Never let it be said that Germantown defending state track long jump champion Shon Pratcher doesn’t know how to respond to a challenge.
Pratcher, who set a remarkable state best and school record of 24 feet-3-1/2 inches in the recently held North Shore Conference meet, was passed late in the WIAA sectional competition the Warhawks hosted on May 25 by Sussex Hamilton’s Ty Olejnik.
But Pratcher, who had one attempt left, didn’t take that push lying down, as he popped a state-wide sectional best of 23-2 3/4 to win the event and again make himself the favorite to win state next week in La Crosse.
He will also be among the contenders in the triple jump after a winning sectional leap of 45-1.
“I had good jumps early (in his long jump sequence),” said Pratcher, “but then Olejnik goes 22-7 and I said ‘Shoot, now I’ve got to take my last jump’ I knew I had to pull it out.”
Pratcher said he’s feeling good, but knows it will be an intense long jump competition on Friday, June 2 at UW-La Crosse’s Memorial Stadium as he will square off with fellow 23- foot Adam Lembke of Waukesha West and the insanely talented Cordell Tinch of Bay Port, who is among the favorites to win the long, high and triple jumps.
“I’m feeling good,” said Pratcher. “A little nervous, but that’s regular for me. Confidence-wise I’m good to go.” He was also sixth in a very fast 200 dash field in 22.43.
Pratcher will be joined at state by junior thrower Cal Knapp, who was second in the shot put with a toss of 50-8. Germantown finished seventh of 16 teams in the sectional with 48 points as Arrowhead dominated the meet with 126.
The 4×800 relay team of Ben Cincotta, Sean Drinan, Jake Garvey and Dylan Ayer, was one spot from state when it earned fourth in a season best of 8:12.42. Freshman distance runner Ben Schnoor showed great potential for the future when he took sixth in the 3,200 with an excellent time of 9:42.87.
The worse place in the world at track sectionals is fourth place, one spot out of automatic qualifying for the WIAA state meet.
That happened four times to the Germantown girls in the sectional they hosted on May 25, but in one instance it worked out, as senior multi-time state relay placewinner Kenzie Schmitz’s fourth place 400 meter dash time of 57.59 was among the top eight performances out of all sectionals statewide.
So Schmitz, the all-state basketball player with the scholarship to Miami of Ohio, has one more week of prep competition left to take part in as she will join fellow senior Erin Willard in the long jump and the 4×800 relay team of seniors Emily Bethhauser, Molly Baus and Alyssa Goesch and sophomore Sami Stieve at the state meet June 2 and 3 in La Crosse.
All three entries will be contenders for state medals as they are all among the top eight efforts statewide. In fact, Schmitz will have great incentive in her heat, as she is lined up against defending state champion and state recordholder Brooke Jaworski of Wausau West.
Those state qualifying efforts led the North Shore Conference champion Warhawks to a fifth place effort of 59.5 points in the sectional as Milwaukee King won with 123.
The 4×800 got the day off to a great start for the Warhawks as they took second in a tight race to Arrowhead with a season-best of 9:28.85. The effort made up for a close near-miss at sectional last season for the relay.
“I knew it would be close,” said the multi-time state-qualifier Goesch. “I had to fight for it all the way. This really helps make up for last year. It really means a lot for the three seniors on this relay.”
Willard, a returning state qualifier herself, turned in a fine effort of 18-2 in taking second in the long jump.
The near-misses for state for Germantown included sophomore McKenna Klopfer, fourth in the 100 hurdles (15.78); Goesch fifth in the 800 (2:27.29); the sophomore Stieve in the 3,200 (fourth, 11:19.55); and the 4×400 relay team of Melina Kopischkie, Baus, Goesch and Schmitz (fourth, 4:04.64).