McGinnis, Tanin shine at state

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Dave Lubach/For the Times-Tribune
Tai Pritts (left) and Middleton's 400-meter relay team competed at the WIAA Division 1 state track and field meet./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

LA CROSSE — Jen McGinnis and Sitori Tanin spent the entire track and field season challenging each other during practice in the triple jump.

“We just pushed each other,” Tanin said. “I'd have a good jump and then she'd go further than me.”

There's no jealously or anger in the tone of Tanin's voice when she says this. As a sophomore for the Cardinals, Tanin considers McGinnis, a senior, a role model and a close friend since starting high school.

They have shared many fun and competitive moments on and off the track the last two years. Last Friday afternoon they shared one more special moment when they both surpassed their pre-tournament expectations by grabbing medals in the triple jump at the WIAA Division 1 state track and field championships at the Veterans Memorial Field Sports Complex on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

McGinnis and Tanin were seeded 11th and 12th, respectively in Division 1 before each made huge leaps up to the medal stand with impressive efforts to collect the first medals of their prep careers.

McGinnis went 37 feet, 5 inches to grab fourth place and Tanin went 36-11, which was good for the sixth and last medal spot. Tanin just missed a medal last year, placing seventh as a freshman.

“This was my third time coming to state, and it was definitely the best,” said McGinnis, who also qualified this year as part of the 400- and the 1,600-meter relay teams. “I'm just really happy with the results and the friends I've made over the years. I've really been happy with track this year.”

Tanin also represented Middleton in the high jump, placing 12th with a height of 5-2. 

“I have two more years, but this one was one (meet) to remember,” Tanin said. “Especially to get on the podium on the team with someone else was a great experience.”

Middleton's girls were also represented by two relay teams in the 400 and 1,600 events. Neither team qualified for the finals, as the 1,600 team of Juliana Castillo, McGinnis, Haley Hodek and Krista Baumgartner were 17th in the preliminaries with a time of 4:03.58.

The 400 relay team finished 13th in the preliminaries with a time of 49.45 seconds. The team consisted of Natalie McLain, McGinnis, Kenzie Nickels and Tai Pritts.

While both teams came up short of their goals of making the finals, coach Cory Christnovich was focusing on the positives of the girls' results.

“Our 4x100 team's time is in the top 10 in school history, and in our 4x400 (McGinnis) had a fabulous split,” Christnovich said. “(McGinnis) PRd by a second in her split in the 4x4 and ran one of our fastest times of the year. It's nice to come home with hardware, but if we come forth with our best effort of the year, you have to be happy with that.”

Christnovich brought 12 girls to state this year, and will say goodbye to three seniors in McGinnis, Castillo and Mayers. The breakdown of the Middleton state qualifiers consisted of three girls representing each class in school, a situation he called unique as most of the girls got their first taste of competing at state with hopes of the experience paying off for hopeful future state trips.

“That will help motivate them and keep the program rolling for next year,” Christnovich said. “The first year here, it's easy to get star struck at the scene, and this gets all the athletes used to it.”


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