The day was about to belong to Sam Tiahnybik, but the Catholic Memorial senior was frowning.
He wasn't the top seed in the 100 meters — he came in only sixth — but there was a look of discouragement when he crossed the finish line in the Division 2 race in 11.22 seconds, four one-hundredths behind Ryan Send of Brookfield Academy for the state title. His pursuit a first individual title would have to wait another hour.
It would be the last time he was chasing anyone in his high school career.
Tiahnybik followed with state titles in the 400 and 200 meters, and he did so in impressive fashion. Not only did he breeze to victory in his specialty, the 400, but he posted a time of 48.26, which happened to break a state meet record that had stood since 1985. He crossed the line in LaCrosse 0.02 seconds faster than Pete Nowka of Mount Horeb 27 years ago.
'Running 48.05 (before the state meet), I knew it was possible, but I'm just happy I was able to get it,' he said. 'With the video being (out of view), I didn't really notice until the end that it was up there. I didn't really think about it during the race; I was more worried about winning it.'
He had come so close before. Last year, he took fourth in the 200 and second in the 400, posting the fastest time in preliminaries but then falling short to Justin Rabon of Shorewood in the latter event.
Rabon was back at the state meet in 2013, but he wasn't in the 400, instead competing in two relays and the 200. Tiahnybik would settle that score later.
The Town of Delafield native had the top prelim time in the 400 as a sophomore, as well, but wound up fourth at a meet where he did win the 4x400-meter title with three teammates. He also anchored the winning 4x400 as a freshman, but he had never snagged an individual title.
'It really means a lot after losing the past two years and thinking I was going to win,' Tiahnybik said. 'It's almost surreal to finally win it. It's really cool to win with your teammates, but it means a lot to me now because I've worked so hard for this.'
Rabon also won the 200 last year when Tiahnybik took fourth, but this time, Send finished second and Rabon third when Tiahnybik crossed with his second state title in 22.16 seconds.
'I started training in November and using a personal trainer to make sure I could finally get this,' he said.
Rabon did still come away with one bragging right. Though Tiahnybik accounted for 28 of Memorial's 37 team points, the two-man Crusaders team just missed edging Rabon's Greyhounds for the overall crown. Shorewood won with 44 tallies.
Joe Novak took second place in the 1,600 and eighth in the 800, an impressive showing for the sophomore that missed all of his freshman year with illness.
The Memorial girls picked up a strong effort from Maddie Davis, who ran fourth in the 100-meter hurdles (15.50 seconds). She also teamed with Andrea Sullivan, Bailey Finnigan and Emily Kern to take fourth in the 4x100 at 49.96.