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Schneider, Pelisek lead Homestead boys to 12th at state track meet

1,600 relay breaks school record

Homestead’s Jay Schneider leaves the starting blocks during the 400-meter dash event at the WIAA State meet in La Crosse last weekend. Schneider finished fifth in the race.

Homestead’s Jay Schneider leaves the starting blocks during the 400-meter dash event at the WIAA State meet in La Crosse last weekend. Schneider finished fifth in the race. Photo By Peter Zuzga

June 4, 2013

Even when you do your absolute best, leave it all on the field, and lie exhausted trying to catch your breath like the Homestead boys 1,600-meter relay did Saturday at the WIAA State Track Meet in La Crosse, it still stinks to lose.

The Highlander relay came into the meet the top seed, left the trials Friday as the top seed, dropped close to two seconds from their season best and broke the school record set by the 2010 state championship squad anchored by all-time Highlander great Gabe Genovesi.

But the brilliant 3:18.2 that the Highlanders ran only netted them third behind Brookfield East (second best time all-time 3:17.26) and Waukesha South (3:17.86). East needed to win to give itself a chance at a third-straight team title, which it won, 51-50 over Green Bay Preble.

So when Homestead anchor man Jay Schneider and his compatriots Brett Geschke, Chris Mueller and Dan Held sat stone-faced on the Memorial Stadium infield after the race, no one could blame them for being frustrated.

Even their "seen-it-all" coach Dan Benson.

"I don't think I've seen anything like that in quite awhile," Benson said. "Not many in the stands were keyed in to what was happening (with the team race). It was just an incredible 4 by 4. I think our time is the sixth-best ever (for the event).

"The kids are extremely disappointed not to bring home the gold medal (in the relay). They did leave everything on the track. The event just had tremendous depth. You needed to go to a whole new level to place."

Senior efforts

Coupled with senior Riley Pelisek's third-place finish in the triple jump, his third such medal in the event, the efforts led the Highlanders to a successful 12th-place finish in the team standings with 19 points.

The relay came at the end of an exhausting six-race weekend for Schneider, who claimed fifth in the 400 (49.41, after running a 49.14 in the trials) and an eighth-place effort in the 200 (22.56 after a 22.77 in the trials).

Benson came away impressed with his senior leader's efforts.

"My only real comment about him is that he's been such a workhorse for us," Benson said. "He's just been an incredibly versatile sprinter. I'm really hard-pressed to find anyone who has scored as well in as many events as he has. To say he's been productive is a vast understatement."

The same could be said for Pelisek. The future Penn University student/athlete ended his high school career on a very high note with the third in the triple jump as well as an excellent effort that netted him seventh in the long jump.

He turned in an outdoor personal best of 45-3 3/4 in earning his spot in the triple jump. That effort came on the first effort of the finals, after he had qualified only 10th for the finals.

"I was down about a foot-and-a-half, so I needed to do something," Pelisek said. "After my best one, I tried a couple of new things (to move up) but they didn't quite work out."

The medal is the third for Pelisek in the triple jump. He lost out to only Keyshawn Davis of Milwaukee King (46-11 1/4) and Mukwonago's Jeremy Harr (46-4).

"It was my third medal medal, I put it all on the line and I lost only to two really great jumpers," Pelisek said. "It's made for a fun four years."

The previous day, under warm and very windy conditions, he turned in an effort of 22-1 1/2 in a very good field to take seventh in the long jump, as Madison Memorial's Daurice Fountain won with an impressive leap of 23-2 3/4.

Benson said the competition got dragged very long (around four hours) between trials and finals and that may have gotten Pelisek a little off his rhythm.

"Still, everything he did was an incredible accomplishment," Benson said.

Freshman distance runner Evan Routhier gained valuable experience when he took 25th in the 3,200 with a 9:55.58 clocking.

"He's a kid who's just going to absorb it all and be better for this," Benson said.

A rewarding season

The meet ended another spectacular season for the Highlanders that included a second at the state indoor meet and still another North Shore Conference triple crown.

The list of seniors is long for Homestead and is headed up by Schneider, Pelisek and Geschke.

"It was just a tremendous list of outcomes this spring," Benson said. "We'll have a lot of work to do next year, but this season has been very, very rewarding."

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