Menomonee Falls boys track team advances seven entries to state meet
Indians also win regional
Menomonee Falls senior sprinter Christian Almonte will happily make room, slide over and generally welcome the noise when he and many, many others from the Indian track team make the trip up to La Crosse for this weekend's WIAA State Meet.
It sure as heck beats the alternative that was last year, when he was the lone representative for Falls.
"This year has been the best athletically," he said. "I've had the most fun with all my friends, and now almost all of us are making it to state. We had a good football season and now this."
Almonte will make a return strip in the 100-meter dash and then will be part of the 4x200 relay team of Josh Lucas, Bryce McMurtry and Brandon Kivisto, as well as the 4x100 relay team of Reese Meredith, Kivisto and Lucas.
In addition, sophomores Meredith and McMurtry will also compete in the 110 high hurdles, as will junior pole vaulter Zack Pogorzelski and the 4x800 relay team of Jake McMahon, Brandon Schinker, Kaleb Becker and Adam Vechart.
Indian coach Bobby Regent-Smith was happy to make the travel arrangements this week.
"We're going with a bus," he laughed. "This is such a great feeling — a real testament to these kids. They competed hard on Wednesday (at the rain-delayed WIAA regional on May 28) and then came back just a couple of days later and gave it all they had at the sectional (at Hamilton on May 30)."
Everyone but Pogorzelski will start events in the D1 portion of the state meet Friday, June 6, at approximately 9:30 a.m. when events get going at Memorial Stadium on the UW-La Crosse campus. All trials and some finals will be held that day. The remainder of the finals, including the D1 pole vault, will get underway at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 7.
Almonte made finals of the 100 last season and will be among a crowded field of favorites in the event this season. Both sprint relays have a chance of medaling too if things go well.
"I'm glad I have the experience," he said. "What happened last year was a great wake-up call, and I hope to use that to my advantage ... It's just very gratifying (to have so many people around me). It'll help that Reese and Bryce will have their hurdle races (before the relays). They'll get to understand what it's (state) all about, and then we can go from there."
"It's a great way for Christian to end up," Regent-Smith said. "Talk about a kid who's done everything we asked and then some."
Almonte led the way as the Indians won the rain-delayed WIAA regional May 28, their sixth major meet title of the season, and then earned their state meet berths with a strong second-place finish in the WIAA sectional meet at Hamilton on May 30. They scored 81 points for their spot in the 16-team field as Arrowhead won with 96.
Interestingly enough, none of the Indian state-qualifying spots came from firsts as seconds went to Almonte in the 100 dash (personal best 10.89 seconds), McMurtry in the high hurdles (PB 15.12), the 4x100 relay (season best 43.07), Pogorzelski (PB 13-9) and the 4x800 relay (season best 8:10.86), while thirds were taken by Meredith in the high hurdles (PB 15.2) and the 4x200 relay (season best 1:29.62).
For Lucas, whose former state-qualifying swimmer older sister Haley was at the meet providing support ("I'm on the land and she's on the sea I guess," laughed her brother), getting the sprint relays home was huge. It was huge in light of the fact that season-long competitor Will Vander Horst had to be pulled out at the last minute because of recurring cramping problems.
"Things started to come together in the relays about midway through the season," he said. "It was a little off and on for a time, but now it feels great. This is my first time to state (in any sport), so this'll be fun. It kind of sucked losing the conference title (to Brookfield East) like we did, but then we came back and won the regional (on May 28) and even with all the injuries, everyone fought through."
McMahon is happy to be going to state with the relay team. He is used to going to state in big groups, having been part of the hyper-successful wrestling team in the winter.
"There have been about three or four of us who have been doing this (the 4x800 relay) for a few years now (Becker and Vechart), and then we had Brandon (Schinker) join us this year," he said. "They've been great teammates. There's just great camaraderie in the group. Now it's terrific that we get to go up there (to state) and try to do our best one more time."
Regent-Smith said the relay concept has been a successful part and parcel of the Indian program for more than a decade now.
"We try to sell the kids on the idea that track is as much of a team sport as there is out there," he said, "and the relays epitomize of all that. You're not in it just for yourself, but for the other four or five guys who are part of it all."
Other sectional efforts included the following: high jump — Darron Murray, fourth (6-3); long jump — James Jorgenson, seventh (19-21/2); 100 — Kivisto, sixth (11.46); 400 — IJ Bullock, fifth (50.41); 800 — McMahon, seventh (2:12.4); triple jump — Adriaan Roscher, fifth (41-73/4), and Wil Roscher, seventh (40-91/4); 3200 — Becker, seventh (10:33.95), and Ben Maas, eighth (10:38.29); and pole vault — Aron Schwartz, fifth (13-6).
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