Three-peat for boys track team

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Middleton’s Nnamdi Okoli won the 100-meter dash at the Big Eight Conference meet last Friday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Verona — The slip of the tongue didn’t go unnoticed by Jack Jesse.

As Middleton’s standout long jumper was discussing the Cardinals’ third straight Big Eight Conference boys’ track and field championship last Friday, the questioner inadvertently used the term “repeat.”

“Three-peat,” Jesse said. “Make sure it says three-peat, because this is just awesome.”

Yes, it was another night of awesomeness for Middleton’s still ascending program.

The Cardinals added the latest chapter to their 2015 success story on a gorgeous night at Verona High School. Middleton finished with 173 points to easily outdistance runner-up Verona (124). Madison La Follette (74), Madison West (70) and Janesville Parker (66) rounded out the top five.

“We did exactly what we wanted to do,” said Cardinals’ head coach Isaac Mezera, the architect of Middleton’s recent rise. “We met (last) Wednesday and talked about being clutch … and we were exactly that. We had so many P.R.’s. It was just a great night.”

From Jesse’s exploits in the long jump, to the fire shown by distance runner Perrin Hagge, to the blazing speed of Nnamdi Okoli, this was a night many Cardinals will remember for a long time.

Jesse might have had the evening’s most impressive — and unexpected — performance.

Jesse, a junior, entered the Big Eight meet with a personal-best mark of 21 feet, 10 inches in the long jump. Then Jesse ripped off a leap of 23-2 ½ and won the event by 18 inches.

Jesse’s jump set a new school record and is the top mark in the state this year.

“I bought new shoes,” Jesse said, trying to explain his enormous improvement. “I really don't know, but it was so cool. And the coolest part was just seeing my parents crying. That was like icing on the cake.”

Hagge had a night to remember himself.

Middleton’s junior ran a sensational 800, where he notched his first-ever win over Madison West’s Olin Hacker — a University of Wisconsin recruit. Hagge finished in 1:54.63, more than 3 seconds faster than Hacker.

Hagge’s time in the 800 set a new conference record and also ranks No. 1 on the state’s honor roll.

“I really wanted to beat him,” Hagge said. “He’s such a great runner, and this gives me a little confidence. If I can compete with one of the best runners in the state, I can probably do some pretty big things from here.”

Hagge and Hacker also had arguably the most thrilling competition of the night, going toe-to-toe in the 1,600. In a photo finish, Hacker won the race in 4:16.97, just 0.01 ahead of Hagge.

Both runners went into a full sprint over the final 400 meters, and Hagge finished that leg in a blistering 55.1. But Hacker had just a tad more in his tank and prevailed.

“That was a great race,” Hagge said. “I thought I could hold him off, but he’s really a great runner.”

Okoli, a senior sprinter, had a big night, too. Okoli won the 100-meter dash in 11.13 and was second in the 200 (22.38).

“I’m happy with a first and second,” Okoli said. “This is a great conference and there was a lot of talent in those races … so I’m happy.”

The Cardinals were happy with several performances throughout their lineup.

Middleton dominated the pole vault, where senior Noah Meeteer was first (13-0), junior Jack Zocher was fourth (12-0) and senior Max Stenklyft was fifth (11-6).

Junior Jordan Schulenberg was second in the discus (138-10). Sophomore Gus Newcomb was second in the 3,200 (9:16.12) where he set a new school record, while freshman Jack Rader was seventh (9:49.55) in the same event.

In the 400-meter dash, junior Jordan Futch was third (51.09), senior Travis Zander was fifth (51.66) and senior Zach Easton was sixth (52.26). Senior Zach Shoemaker-Allen was third in the 800 (1:59.72) and senior Roger Waleffe was sixth (2:00.25).

Senior Brett Joers was third in the 110-meter hurdles (15.66) and sixth in the 300 hurdles (42.89). Senior Sean Benedict was fourth in the shot put (47-4) and sophomore Max Elliot was seventh (43-11).

Shoemaker-Allen was also fifth in the 1,600 (4:27.37), while senior Nick Maes was sixth in the high jump and sixth in the triple jump (40-7 ½).

Senior Alex Wood was sixth in the 100 (11:46). Junior Griffin Gussel was seventh in the 200 (23.23) and junior Will Funk was eighth (23.24).

Middleton’s relay teams had terrific nights, as well.

The Cardinals’ 800-meter relay team of Wood, Gussel, sophomore Trevaun Turner and Jesse was first (1:30.19). Middleton’s quartet of junior Cole Conklin-Little, sophomore Ryan Madoch, senior Andrew Plumb and Futch was also first (8:06.00) in the 3,200-meter relay.

The 1,600-meter relay team of Zander, Easton, Waleffe and Hagge was second (3:24.18). And the 400-meter relay team of Turner, senior Nick Bilodeau, senior Tyler Holley and Wood was third (44.35).

Afterwards, as darkness crept in, the Cardinals took a victory lap to celebrate their remarkable achievement.

“The last three years have been surreal,” Mezera said. “I mean, we have three grade levels that have won the Big Eight every year. That’s amazing.”

Okoli, a key member of Middleton’s three-year run, agreed with his head coach.

“This is totally awesome,” Okoli said. “To do it three times in a row really is amazing. But we came out and executed and did what we set out to do.”

And now, the three-peat is complete. 

