Nicolet has always had a history of great boys sprinters and for decades has owned the North Shore Conference track record books in that department.
So, it was no surprise that the Knights’ defending state 200-meter dash champion David Dunlap and the rest of his sprint crew turned in some spectacular times when conference officials put the sprints and hurdles with gusty 20-plus mile an hour winds straight at the runners’ backs in the league outdoor at Cedarburg on May 16.
In doing so, they took down some Nicolet legends in the process. Dunlap set a league record and a state best in the 100 dash (10.58 seconds) as teammate Dakari Williams was a close second in 10.61. Dunlap did the same thing in the 200 with a spectacular 21.32 time as Williams was fourth in a state honor roll time of 21.81.
In setting his marks, Dunlap took out the 18-year league records of Nicolet state champ and legend B.J. Tucker. Tucker had turned in times of 10.71 and 21.55, respectively, in 1999
But Dunlap and Williams saved their best effort for the 4×100 relay as they joined with teammates Kamari Clayton and league 110 high and 300 intermediate hurdles champ John Ford to obliterate the NSC record and set a new state best of 41.65.
When Williams got Dunlap the stick on the final pass with the wind squarely at Dunlap’s back, it was the same effect as a cannon being shot off. Dunlap flew to the finish line an amazing 1.58 seconds ahead of runner-up Germantown (43.23).
The league record they took down was that of Nicolet’s 2012 state champs of Denzel Allen, DeVante and DeAnte Coleman and Brandon Kappel (42.53).
So it was no wonder, that shortly after the 200 final, the pleased Williams and Dunlap gave each other a laughing, leaping high-five body bump.
The records were validation of a patient approach that Dunlap and the rest of the Knights took this outdoor season. They ran slow times in the chilly late-April/early-May portion of the campaign, waiting for an 80-degree day like the one they got at Cedarburg.
And boy, did they make it count when they got one.
“We’re just getting into it right now,” said Dunlap. “We didn’t want to pull anything (get a leg injury) early on. We just wanted to be ready for (WIAA) state. We want to get ready for the big races.
“Because there’s still a lot to come for us.”
The WIAA regional and sectional qualifying meets will be Monday, May 22 and May 25, respectively. The state meet will be in La Crosse, June 2 and 3..
The sprinters’ efforts led the Knights to a strong third place team finish with 101 points, as Homestead edged Whitefish Bay, 141.5-127.5, for the title.
As noted, the junior Ford did his part, winning the 110 highs in 14.96 and the 300 intermediates in 40.3
Another win went to pole vaulter Matt Aussem (13 feet even). Junior distance runner Max Selbach was second in the 3,200 (9:52.06).