Royall girls win first State title

Royall girls track and field came through in both track and field events on Thursday to win the program’s first State title.

The Panthers totaled 50 points, just beating out Fennimore’s 47.

Jessica Brueggeman set a strong tone early for the team. The senior defended her 2019 state title in the long jump by shattering her old state record by almost a foot. She jumped 19 feet, nine inches for 10 early points.

“The way I’ve been jumping all year it has been nowhere near 19 feet,” Brueggeman said. “The highest I jumped all year was 18-5. I’m glad it happened, because I am a senior, and it would be embarrassing to come in as a state champion and lose,” she laughed. “A lot of it was mental, like Jessica, just don’t mess up.

“It was scary because that year off really just mentally took a toll on me, like I’m not as good as I’d be if I’d had the other year. What I jumped today–I feel like–it feels like I didn’t take a year off.”

Brueggeman also took runner-up in the triple jump at just over 38 feet. Fellow senior Emma Gruen took runner-up in the high jump at five feet, two inches. Freshman Marah Gruen earned two medals in the 1600 and 3200 runs. She finished fourth in the 1600 and third in the 3200. The team’s 4×100 relay also reached the podium, taking second with a time of 50.49 seconds.

“All the girls performed so outstanding today right from the get-go, I couldn’t be happier,” head coach Brian Knudtson said. “They kept out-performing our expectations time and time again.”