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9 - Five athletes make the state tourney
Ella Van Vranken

Getting to the state tournament is no easy feat, but five WCHS athletes made it all the way to the final event in their respective sports in 2022. Ally Beneke and Ella van Vranken made it to Murfreesboro for the 2022 track tournament, Caleb Mackie and Zerek Keel wrestled in the 2022 TSSAA championships and Lauren Slatton made a run at the state golf title. 

Beneke and Slatton were each top finishers in their events (see more on 1B), while van Vranken, Mackie and Keel made strong cases for medals as well. 

Van Vranken, the school record holder in the 400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters, finished 11th while turning her sole attention to her standout race. Van Vranken decided to just run the 1,600 in May’s race after competing in three events at the state competition in 2021. She turned in a time of 5:25.28 in the state finals, where she hopes to be for the third time in 2023.

Mackie, a senior last winter, was making his second appearance in the wrestling state tournament last February, while Keel was one of the youngest wrestlers at the event after qualifying as a freshman. Neither wrestler was unable to bring home a win last season, but Keel has used it as a launchpad for stellar sophomore year.

Keel is currently one of the top wrestlers in the Midstate, already boasting an individual championship at the Soddy Daisy Invitational as part of the 2022-23 season.