Oak Creek boys track and field team use balance to take Southeast Relays title
Franklin places third at meet
The Oak Creek boys track and field team put behind the disappointments of a challenging spring season and used four firsts to earn a surprising championship in the Southeast Conference Relays that it hosted on April 30.
"The success of the team came down to team members picking each other up and putting forth a tremendous effort, given that they were not prepared for the heat (over 70 degrees) of the day," said coach Rick Stack. "All day long, with each passing event, the team was always looking towards the next challenge as many athletes were asked to compete in multiple events.
"The team is young and they met the challenge as if they were a seasoned team."
Oak Creek, which will also host the Southeast Conference Outdoor meet on Tuesday, scored 98 points for its spot as Racine Park was second with 84½ and Franklin, behind a victory in the 1,600-meter sprint medley relay, was a strong third with 81½ .
The weather conditions were unusually warm given the bulk of the spring has been cold and wet.
The field events greatly benefitted the Knights as three of the four Oak Creek event wins occurred in that area.
The pole vault team of Derek McAllister, Michael Griffin and Paul Nuyda had the only complete team to clear three heights as the Knights combined for an effort of 30 feet in the event. Franklin's Colton Bunn (12 feet) was the only other person to clear a height as the Sabers picked up second by default. None of the other six schools had pole vaulters.
McAllister had the best height at 13 feet.
Other field event wins for the Knights went to the triple jump team of Macen Leonardi, Joe Ford, and Virgil Hammond (116-6) and to the discus trio of Robert Campos, Peter Mitchell and Parker Brehm (382-4 ½). Campos had the best individual throw of 157½ .
Oak Creek's lone victory on the track came in the 1,600 relay as Thomas Kroon, Chase Leonardi, Wezley Turner and Caleb Ogden turned in a season best of 3 minutes, 30.98 seconds.
Stack also pointed to the good depth the Knights had as seconds went to the 400-meter relay team of Nick Baumann, Turner, Colten Brickler and Hammond (season best 44.4); and to the surprising shot put trio of Peter Mitchell, Jamel Daher, and Campos (Mitchell had the fourth best individual throw at 44-5).
The distance team came up with a pair of critical thirds including the 6,400 team of Austin Zajkowski, Evan Siira, Chris Cieminski, and Noah Gill (19:57.83) as Zajkowski turned in a fine individual 1,600 split of 4:38. The distance medley team of Ogden, Leonardi, Evan Siira and Zajkowski (11:30.01) also took third.
Hammond had the best individual long jump in the field (20-1) as Oak Creek took fourth in that event.
"What was overlooked by many was the great efforts put forth by the other members of the team that were not conference champions yet were instrumental to the win," Stack said. "It is hoped the boys will be able to use this meet as a springboard to the rest of the season - a season that has been very difficult because of the weather."
Franklin coach John Troy was also pleased with his team's effort.
The sprint medley team included Blong Vang, Giovanni Flores, Cal Wrobel and Bunn and was clocked in 3:49.74 for its victory.
Seconds went to the 1,600 relay team of Matt Piotter, Wrobel and Greg Rand (3:33.19); the distance medley team of Nikolai Grabowski, Ryan Balash, Evan Watters and Zach Lee (11:23.22); the high jump trio of Tri Pham, Dexter Pierce and Brady Snelson; and the long jump team of Ernie Zazueta, Gage Kelch and Andy Schauer.
Meanwhile, thirds were taken by the 800 relay team of Colin Buck, Flores, Wrobel and Bunn (44.65); the 800 crew of Buck, Rand, Balash and Bunn (1:34.47); the 3,200 team of Watters, Snelson, Hudson Miller and Lee (8:44.94); and the triple jump team of Zazueta, Buck and Yoshi Lee (tie).
Zazueta had the second best individual triple jump (40-7).
"The boys did a great job in competing despite some trying conditions," Troy said. "This was the best that we have done in this meet in a long time. It is a real show of how deep and competitive this team is."
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