The WIAA State Track and Field Meet can be the source of incredible drama.
Generally, though, that drama happens on the track, where sprints down the back stretch can be decided by a few tenths of a second in any number of races.
Camden Combs of Beloit Turner won his Division 2 gold medal in the triple jump in typically unceremonious fashion: His best jump was his final one in the preliminary round (44-7.5), and he hung on from there.
Combs, a junior, became the second straight Trojans to win the triple jump after Jo’Vontae Coleman won it in 2019.
“That tells you something about how good coach (Nolan) Otremba is,” Combs said. “Two champions in a row, that’s not an accident. I came in feeling confident, and once I hit that last prelim jump, I felt really good. The Big Foot kid (Tyler Wilson) hit a 44, so that got me a little nervous, but it felt great.”
Combs’ time on the podium wasn’t done. He later added a second-place finish in the long jump with a 22-4. Lucas Heyroth of Lodi, who also won both hurdles events, won with a 22-10.
“On one of my final jumps, I barely fouled and got into the 23s,” Combs said. “So that gives me a lot of confidence heading into next year. I’m hoping to add a running event or two, also.”
Turner junior Rachel Cleaver had an outstanding day in the wheelchair categories. Cleaver set the state record in winning the shot put with a 16-0, and set personal records in winning the 800 (2:51.76), placing second in the 400 (1:20.74) and third in the 100 (21.74).
Turner senior Presley Hasse also ended her career on the podium, placing fifth in the high jump with a 5-2.
Clinton’s Sylvia Johansen wasn’t able to defend her title in the 100, but she did retain her state record, and walked away with a silver medal.
Johansen, who set the new mark with an 11.95 in her freshman season of 2019, ran a 12.29 Friday to finish second behind Delea Martins of Shorewood, a sophomore who ran a 12.07 to win.
She was back on the podium after the 200, where she placed second with a 25.57. Martins again won, this time with a 25.00.
“Overall, I’m happy with how I did,” Johansen said. “There was much better competition this year. These girls run all year round, and I don’t have time to do that. My start on the 100 wasn’t great, but it was better on the 200.”
Brodhead-Juda’s Maddy McIntyre had a good finale as well, in a place she might as well get comfortable in.
The UW-La Crosse recruit placed fourth in the 3200 and ninth in the 1600.
“The 3200 felt so good,” McIntyre said. “A ‘PR’ would’ve been great, but running the mile on the same day, you never know. I’m happy with the time, it was my third-best ever.”
Cardinal teammate Addison Yates capped a splendid freshman year with a third-place finish in the high jump with a 5-3. She also placed 12th in the long jump with a 16-3.24.
Brodhead-Juda freshman Kalena Riemer won her heat in the 800 and ended up finishing ninth with a 2:25.35. Junior Josiah Engen placed 15th in the high jump with a 5-10.
Several other Rock Valley competitors fared well. Walworth Big Foot freshman Kaden Rambatt was second in the boys pole vault, clearing 14-0. His teammate, Tyler Wilson, was second in triple jump behind Combs. The Chiefs’ Annie Murphy won the pole vault and the triple jump, and finished fifth in the long jump to cap an incredible junior season.
Whitewater senior Trenten Zahn came into the state meet as the top seed in the 800 and finished fourth with a 1:58.
Evansville senior Riley Siltman medaled by finishing 13th in the 1600 with a 4:31 and 10th in the 3200 with a 9:57.