Sussex - Blink, and you'll miss them. It's a phrase that applies to the Sussex Hamilton girls sprint relays and the longevity of the conference records they establish.
The Chargers held Greater Metro Conference outdoor meet records in the 4x100 and 4x200, set in 2010, but a showing in Brookfield on May 15 wiped those off the books and wrote them anew. The 4x400 record, set last year, may have fallen as well were it not for inclement weather that abbreviated the meet and cut out a small handful of events.
The Chargers took fifth in the girls team portion of the meet, and the boys took fourth.
Hamilton had already rewritten recently established records in the six-lap relay at conference indoor (set in 2010) and in both the 4x200 and 4x400 at the GMC Relays (set last year). Both new outdoor records were most recently set in 2010. With Toney Lock, Jess Rupnow, Ashley Holicek and Casey Allen on board in the 4x100, Hamilton ran 49.30 to set the new mark.
In the 4x200, Lock, Ellen Buckley, Holicek and Rupnow ran a blazing 1:41.85, well ahead of the old mark and establishing the state's new fastest time.
"I didn't expect the 4x1, I'll be honest with you," girls coach Ben Nysse said. "The 4x2, I thought we'd do pretty well, since we had three girls back from last year. The only person we had to replace was Brooke, which granted, is a big one. Toney, this is her first year running for her the 200 and she's killing it on the first leg. The 4x1 is almost completely different. Toney has shifted from starting over to anchor. Casey Allen was probably our sixth 100-meter runner last year, and Jess Rupnow down the backstretch is an experiment that keeps on working. She's kind of tall for the 100 but she just opens it up about 50 meters in, and so far, nobody's been able to catch her."
The boys finished with one first place, with Drew Patterson taking the long jump title in 20 feet 9 inches - one inch ahead of Brookfield East standout Kyle Rohde.
"He popped that off right after he finished fifth in the 200, and he didn't have a lot of down time and beat one of the best kids in our conference," boys coach Eric Murray said. "I'm not surprised because he's just a diverse kid, especially as a sophomore. I knew he had it in him."
Girls advance to sectional
Sussex Hamilton's relays were the obvious qualifiers from Monday's WIAA regional at HHS, but the Chargers also picked up some surprises moving onward to Thursday's sectional at Menomonee Falls.
Jennifer Janusz uncorked a 10-foot personal best in the discus, recording 107-7 to take second place. Top-four finishers in each events move on. Nicole Zeman had a two-second PR in the 300 hurdles, taking third and also continuing her run through the WIAA postseason.
Shannon Burke cleared 11 feet in the pole vault, took second and also advanced. Lock won the 100-yard dash with her time of 12.60, and she was also a key figure on those sparkling relays.
The 4x200 won in 1:43.80. Holicek, Buckley and Rupnow joined Lock on the event, in which Hamilton has won two straight state titles.
The 4x100 of Allen, Rupnow, Holicek and Lock won easily in 49.74.
Meanwhile, the 4x400 (Buckley, Rupnow, Kattie Pollari, Ashlyn Paulson) won in 4:03.00, improving on its seed time.
Pattersons pass the torch
The stories from regional track meets are frequently more about who didn't make the cut than those who did, with the occasional DQ and injury cutting an athlete's postseason run short.
Senior Nick Patterson, struggling with a hamstring injury all year, wasn't able to complete a race in the sprints. The talented football, basketball and track star saw his remarkable career in the school's athletics program come to an end.
"He gave it one last go and pulled up after 50 meters; your heart goes out to the kid," Murray said. "You don't want the athletic career to end like that. He deserves better and worked for better, but unfortunately his body had different plans for him."
If there was a silver lining, it was the performance of Nick's sophomore brother, Drew Patterson, who won the 200 meters, finished second in the long jump and served as part of a 4x200-meter relay crew that also qualified for the sectional.
"That's a sophomore we ask a lot of, and he never wavered," Murray said. "He's always up for the challenges and loves the challenge of going in four events. He's very good right now, on the verge of being very great. He's a heck of a track athlete and football player. When all is said and done, Drew's going to be one of the greatest (athletes) to walk the halls of Hamilton High School."
Patterson recorded a jump of 20-3 1/2 in the long jump and won the 200 in 22.74 seconds. He teamed with Aaron Mushall, Corey Paris and Ryan Zagorski to take fourth in the 4x200 (1:33.05).
