Zander Arena handed the baton to Aaron Leverson and walked across the track to hug teammates relay teammates Bryan Bloomquist and Matthew Dillon.
Though the Cougars still had to make up ground, Arena didn’t need to turn and watch Leverson’s anchor leg.
He already knew what the outcome would be.
Leverson needed less than half a lap to overtake Madison La Follette’s Christian Jaeger for the lead in the boys 4x800-meter relay at Thursday’s WIAA Division 1 Badger track sectional. The Cougars won the race in 8 minutes, 7.29 seconds, clinching a state berth in the event for the third straight year.
“We’re secure, because Aaron’s got the baton,” Arena said when asked what he was thinking while watching Leverson compete. “I didn’t have a doubt in my mind we were going to make it.”
The Cougars’ win in the 4x800 opened a big day for area athletes on a beautiful afternoon in Lake Geneva. Craig and Parker combined to send 10 individuals and two relays to next week’s state meet in La Crosse.
Elkhorn will send four individuals and two relays, Milton will send three individuals and Badger will send one individual.
Sun Prairie (134 points) more than doubled the score of runner-up Stoughton (67) to win the girls team title, while Mukwonago (150.5 points) cruised to the boys championship.
Craig sweeps 800 titles
Craig athletes won four individual titles Thursday.
Leverson topped the boys 800 in 1:57.45, while sophomore Clare Hulick won the girls 800 in 2:23.04.
Senior Trevion Moore earned his second straight state berth in the high jump, clearing 6 feet, 4 inches to win the sectional title.
Bloomquist shaved seven seconds off his seed time to win the 3,200-meter run in 9:33.20.
Parker’s Porter breaks own record
Judging from the solemn look on Ryann Porter’s face as she left the jumping pits, you wouldn’t know she had broken her own school record in the triple jump.
The Parker junior jumped 38 feet, 0.75 inches on her final attempt of the day to extend the record she set April 20 (37-8) at the Red Devil Invite. She finished second behind La Follette’s Kiara Lee (39-4.25).
“I have this expectation for myself to do really well,” Porter said. “I knew I had this in me. I’ve been waiting for this to come out.”
Porter ran the anchor leg of the Vikings’ victorious 4x200-meter relay in 1:43.99. Tina Shelton gave Parker an early advantage, which Amber Schoville and Brooke Graesslin both preserved.
Porter also qualified for state in the 100 hurdles and long jump.
Shelton won the 100-meter dash in 12.62 seconds and was the runner-up to Sun Prairie freshman Morgan Cross in the 200, while Graesslin took second in the 400.
Luke Roca tied his personal-record by clearing 13 feet, 6 inches in the pole vault to finish second, Tremar Curry advanced to state by taking second in the triple jump (44 feet, 4.5 inches) and Brody Lippens was third in the 100 and 300 hurdles.
- Milton’s Dane Nelson swept both boys hurdles races. He unleashed an explosive fist pump moments after winning the 300 hurdles in 39.32 seconds—cutting more than 2 seconds off his seed time.
“I had an OK start, but as the hurdles went I just tried to pull through and between each hurdle get faster and faster,” Nelson said after posting a time of 14.76 seconds in the 110.
Katie Chesebro (high jump) and Chrissy Hughes (100 hurdles) also advanced to state for the Red Hawks.
- Elkhorn’s Devon Davey claimed the 400 title in 49.18 seconds—breaking the school record (49.5 seconds) his older brother, Derek, set in 2017. The junior also won the 200.
“That race just kills you. You’re sprinting a full lap,” Davey said between rapid breaths following the 400.
Elkhorn senior Madison Page (long jump) and the Elks boys 4x400 relay (Matt Franz, Caden Reece, Lucas Koepke and Mason Stebnitz) won sectional titles Thursday. Lea Connolly, Emily Beinert, Shannon Wulf and Page took second in the 4x100 relay, while senior Megan Pauley (400) and junior Koepke (300 hurdles) each advanced.
- Emilee Booker was the lone athlete for host Badger to advance. The sophomore was second in the 300 hurdles. Badger senior Hope Ayres-Schulz set a school record by clearing 10 feet in the pole vault. She finished sixth.
