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Almonte, Menomonee Falls boys track team earn two medals in state meet

Indians compete well in rain

June 10, 2014

There were never any real superstars on the remarkably successful Menomonee Falls boys track team this season.

Not any real game-changers like multi-time state champion hurdler Matt Widule or all-time distance great Tim Hacker. There were excellent performers like sprinter Christian Almonte and high character people like Adam Vechart or Will Vander Horst, but he heart of the team was always its depth and its ability to put forth maximum effort.

And that's what the Indians showed in the WIAA State Meet last weekend in La Crosse, as Almonte lived up to his expectations with a third place in his specialty, the 100-meter dash, and then helped the 4x200-meter relay team that included IJ Bullock, Brandon Kivisto and Josh Lucas earn a fourth-place medal.

In fact, all soggy weekend long, the Indians either set season or personal bests as they concluded their season on a positive note, taking a competitive tie for 19th in the D1 team standings.

How good was the Indian weekend? So good that even the 2010 state record that Falls set in the 4x200 relay withstood a fierce challenge from a Muskego team and will live to see print in the 2015 state meet program.

"We never had the Glen Harold types (the state record-setting pole vaulter from Brookfield East)," said Indian coach Bobby Regent-Smith, "but we really did what we could. We maximized everything that we had."

Falls scored 13 points for its spot as Kimberly broke a 12-year run of Milwaukee-area champions with 57 points while Wisconsin Lutheran was second with 47.

The senior Almonte led the way. He struggled with a poor start in the 100 prelims on Friday, June 6, but still advanced as the sixth seed.

He bettered that on Saturday, getting a great start and finishing in third with a clocking of 10.94. Middleton's Ernest Winters won in 10.83. The 100 final, like everything else, was delayed several hours by a thunderstorm that moved through the La Crosse area.

"It felt like a good race, those guys are just fast," Almonte said. "It was a close race. I went in hoping for the top three, that was the real goal, so I can't be too unhappy. Last year's experience (when he made the finals in the 100) really helped. The delay also helped too. I got a good warm-up in the morning and then again in the afternoon."

The 4x200 relay, with the senior Bullock switched in for sophomore Bryce McMurtry, turned in a season best of 1:28.92 in the Friday preliminaries and then on Saturday, as mist came down again (fortunately, for only a short time), it moved up to the fourth spot with a clocking of 1:28.98.

As noted, Muskego won the race with a 1:27.41 time.

"All the young guys stepped up, here and all year long," said Almonte.

The Indians also made the finals of the 4x100 with Almonte, Reese Meredith, Kivisto and Lucas on the team. They turned in a season best of 42.98 in earning the 10th and a finals spot out of the trials, and then moved up to seventh in the finals under much cooler and wetter conditions with a 43.33 time.

Also making the finals was sophomore McMurtry. He claimed the last spot in the 110 high hurdles with a 15.25 time and then moved up to ninth in the finals with a 15.24 clocking. There were five seniors ahead of him in the finals. Fellow sophomore Meredith was 14th in the 110 trials with a 15.45 time.

Regent-Smith said McMurtry had a heck of a sophomore year, also starting as a receiver/wingback on the football team and as a guard on the basketball team.

Pole vaulter Zack Pogorzelski was one of those most affected by the Saturday delay as his event was moved indoors to Mitchell Hall while everyone waited out the weather. The starting height was moved up to 13 feet, but the junior Pogorzelski adapted, clearing that height and 13-6 to take 10th in a field of 24 competitors. As noted, Harold from East set a new state record of 16-1.

"For him to have to come in at 13-0 and then do what he did, you couldn't ask for anything more," said Regent-Smith of his man. "He had to warm-up outside and then come inside. He also had a good try at 14 feet (which would have been a PR)."

The 4x800 relay team of Brandon Schinker, Vechart, Kaleb Becker and Jake McMahon had started off the Indians' meet well on June 6, as they dropped close to 10 seconds off their previous season best and moved up from 21st to 16th with a clocking of 8:00.96. Regent-Smith said all the splits were good but said that McMahon anchored it well in an impressive 800 split of 1:57.

"The relays were amazing," said Lucas. "When was the last time we had three relays at state do so well?" The big year of 2010 is the answer.

The only disappointment of the weekend was that the senior relay runner Vander Horst could not run, as leg cramps that have bothered him the last few weeks cropped up again.

"Other than that, we're really happy with what went on this weekend," he said.

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