LA CROSSE — Molly Milliren didn’t shy away from added competition.
She embraced it.
The Thorp junior raced to three top-six Division 3 podium sprint finishes on Saturday on the final day of the WIAA State Track and Field Championships at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Milliren was third in the 100 (12.45 seconds), fourth in the 200 (25.87) and sixth in the 400 (1:00.42) to give her a combined five podium finishes in her last two trips to state after earning a pair as a sophomore.
With a strong class of sprinters that included returning state champion Haley Durst of Ithaca/Weston in the 100 and some teams moving from Division 2 to 3 like La Crosse Aquinas, the battle for top spots was fierce and Milliren was up to the task.
“It means a whole lot because when I heard at first that the D2 (teams) were coming down into D3 I was getting a little bit nervous,” Milliren said. “It just is going to mean more competition. I came in here with a good mindset and that’s the important thing because if you come in here with a negative mindset that you’re going to lose just because of the division or because there’s girls faster than you (it’s going to hurt).
That’s just life, it’s going to happen but you’ve got to have that mentality because that’s what is going to drive you.”
Durst repeated in the 100 (12.12) and set a new state record in the process while Ozaukee’s Delanie McFadden won the 200 (25.13) and Johnson Creek’s Hannah Constable was first in the 400 (58.11).
“Three podium finishes with the new field coming in, I’m surprised but not really,” Thorp coach Jeff Geissler said of Milliren. “She really turned it on yesterday in the prelims and we talked about a couple things. But she was just really determined in that 100 to be up there and she had a nice 100 and we were really close here, even in the 200.
“The 400, if she just runs that by herself individually she probably gets one or two. But this is the problem people don’t get — you’re doing three events. It brings down everything and to still raise it to that level, that’s awesome.”
Milliren got the chance to practice on the track at Oriole Park in Stanley leading up to state and Thorp coach Jeff Geissler said that was a big help in Milliren running strong.
“She’s just a gem,” Geissler said of Milliren. “She’s just a great kid. A great leader for the team and always wants to be around people. A great sense of humor too.”
Milliren’s sense of humor came into play when talking about her recovery plan following a busy weekend.
“I’m feeling good. I’m feeling like.....ice cream. That’s what I’m thinking now,” Milliren said. “I feel like I completed my mission coming down here and I’m just (ready to) start training for next year.”
Gilman’s Fryza 10th in shot put
Gilman junior Evelyn Fryza finished in 10th place in the Division 3 shot put on Saturday with a distance of 36-feet, 0.25-inches.
Fryza’s top throw came on her first toss of the day. The junior advanced to finals, one of four competitors from the first flight to do so.
Mercer’s Aubrey Schoeneman won the championship in 43-3.75.
The Gilman girls 3,200 relay team of Aubrey Syryczuk, Lydia Syryczuk, Ava Gunderson and Sophia Drier finished 16th with a time of 10 minutes, 37.71 seconds.
Gilman senior Torger Crick took 17th in the 800 with a time of 2:11.18.