LA CROSSE, Wis. — There’s a reason Peshtigo senior Mitchell VanVooren is heading to Marquette University to run track in the fall.

He made that reason known at the Division 2 WIAA Track & Field State Championship preliminary rounds on Friday, qualifying in both the 110-meter high hurdles and 300-meter hurdles and also having a hand in the Bulldogs 1,600-meter relay team that moved on to today’s finals.

VanVooren won the 110 with a time of 14.97 seconds, winning his heat and having the best time overall to be slotted in the first lane. In the 300, he set a new school ecord with a time of 38.11, taking second in his heat and third overall.

In the 1,600 relay, VanVooren teamed up with Cole Trimberger, Reid Marquardt and Jerod Jandt to run a fourth-place time of 3:25.20, shaving time off their old personal record.

“Mitch had a really good day today,” Peshtigo coach Joe Nault said. “I’m very happy with how everyone ran, it was a hot and muggy day today but the kids came to race and we improved time in two out of the three events we qualified in. We’re looking forward to another good day (today).”

Missing the cut for Peshtigo was Trimberger in the 400, who came in 16th (55.19). Marquardt, in addition to trying for a medal with the relay team, will also be looking to get on the podium individually in the 800 and Max Rauch will get the chance to defend his gold medal in the pole vault in the rest of today’s events for the Bulldogs.

Katelyn Kitzinger was the lone qualifier for the Marinette girls track team, snatching up the last spot with a new personal-record time by .01 seconds (1:00.14).

“Katelyn started off her race really strong, but when she came around the last turn I could see the wind picked up a little and it threw off her technique, but she did enough to qualify and she gets another crack at it (today),” Marinette coach Bryan Lenzner said. “Anything can happen in the finals. I’ve seen some crazy things go down when you have nothing left to lose on the last race, it’s all about who can hold on the longest. I’m very excited to see her in the finals after not making it the last two years.”

Alex Shaw just missed out on qualifying in the 100, running a 13th place time of 11.59, 0.1 seconds behind the 10th-place finisher. The 400 relay team of Sam Drees, Anthony Jardeen, Darrell Dufeck and Shaw took 14th (44.54); the 800 relay team (Jeremy Wendt, Jardeen, Defeck and Shaw) also came in 14th (1:32.43) and Emma Wendt missed out in the 300-hurdles. Both of the relay teams missed out on qualifying by just over one second.

“We had a little bit of a tough day overall. We didn’t run bad or have bad times, we just didn’t perform how we needed to today,” Lenzner said. “Some of the handoffs on our relays were a little shaky and we just didn’t quite have it. But I’m extremely proud of all of these kids. It’s an honor just to make it to the state tournament. We’re disappointed with how it turned out, yes, but with all of the hard work they put in they have a lot to be proud of. They came here and represented their city and community well. We haven’t heard Marinette get called this many times at state in a while, and that was a really cool feeling to have.”

Carson Polomis will join Kitzinger as the only two Marines competing today. Polomis will be running the 1,600. Lenzner said Polomis is feeling excited to get out and compete, and with how close all of the competitor’s times are, anything is possible.

“Carson was able to run this morning on the track and get a feel for it to get some jitters out,” Lenzner said. “We tried our best to keep him out of the sun, hydrated and we got him a good meal. He says he’s feeling really good, so we’re excited to see how he does.”

In Division 3, Crivitz’s Ezekial Lawrence qualified in the 110 and 300 hurdles. In the 110, he ran a fourth-place time of 15.29 and in the 300 he posted a seventh-place time of 41.27. Crivitz’s 800 relay team (Kody Richlen, Tony Jopek, Jaden Bemis, Lawrence) qualified in ninth (1:33.90) and Bemis made it in the 100 with an eighth-place time of 11.58.

Emalee Johnsen of Crivitz took sixth place in the finals of the discus with a throw of 113 feet, 5 inches; Aubrey DeBauch of Gillett qualified in the 300 hurdles in sixth (48.22) and Sylvia Hansen of Gillett took seventh in the finals of the 1,600 run (5:18.74).