Homestead boys track advances six entries to state, aims for relay title
Caputa and Berman advance for girls
When Homestead 1,600-meter relay runner Brett Geschke opened up a huge gap on the field during the third leg of the race in the WIAA sectional on May 23, it led to a a relatively easy first-place cruise to the finish line for anchor runner supreme Jay Schneider as the Highlanders re-asserted their spring-long dominance of the event.
Not that it surprised Schneider at all or impressed him for that matter either.
"That's just Brett," said Schneider, who also advanced to state in both the open 200 and 400 races. "We're both seniors, and you've got to act like them in situations like this. We both know we're capable."
Schneider will be joined on the relay by juniors Chris Mueller and Dan Held. Other Highlanders state qualifiers include fellow senior Riley Pelisek in the long and triple jumps and surprising freshman Evan Routhier in the 3,200.
The Division 1 WIAA State Track meet gets under way at UW-La Crosse's Memorial Stadium at 4:30 p.m. Friday. All trials and some finals will be held that day. The remainder of the finals are at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
The Highlanders boys are joined by girls qualifiers Monica Caputa in the long jump and Jenna Burns in the shot put.
Meet went as planned
For Homestead boys coach Dan Benson, the sectional day went pretty much as planned.
"In the end, you always want to get through kids of state caliber and we did that," Benson said. "The sectional meet is always one of the most difficult meets to plan because so many kids are doing multiple events and the schedule, once it gets going, is pretty aggressive."
The relay turned in a state best time of 3:20.1, which was slower than its regional time of 3:19.15 set on May 20, but which is still well clear of the rest of the state.
As noted, Schneider, who was part of the Homestead 1,600 relay that suffered in the re-race fiasco at last year's state meet, was not impressed with the efforts on May 23.
"It felt like an OK race," said Schneider, who also advanced to state in the open 200 and 400 races. "It was cold weather and it gets to you a little bit, but we still qualified. All three races were kind of not super (laughs)."
As he has said earlier, it is state title or bust in that race.
Schneider also won the 200 in 22.01 and was second to North Shore rival Eric Huertas in in the 400 with a 49.95 clocking.
Pelisek, a two-time state place-winner in the triple jump, qualified for his specialty with a runner-up showing 44 feet-51/2 inches. He also added his first berth in the long jump with another runner-up effort of 21-41/4.
Freshman turns it on
The biggest surprise of the day for the Highlanders came from Routhier, a talented freshman, who was battling for the third and final state spot in the 3,200 most of the race. An Oconomowoc runner passed him with about 600 meters to go, but in the last 200 Routhier fought back and claimed that final spot by close to a second in 9:48.04.
"My first mile was OK, but then I went downhill a little" Routhier said, "but I just poured it on in that last 100. I knew that this was my only chance to go to state as a freshman. They weren't speeding up in front of me so I knew I had a chance."
Routhier was only about two seconds off the school freshman record. Ironically, the owner of that mark, former Highlander great Andy Bosley was at the meet as a coach for the host school Hamilton.
"And if he (Routhier) had gone with about 300 meters to go like he was supposed to, he would have gotten that record," said Bosley with a laugh afterward.
Homestead finished third in the sectional with 70 points as Oconomowoc won with 102.
Other Highlanders efforts at sectional included the following: 3,200: Ben Jurenec, eighth (10:23.32); 300 intermediate hurdles: Vincent Wilkerson, sixth (42.4); 400 relay: Pelisek, Geschke, Mueller and Held, sixth (43.92); high jump: Elijah Triggs, seventh (5-10); pole vault: Parker Lewis, sixth (11-6); shot put: John Marita, eighth (43-71/2); discus: Marita, fifth (139-9) and Patrick Rosenberg, sixth (135-9).
For the Highlanders girls, Caputa earned a repeat berth at state with a little luck and a little skill. She tied for third with a Menomonee Falls competitor at 17-11/2, but earned the final state slot by benefit of the better second jump.
"My best one was my last jump," Caputa said. "I was fourth going in so I really needed it. It's nice to be going back to state because even with all the rain (and other bad weather) it's been a fun year with a nice team."
Burns, a senior, earned her first berth with a third-place showing of 35-31/2 that was just 21/2 inches ahead of the fourth-place thrower from Germantown.
Elsewhere, unfortunately, the Highlanders were on the wrong side of the third place line as the 400 relay team of Leigh Berman, Elyssa Tracy, Melinda Gayle and Alex Lutz was fourth in 51.51, and Caputa lost out on a second state slot in the high jump on the basis of more misses (clearing 4-10).
And Elyssa Tracy had a big advantage on a Falls jumper for the third and final slot in the pole vault until the Falls competitor cleared 10-6 on her final try, knocking Tracy, who cleared 10-3, back to fourth. Nia Feaster was also fourth in the triple jump by 41/2 inches at 34-8.
"It was a real up and down day," head coach John Krueger said.
Homestead finished seventh in the sectional field with 381/2 points as Arrowhead won with 137.
Other finishes for the Highlanders included the following: 1,600: Anna Kreynin, fifth (personal best 5:29.52); 1,600 relay: Mary Kate Simons, Ellie Hetrick, Shelby Comeau and Allison Fochs, eighth (4:24.01); and 3,200 relay: Allie Richards, Larissa Clopton, Kreynin and Bella Stechshulte, seventh (10:45.71).
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