Why the Lane of Fame?
In my career as a community journalist, I covered Wisconsin high school sports for nearly 40 years, for weekly newspapers in Sauk-Prairie, Arcadia and Whitehall. I enjoyed all of those sports to varying degrees, but track and field came to be one of my favorites, because of its variety of activities, the combination of individual and team competition and other factors. And it didn't hurt that my daughter became a track athlete — full disclosure, you will find her on these pages — which gave me even more of an appreciation for the sport. So I decided to create something that gave additional recognition to the Whitehall High athletes, hundreds of whom I've covered and come to know, who have excelled in it.
The Top Tens
The Top Tens are based on total points scored at the WIAA state championships, on the theory that that is the ultimate test for high school track and field athletes. Doing so is problematic in one sense, because the WIAA has changed how it awards points at state over the decades, so those athletes who competed at state before 1993 did not have the opportunity to earn seventh- and eighth-place points. (Before 1975 or so, they didn't get sixth-place points, either.) But the post-1993 participants also had to compete against more state qualifiers, and the extra point or two appeared unlikely to make much difference in the rankings, so I made no attempt to adjust the point totals.
The WHS records initially will not include the non-metric marks; those may be added later. School records holders are noted on the Top Tens pages, including those whose marks have since been broken, where that information is available; current school records are on a separate page. I would like to recognize others who held records that have been superseded, but that would be difficult, because of the inconsistency in how the records were kept and published.
The State Qualifiers
I have made every effort to include all WHS track athletes who qualified for state, using a variety of sources. But the Whitehall Times did not always report those, nor did the daily newspapers, and the WIAA does not have an archive that includes all state competitors.
The photos on these pages were all mostly taken by staff of the Whitehall Times or Trempealeau County Times: myself, Andrew Dannehy, Fred Jacobson or Chuck Gauger. The exception is the 2012 1600-meter relay team, taken by Visual Image Photography.
Some are in black and white, almost all of those having been scanned from 35-milimeter negatives. Those vary in quality because of the quality of the original negatives and the scanning process — but also because some of the Whitehall Times negatives were borrowed and never returned, so I wasn't working with the best material.
The Last Word
I hope those who visit these pages will enjoy them, and inform me of needed additions and corrections.