For Brookfield East boys track coach Mike Steiner, it’s all about the process.
His Spartans won their fourth WIAA State D1 title in six years last season because they didn’t take anything for granted.
East lost a huge number of great athletes off that team, but because the process still works, the Spartans are still having another typically huge year. They’ve won the first two legs of the Greater Metro Conference triple crown and will look to defend their outdoor title on Tuesday, May 16.
They prepped for that challenge with a workmanlike effort that netted them the title in the 10-team Ron Burling Invite at Menomonee Falls on May 9.
Steiner said there’s an old-fashioned method to the successful madness that he and his staff coax out of their charges.
“We take it one meet, one practice at a time,” he said, pulling out a hoary old coaching axiom. “We just try to develop the kids to be the best they can be. They’re good kids and they want to get better. They’re coachable, they work hard and when the gun fires, they’re ready to go.”
East scored 136 points for its title as Falls was second with 115, and Whitefish Bay third with 76. Other area finishers included Homestead fourth (71.5), Nicolet sixth (53.5), Brookfield Central seventh (47.5) and Sussex Hamilton eighth (46).
Earning victories for the Spartans were Caleb Wright in the 110-meter high hurdles (15.31 seconds) as teammate Avery Barnes was second (15.46), the 4×400 relay team of Saxton Williams, Barnes, Jas Wodnicki and Sam McTaggart (3:26.61); and Cameron Bauer in the triple jump (45 feet-3.5 inches).
Seconds for East went to Williams in the long jump (22-3.5), Bauer in the pole vault (13-6), Michael LeClaire in the discus (137-9), the 4×100 relay team of Morris Seaton, Wright, Abel Christiansen, and Williams (44.03); and Wodnicki in the 800 (2:00.72).
For Falls, it was an encouraging final tune-up as they continued to reload after big losses from their strong 2016 team.
Highlighting the Indians showing was a state best winning effort by Cameron Jemison in the pole vault 15-3. The mark also broke his own school record of 15-0 set last season.
2016 state finalist Matt Nienow also won the 300 intermediate hurdles (40.28), as seconds went to Brandon Schaefer in the shot put (48-8), Davis Corrazarri in the high jump (5-10), and Ethan Richmond in the triple jump (40-9).
Nienow, a senior, said the meet was another good step forward.
“At the beginning of the year, we weren’t sure how things would work out,” he said, “but somehow we’ve managed to get better and better. We have a lot of young kids out there and it’s good to have them out there to teach.”
Homestead, which will look to win the North Shore Conference title on May 16, was led by double winner Drew Bosley.
The state cross country runner-up in the fall, Bosley is just coming back from a foot problem but looked ready to make a strong season-ending surge as he won the 1,600 with a meet record effort of 4:25.09 over his runner-up teammate Thomas Miller (4:27.23) and then rallied to take the 800 (2:00.43).
“I just had my first good races last week,” said Bosley, “so it was all about patience for me. I’m getting healthier. I haven’t had as much speed work yet and it shows, but my strength is still good because of the cross country season.
“I’ll get in some good speed workouts these last few weeks and then I’ll be ready to go.”
For Bay, which will be chasing Homestead next week at the NSC, the Blue Dukes got a first in the 200 from sprinter Evan Murray in a very quick 22.25, as twins Rhys (51.9) and Rowan Koch (52.28) went one-two in the 400, respectively.
The 4×800 relay of Eli Dyer, Jimmy Ziebell, David Potter and Robert Ali (8:29.48) was second, as was Murray in the 100 (11.15).
Murray also thinks the Blue Dukes are ready for a big season-ending push.
“We have a lot of guys who have stepped up this year, a lot of guys who will be back next year,” he said. “We also have a fair amount of experience back and that will really help once we hit the bigger races.”
Nicolet was led by state 200 champ David Dunlap Jr., who edged Murray in the 100 (11.14) and who then anchored the 4×100 relay team of Arsian Jumabayev, John Ford, and Dakari Williams to a victory in 43.45. Keno Scott filled in for Ford on the 4×200 as the Knights finished second in a quick 1:30.23.
Ford was also second in the 200 (22.32).
Central got a second out of Blake Boles in the 3,200 (9:54.63) while Hamilton got a meet record winning effort of 22-8 out of Ty Olejnik in the long jump.