WIAA Division 1 Badger Sectional
Mukwonago 150.5, La Follette 77, Sun Prairie 60.5, Elkhorn 59.5, Janesville Craig 55, Janesville Parker 51.5, Monona Grove 39, Beloit Memorial 33.5, Milton 33,5, Burlington 32, Fort Atkinson 29, Oregon 28, Stoughton 18, Wilmot 17, Badger 8, Westosha Central 3.
EVENT WINNERS AND AREA STATE QUALIFIERS
100—1. Tavion Wells, LF, 11.29; 3. Brody Lippens, Parker, 11.47. 200—1. Devon Davey, Elk, 22.18. 400—1. Davey, Elk, 49.18. 800—1. Aaron Leverson, Craig, 1:57.45. 1600—1. Ian Nadolski, Muk, 4:26.32. 3200—1. Bryan Bloomquist, Craig, 9:33.20.
110 hurdles—1. Dane Nelson, Milton, 14.76. 300 hurdles—1. Nelson, Milton, 39.32; 2. Lucas Koepke, Elk, 41.17; 3. Lippens, Parker, 41.36.
400 relay—1. Sun Prairie 43.16. 800 relay—1. Sun Prairie 1:29.60. 1600 relay—1. Elkhorn (Matt Franz, Caden Reece, Koepke, Mason Stebnitz), 3:24.23. 3200 relay—1. Craig (Bloomquist, Matthew Dillon, Zander Arena, Leverson), 8:07.29.
High jump—1. Trevion Moore, Craig, 6-4. Long jump—1. Wesley Juszczak, Muk, 21-7. Shot put—1. Michael Williams-Davis, MG, 57-9. Discus—1. Williams-Davis, MG, 170-4. Pole vault—1. Charlie Jungwirth, Muk, 14-0; 2. Luke Roca, Parker, 13-6. Triple jump—1. Ladell Cannon, LF, 44-9.5; 2. Tremar Curry, Parker, 44-4.5.
Sun Prairie 134, Stoughton 67, Janesville Parker 62, Mukwonago 58, La Follette 55, Elkhorn 55, Oregon 45, Monona Grove 41, Badger 34, Westosha Central 32, Milton 30, Fort Atkinson 26, Janesville Craig 20, Wilmot 18, Burlington 14, Beloit Memorial 7.
EVENT WINNERS AND AREA STATE QUALIFIERS
100—1. Tina Shelton, Parker, 12.62. 200—1. Morgan Cross, SP, 25.86; 2. Shelton, Parker, 26.13. 400—1. Ellie Trieloff, Sto, 1:00.5; 2. Brooke Graesslin, Parker, 1:00.74; 3. Megan Pauley, Elk, 1:01.14. 800—1. Clare Hulick, Craig, 2:23.04. 1600—1. Kate Kopotic, SP, 5:15.98. 3200—1. Lauren Beauchaine, Oreg, 11:06.75.
100 hurdles—1. Brooke Crosby, SP, 15.08; 2. Chrissy Hughes, Milton, 15.27; 3. Porter, Parker, 15.28. 300 hurdles—1. Crosby, SP, 46.49; 2. Emilee Booker, Badger, 46.65.
400 relay—1. Sun Prairie 50.18; 2. Elkhorn (Lea Connolly, Emily Beinert, Shannon Wulf, Madison Page), 50.21. 800 relay—1. Parker (Shelton, Amber Schoville, Graesslin, Porter), 1:43.99. 1600 relay—1. Sun Prairie 4:06.27. 3200 relay—1. Monona Grove 9:42.28.
Discus—1. Ayona Johnson, LF, 134-7. High jump—1. Naomi Andrews, SP, 2. Katie Chesebro, Milton, 5-3. Pole vault—1. Taylor Christensen, Muk, 10-9. Triple jump—1. Kiara Lee, LF, 39-4.25; 2. Porter, Parker, 38-0.75. Long jump—1. Page, Elk, 17-11.5; 3. Porter, Parker, 17-6.25. Shot put—1. Hailey Brodhagen, Muk, 41-7.