrunner, who are high on the honor roll with 6-foot-6 and 6-4 heights this season. The Cheesemakers also have a state-rated pole vaulter in Jeff Hill, the defending Badger South champion, who has reached 14 feet, 4 inches this season.
Caleb Ahrens in the hurdles and Dylan Starck in the 1,600 figure to be among Monroe’s leaders on the track. Ahrens was the conference runner-up in the 300 intermediate hurdles last year and is on this year’s state honor roll with a 15.24 time in the 100 highs.
Monona Grove has one of the state’s top throwers in Theron Baumann, who has gone 173-2 in the discus and 58-8.5 in the shot put. He was the conference champion in the shot last year and runner-up in the discus.
On the girls side, Emily Walters of the Red Hawks could contend in the discus, along with Kelsey Stalker, who also is a threat in the shot put. Those events will have new conference champions after the graduation of Monona Grove’s Angela Boushea, the Division 1 state runner-up in both last season.
Milton’s Mandi Speer is one of the conference’s top 1,600 and 3,200 runners. The Red Hawk girls also figure to contend in the 400 and 1,600 relays.
Meanwhile, Madison Edgewood’s Eileen Gehring is a returning champion in the 100, 200 and 400. She ranks third in the state this season in the 400 with a 57.9 time, fourth in the 100 at 12.41 and also is on the honor roll in the 200 at 25.75.
Stoughton returns Brianna Bower as a defending champion in the 300 low hurdles, long jump and triple jump. Monroe’s Jaclyn Ditter also is back to defend her title in the 100 high hurdles and is sixth on the honor roll with a 15.44 time.
Monona Grove’s boys and Monroe’s girls are the defending Badger South team champions.