CADOTT — McDonell’s Charlie Bleskachek has made a habit out of making the state tournament.
He has competed against the best Wisconsin has to offer at his division three times in cross country, four times in basketball and three times in track and field. So, his goal in his final spring season isn’t surprising at all.
”We’ve had a really long tradition of getting a (4x800) down to state,” the senior runner said Tuesday at the Western Cloverbelt Track & Field Championship at Cadott High School. “We want to continue that. Other than that, I want to get there in the open (800) again because that’s mainly what I’ll be doing in college.”
Bleskachek has a bit more time to focus on making the most of his final high school months after officially declaring his post-graduation plans on Monday. He signed his letter of intent to run cross country and track at Division II Concordia-St. Paul in the Mack gym he’s made so many memories in.
“It’s a relief, being that it’s such a long process,” Bleskachek said. “I’m really excited for next year and to compete at the next level is a great opportunity. But right now, I’m just focusing on closing out the high school season as strong as I can. ... Now that it’s all done I’m just really focused on doing as best as I can here on out until the state meet.”
Bleskachek said he plans on running middle distances, 400 and 800-meter runs mostly, in college and has already started building a relationship with the Golden Bears coach that specifies in that distance.
And on the track on Tuesday, he proved why colleges were interested.
Bleskachek won in the 800 and the 1,600 and finished second in the 200, making him one of seven multi-event champions in Cadott. Marty Bushland, McDonell’s track and field and cross country coach, said this meet was an opportunity the runner hadn’t had previously.
“It’s the first chance he’s had to try and win anything,” Bushland said prior to Bleskachek’s events. “He’s always been a point-getter. He’s been second five times I think at the conference meet. But he’s never been in first. He’s always had a teammate that’s in first.”
Bleskachek said he’s seen improvements in his own running abilities, which he attributed to added strength. Bushland’s noticed in practice, but now it’s time to translate that against competition.
“I’m hoping at state we’ll see a couple seconds faster than we did last year,” Bushland said. “That should put him in a position to do something pretty special.”
Also winning multiple events were Thorp’s Molly Milliren, Stanley-Boyd’s Jordan McKnight, McDonell’s Destiny Baughman, Osseo-Fairchild’s Kari Herman, Altoona’s Sydney Presler and Regis’ Isaac Michaels.
Milliren and McKnight were the only three-time champions, with each winning their respective 100, 200 and 400. Baughman won the 300-meter hurdles and the high jump and Herman won the 1,600 and 3,200.
Presler won the 100-hurtles and was a part of the Rails’ 4x800 relay team, while Michels won the 300-meter hurtles and was a part of the 4x200.