Ithaca/Weston Track succeeding despite lack of sport resources


At the Division 3 level, the co-op of rival schools Ithaca and Weston has consistently sent athletes to La Crosse and this year is no different, even though the program is at a bit of a disadvantage.

There’s no track for them to practice on at either school, no exchange zones to practice relay handoffs. They go in the gym, a school hallway, or a paved fire lane around the back of the buildings. Jumpers run down a cement sidewalk into a sand pit. Throwers go from some cement slabs into the school fair showing area.

Their passion for the sport overcomes all of those disadvantages, and that’s why senior Caleb Marchwick and sophomore Kaylee Peterson have earned spots at State in two events apiece.

“I don’t think I’m as nervous as last year because I’m used to it now. I’m hoping to hit some PRs,” said Marchwick, who will compete in shot put and discus.

“I’m a little nervous but pretty much excited that I get to go,” Peterson said, “because last year I didn’t get to go in the 800, which was sad. I’m excited that I get to represent my school.”

Marchwick took second in shot put last year. Peterson, who will run the 400 and 800, has broken the 800 school record that she set last year as a freshman. They’re joined by senior Ty Kershner, who’s qualified in the long jump.

Kershner’s suffered torn labrums in both shoulders playing other sports, and in the summer of 2020, he suffered a compound leg fracture that needed a MedFlight trip to Madison for emergency surgery. With a rod and three screws in one leg, he went out for track this year and will now be on the biggest stage.

“I didn’t think I would ever be where I’m at today,” said Kershner. “In the moment it didn’t seem possible. I guess as I kept moving forward, things just kept getting better, and here I am.”