 

Team scores: Middleton 173, Verona 124, Madison La Follette 74, Madison West 70, Janesville Parker 66, Sun Prairie 62.5, Janesville Craig 51, Madison Memorial 36, Beloit Memorial 32.5, Madison East 13.

100-meter dash: 1, Okoli, Mid, :11.13; 2, Tindall, V, :11.26; 3, Parks, V, :11.29; 4, Toyer, JP, :11.31; 5, Henderson-Zintz, ML, :11.37; 6, Wood, Mid, :11.46.

200: 1, Wellenstein, MW, :22.01; 2, Okoli, Mid, :22.38; 3, Vance, JP, :22.39; 4, Ifediora, V, :22.77; 5, Einstein, MW, :23.22; 6, Murry, JC, :23.22.

400: 1, Wellenstein, MW, :48.64; 2, Vance, JP, :50.56; 3, Futch, Mid, :51.09; 4, Ifediora, V, :51.46; 5, Zander, Mid, :51.66; 6, Easton, Mid, :52.26.

800: 1, Hagge, Mid, 1:54.63; 2, Hacker, MW, 1:58.07; 3, Shoemaker-Allen, Mid, 1:59.72; 4, Cotter, MLF, 2:00.02; 5, Oltman, MW, 2:00.21; 6, Waleffe, Mid, 2:00.25.

1,600: 1, Hacker, MW, 4:16.97; 2, Hagge, Mid, 4:16.98; 3, Nameth, V, 4:25.36; 4, Cotter, MLF, 4:26.13; 5, Shoemaker-Allen, Mid, 4:27.37; 6, Farrell, JC, 4:30.00

3,200: 1, Gessner, MLF, 9:14.42; 2, Newcomb, Mid, 9:16.12; 3, Nameth, V, 9:32.69; 4, Legg, MLF, 9:42.85; 5, Helstad, SP, 9:44.00; 6, Farrell, JC, 9:48.45.

110 hurdles: 1, Gutierrez, BM, :15.29; 2, Peters, MM, :15.42; 3, Joers, Mid, :15.66; 4, Herkert, V, :15.68; 5, Polk, V, :15.84; 6, Biddle, V, :15.98.

300 hurdles: 1, Gutierrez, BM, :40.59; 2, Brooks, JP, :40.98; 3, Polk, V, :41.27; 4, Noel, MW, :41.31; 5, Newson, JC, :42.56; 6, Joers, Mid, :42.89.

400 relay: 1, Verona (Tindall, Hediora, Parks, Auman), :43.20; 2, Janesville Craig, :43.99; 3, Middleton, :44.35; 4, Sun Prairie, :44.60; 5, Madison East, :45.30; 6, Madison Memorial, :45.70.

800 relay: 1, Middleton (Wood, Gussel, Turner, Jesse), 1:30.19; 2, Janesville Craig, 1:31.56; 3, Janesville Parker, 1:32.39; 4, Madison East, 1:33.87; 5, Beloit Memorial, 1:34.55; 6, Madison La Follette, 1:35.82.

1,600 relay: 1, Janesville Parker (Brooks, Sanchez, Toyer, Vance), 3:23.54; 2, Middleton, 3:24.18; 3, Verona, 3:29.29; 4, Madison La Follette, 3:30.38; 5, Sun Prairie, 3:35.20; 6, Madison Memorial, 3:35.86.

3,200 relay: 1, Middleton (Conklin-Little, Madoch, Plumb, Futch), 8:06.00; 2, Madison West, 8:06.63; 3, Madison La Follette, 8:09.27; 4, Sun Prairie, 8:11.96; 5, Janesville Parker, 8:28.97; 6, Verona, 8:30.58.

High jump: 1, Herkert, V, 6-2; 2, Peterson, MM, 6-0; 3, Morgan, MM, 5-10; 4, Diaz, SP, 5-10; 5, Brooks, JP, 5-10; 6, Maes, Mid, 5-10.

Pole vault: 1, Meeteer, Mid, 13-0; 2, Ressler, JC, 12-6; 3, Roquet, SP, 12-0; 4, Zocher, Mid, 12-0; 5, Stenklyft, Mid, 11-6; 6, Bornitzke-Wolfgram, SP, 11-6.

Long jump: 1, Jesse, Mid, 23-2½; 2, Diaz, SP, 21-8; 3, Ceballos, JC, 20-10; 4, Henderson-Zintz, MLF, 20-5; 5, Vance, JP, 20-2½; 6, Payton, BM, 20-2.

Triple jump: 1, Jackson, MLF, 45-4; 2, Herkert, V, 42-8½; 3, Auman, V, 42-1; 4, Haste, MLF, 41-9¼; 5, Gilchrist-Keinitz, MLF, 41-0; 6, Maes, Mid, 40-7½.

Shot put: 1, Deloney, SP, 50-1½; 2, Roberts, V, 48-3; 3, Enderle, MW, 47-6; 4, Benedict, Mid, 47-4; 5, Curtis, V, 45-8; 6, Williams, JP, 45-½.

Discus: 1, Roberts, V, 139-11; 2, Schulenberg, Mid, 138-10; 3, Gullens, SP, 136-10; 4, Bourne, V, 128-09; 5, Gustafson, MM, 126-9; 6, Ryan, JP, 125-11.

 

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