Others qualifying for sectional Thursday at Menomonee Falls with a top-four finish were Dan McKee (third in 3,200, 9:50.83), Brett Buehler (fourth in 400, 52.86) and Tony Koepnick (fourth in discus, 130-10).
Hamilton senior tennis player Aaron Beck (14-10) won the requisite single match to advance into the WIAA sectional after competing in Whitefish Bay at the subsectional Monday. He was the lone Hamilton entrant moving forward to Wednesday's sectional at Greenfield.
Three Sussex Hamilton flights came away from the Greater Metro Conference tennis meet with consolation bracket victories, and the Chargers took sixth among seven teams on hand with 13 points. Beck, Alex Lutzke (No. 3 singles) and the No. 3 doubles team of Prateek Reddy and Andrew Ullmann all took fifth place.
Close wins elude softball
A doubleheader sweep of Waukesha South on Saturday proved cathartic for the Sussex Hamilton softball team, which watched its chances for a Greater Metro Conference title take a fatal hit with close losses to West Allis Hale and Brookfield Central last week, followed by a one-run loss to Classic 8 Conference front-runner Arrowhead.
The Chargers slipped to 11-6 overall and 7-4 in GMC play after the week's action.
The big blow came against Hale on May 15 in a rain-shortened game. Sarah Mueller's three-run home run in the fifth gave the Huskies a 4-1 lead, and rain and lightning truncated the game's final two innings after the Chargers loaded the bases in the sixth with one out.
Jenny Shernell had two hits and an RBI for Hamilton.
Shernell went 2 for 4 with a double, two RBIs and three runs scored in a 17-3 win over South, and Jansen finished with two doubles, two RBIs and three runs in a 17-7 win. Sydney Sprinkel and Tori Meyer picked up wins.
On Monday, Hamilton survived 14 hits from West Bend West and won in nonconference, 6-4. Shernell doubled in the fourth and scored Whitney Wnuk to break a 3-3 tie.
Soccer piling up goals
The Hamilton soccer team showed what it was capable of in three dominant victories, opening with a 6-1 win over West Allis Hale on May 15 and following with a 4-0 win over Franklin on May 17 and a 2-0 victory over Racine St. Catherine one day later.
Hamilton coach Tom Konkol said the Hale game was important for his team to re-establish its standing as one of the top four in the Greater Metro.
"Franklin and particularly Racine St. Cat's provided us the competition that helped us with the type of focus we needed," Konkol said. "For us, it is always about how we establish a team rhythm and flow through the high level of possession."
Hale actually struck first in the GMC contest before the floodgates opened for Hamilton. Robyn Elliott scored three times, with another strike from Hannah Menzia, Rachel Elliott and Taylor Mears.
Assists came from both Elliotts, Dani Fotsch, Molly Matthiesen and Brooke Menzia.
Sussex Hamilton's boys golf team took part in the Greater Metro Conference tournament last week at Morningstar Golfers Club in Waukesha and finished in seventh place in the field of eight teams. Overall, the Chargers ended up in fifth place for the season.
Hamilton's top player was junior Nate Goecks, who finished in sixth place and earned a berth on the all-conference second team. He had a 232 total.
Hamilton's scores for the 18-hole tournament were Goecks with 79, Austin Kendziorski 84, Nathan Hermsen 87, Mitch Olson 89 and Kevin Jansen 90.
The Chargers also defeated host Pewaukee at Naga-Waukee in their annual Ryder Cup matches with the Pirates. Hamilton tied with PHS with two points each but won the title on the basis of the tiebreaker, most holes one. Sussex won 28 holes, and Pewaukee 26.
In the Ryder Cup match at Naga-Waukee, Hamilton winners were Hermsen and Jansen in the four-ball event by a 2 and 1 score. Kendziorski won his singles match by a 4 and 3 score.
On Saturday, the Chargers competed in the 20-school Waukesha County Championships at Wanaki in Lannon and finished in fifth place with a season-best score of 319. Brookfield Central won the title with a meet-record score of 287. Scores from Wanaki were Goecks with 74, Hermsen 76, Kendziorski 82, Tim Russell 87 and Jansen 88.
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