Edgerton’s Ashley Oren wins twice at WIAA Division 2 state track and field meet
LA CROSSE — Edgerton’s Ashlyn Oren woke up Friday morning a little earlier than she wanted to.
She and her teammates didn’t have to show up to UW-La Crosse’s Veterans Memorial Stadium for the WIAA Division 2 state track and field championships until 3 p.m.
“Even though I wanted to sleep in, Coach said we had to keep on the same schedule,” Oren said. “I guess that he was right.”
He was indeed. Oren, who entered with eight state track medals without a win, won twice.
She took the high jump with a personal-best school-record 5-foot, 8-inch leap and came back with a state-record 19-1¼ in the long jump — 2¼ inches better than the 25-year-old mark.
It felt like magic to the senior on the warm and windy day.
“After the high jump, it wasn’t so much adrenaline as just feeling I did pretty well in one event and I wanted to build on it,” Oren said.
She easily cleared 5-0 in the high jump and turned to her coach, who said: “You’re jumping like that the rest of the day, don’t change a thing.”
“And I didn’t,” she said. “I didn’t have my first miss until 5-8.”
The Murray State recruit then bolted from the awards to the long jump. Her effort, while a state standard, isn’t her school record or personal best as she went 19-3¼ in sectionals (state records can only be set in the state meet).
“Coach told me that I had 19 feet in me,” she said. “I told him I didn’t think so, but here I am!”
Oren was part of a spectacular day for area athletes.
The Madison Edgewood girls 3,200 relay team (Kaitlyn Barth, Maeve O’Driscoll, Kelly Rodriguez and Caitlin Link) won in 9 minutes, 25.4 seconds; Ben Dunkleberger of Lake Mills claimed his third straight triple jump crown (46-1); and Tanner Maier of Lodi surged down the final straight in the 800 and won in 1:55.18.
He then did a celebratory dance.
“I looked up at the screen and I knew I had PRd and either took first or second,” Maier said, “so I had to celebrate a little (laughs).”
The Edgewood relay runners also felt like celebrating. College recruits Link (basketball) and Rodriguez (swimming) won in 2015 as freshmen in the 3,200 relay and book-ended their careers in style.
“This isn’t the first sport for any of us, but we’re all competitors and a very close group,” Link said. “So this means the world to us.”
Dunkleberger went 46-1, more than 1½ feet beyond his rivals.
Dunkleberger, who will try his hand as a decathlete at Penn, seeks to defend his long jump title today.
“This is really special,” he said. “It means that I was consistent, that I stuck with the process. I feel very blessed to have stayed healthy all this time. You stay faithful to the process, good things will happen.”
Maier’s victory in the 800 kept Lodi’s hopes of team honors on track. A former soccer player, Maier began running last year, went to state, then was 11th at state in cross country last fall and set his sights on a title on the track.
“I’d been talking all spring about it,” he said. “I ran 1:56 at state last year (in the 800) and I knew I could go a lot faster this time around.”