Nicolet defending state 200-meter dash track champ David Dunlap doesn’t usually say a lot, but what he said after a spectacular WIAA sectional effort on May 25 in Germantown spoke volumes of what he and his fellow state qualifiers intend to do in La Crosse next weekend.
“We’re going to put on a show,” he said.
As well they think they should. Dunlap will be among the favorites in both the 100 and 200 dashes when the state test is held at UW-La Crosse’s Memorial Stadium, June 2 and 3.
Further, he will anchor a 4×100 relay team that includes Kamari Clayton, Dakari Williams and John Ford that is head and shoulders above everyone else statewide with a heady sectional clocking of 41.81 seconds.
And last, but not least, Williams will be a medal contender in the 200 dash himself as will be Ford in the 300 intermediate hurdles.
The goals, to say the least, are sky-high.
“We’re just thinking about how we’re going to break that state record (in the 4×100),” said Williams.
“3 for 3,” added Dunlap referring to the number of state championships the Knights intend to earn.
Williams laughed and said he had a joking conversation with former Knight relay star and state champion hurdler Randee Drew about whether or not the two sub 42-second times the Knights posted this spring were flukes or not.
“He said we got lucky, but I think we’ll get him,” said Williams with a big smile on his face. Nicolet 4×100 teams that included multi-time state champion B.J. Tucker posted sub-42 times in both 1998 and 1999.
The state record is 41.5 by Green Bay Preble set in 2013.
The state qualifying efforts led the Knights to a fourth place finish in the 16-team sectional with 61.5 points as Arrowhead dominated the meet with 126.
Dunlap won the 200 in 21.62 while Williams was second in a tight field in 21.99. Earlier, Dunlap had won the 100 in 10.95 seconds.
Ford earned his state berth with a fine second place effort in the hurdles of 39.9.
Ford, a junior, burst onto the scene this season after a strong off-season last year.
“I spent some time with a club track team and I was able to qualify for the Junior Nationals in Sacramento,” he said. “It was a great experience.”
He admits that his work on the relay has taken a little bit away from his hurdling, but that’s not a bad thing he said.
“I’m willing to sacrifice for that,” Ford said. “I’m just giving it what I have. I can’t wait for next week.”
The Knights had one near-miss at state qualifying as senior pole vaulter Matt Aussem took fourth at 13 feet event. A vault of 13-3 was needed to make state.
Nicolet sophomore hurdle star Destiny Huven qualified for state in three events to lead the Knight girls at the sectional meet.
She will be the third seed at state in the 100 high hurdles and also advanced in the 300 low hurdles and the high jump.
Huven qualified for state in the 100 hurdles last season and she said the experience will help her greatly.
“I’m stronger, more experienced and I’ve faced a lot of good competition this season,” she said. “I’ve concentrated on running my own race and focusing on my technique this year too. It was good that I was at state last year. I know a bit now of how sectional and state work and that really helps.
“Having great family and coaching support has really helped too.”
Huven dominated the 100 hurdles at the sectional with 14.67 clocking, and was a close third in the 300 hurdles (46.31). She also finished second in the high jump at 5-2.
She will be joined at state by senior pole vault Rylee Callahan who advanced with a second place effort of 11-0.
Senior distance runner Nora McGuire finished a great career by narrowly missing out on a state berth in the 1,600, when she took fourth in 5:21.54. The 4×100 relay team of Victoria Borum, Renee Parish, Zaria Purifoy and Huven was a sound fifth in 51.46.
The Knight girls were also fourth in the 15-team sectional with 60.5 points as Milwaukee King won with 123.