Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wagner second in 3200m race

Baldwin-Woodville's premier distance runner Kayla Wagner powered to a second place finish in near record-setting time in the 3200m run in Division 2 action at the WIAA state track meet Friday night in LaCrosse.

Wagner's time of 10:38.44, more than 20 seconds off her previous best, was less than two seconds shy of the previous Division 2 state record of 10:36.88 set in 1984 by Lori Wolter of Sauk Prairie. Winning the event this year, and no doubt pushed by Wagner, was Ashley Beutler of Belleville/New Glarus who set the new state record of 10:33.43.

The record-setting race was late Friday night after an one and one-half hour delay at the WIAA state track meet at LaCrosse due to a strong band of storms that caused evacuation of the stadium and grounds.

"Kayla felt a little disappointed in Saturday's finish," said B-W Coach Darren Peterson. "But she did extremely well and should be proud of running with and pushing one of the state's premier distance runners. Friday's 3200m run was extremely impressive and from where she was three or four weeks ago she has decreased her time exponentially."

Coach Peterson said Wagner has been taking 20 or so seconds off her time almost every week which is a phenomenal achievement. "The longer a race goes, the stronger she gets."

The results were not quite what Wagner wanted in the 1600m run on Saturday. She finished in seventh place, just one place from being on the podium, with a time of 5:14.25, which is not her best time of the year. "The thing that hurt Kayla, and a lot of other runners who did both the 3200m and 1600m back to back, was the short turn-around time," said Coach Peterson. The rain delay of Friday night that amounted to about two hours, pushed the 3200m run to nearly 10:00 and the 1600m run was early Saturday afternoon.

Coach Peterson noted that the Division 2 times in both the 3200m and 1600m runs were faster than the Division 1 times.

In addition to a short recovery time, Wagner was boxed in by the pack almost immediately in the 1600m run. "The start hurt," said Coach Peterson. "When you have a poor start in a shorter race you have less time to make up for it."

Coach Peterson said that Wagner and Beutler running together helped them both. He added that six of last year's place winners in the 1600m run were returning to the race this year. "Kayla learned how to compete and run in a very competitive race. She competed against elite runners and she held her own very well. It definitely puts her in the top echelon again for next

Coach Peterson's notion that Wagner and Beutler helped each other in the 3200m run is borne out by each of the runners. Beutler is quoted in the Wisconsin State Journal as saying "I was just trying to beat the girl behind me, not set the record. That girl was amazing."

Wagner said she felt good during the 3200m run "except at the end when I felt like my body was breaking because I was trying to go too fast." After the race had ended "Ashley told me I better break the record next year," said Wagner. "She was really nice. It was great to run with her."
She agreed that she pushed Beutler and Beutler pulled her.

At the awards ceremony it was former New Richmond stand-out distance runner Ayla Mitchell who congratulated Wagner and put the medal around her neck. "Ayla talked to me afterwards too. It was exciting and she was so nice," said Wagner.

For the 1600m run, "I was exhausted," said Wagner. "My legs obviously didn't feel as good as they should. During the race my arms and my legs hurt. The beginning was difficult because I got boxed in. I tried to get around people but the anxiety caused me not to run as well as I could. I was a little disappointed but I was happy to be there and happy to run a good race the night before."