Waukesha West's girls team will take the long road, and Catholic Memorial will take the fast lanes. Either way you slice it, both track and field programs have produced top seeds for the WIAA state meet, which takes place Friday and Saturday at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse.
West holds the top seed in the 4x800-meter relay, with a sectional time of 9:19.38 at West Allis Hale more than five seconds faster than the second-best time in the Division 1 field. In Division 2, Catholic Memorial holds the top seed in the 4x100 and 4x200, winning the East Troy sectional in 49.54 seconds and 1:43.39, respectively.
Both sprint relays feature Abby Finnegan, Tatum Straw, Josie Schrubbe and Kathleen Hirsch. Catholic Memorial won a state title in the 4x100 two years ago and took second last year, along with a third-place showing in the 4x200 in 2015.
The relays are two of 11 entrants from CMH advancing to the year-end showcase.
The boys 4x200 team of Matthew Lechner, Dylan Schrubbe, Eric Fridl and Austin Ciezki posted the third-best time in the state with a sectional-winning time of 1:30.26. Lechner, Schubbe, Max Cooper and Josh Karfonta ran 43.49 seconds in the 4x100, finishing in a dead heat for the top spot with Brookfield Academy. The two teams will be seeded third at state, as well.
Mike Oechsner also has a top-three time in the 400 with his winning run of 49.15, and Zach Engsberg jumped 43 feet, 2 inches in the triple jump to prevail and post the third-best distance in the state.
Max Cooper won the long jump in 21 feet, 21/2 inches to win a sectional title, as well.
Other CMH entrants to make the state field were the 4x800 girls (Maureen Dusing, Kate Morchinski, Laura Hirsch, Gab Zuern), which ran 10:08.75 and grabbed the fourth and final qualifying spot. Straw, just a freshman, notched a third-place showing in the 100 (12.72) to advance. Maddy Rondeau took second in the 200 (26.04), and she teamed with Finnegan, Hirsch and Olivia Saggio to cross the line in 4:04.01 in the 4x400, good for second.
Only top-three entrants advance in Division 1, but West had plenty of cushion, with Emma Langer, Samantha Hanson, Becca Langer and Brooke Studnicki delivering a marvelous sectional-winning performance.
Langer seeks elusive title
For Emma Langer, the 2016 will cap off a decorated career that has featured nine previous events at the state showcase and top-10 finishes in every one. But a state title has been elusive, with Langer taking second (800, 4x400 and 4x800) in all three of her events last year and three other top-three finishes in her career.
She'll have more chances to make noise this year, and she'll have company in the 800 with the Wolverines staging a sectional sweep for the three state berths. Emma won the event in 2:12.13, just ahead of sister Becca (2:14.08) and teammate Hanson (2:18.80).
Not surprisingly, the Langers, Hanson and Maddie Frey also delivered a winning time in the 4x400, winning the sectional in 3:58.41.
Allie Gartner of Waukesha North also grabbed a sectional title in the discus with he heave of 120 feet, 7 1/2 inches.
Others advancing on the girls side from Waukesha were Carly Burlingame of North in the 100 hurdles (third, 15.81) and pole vault (third, 10-0), the South 4x100 of Armoni Brown, Deonna Johnson, Kaylee Gessay, Jestine Green (second, 48.85), Michaela Pryor of South in the 300 hurdles (second, 46.25), Green of South in the 200 (second, 25.53), Frey of West in the 200 (third, 25.82), Brooke Lytle of West in the 3,200 (11:23.33), Cassidy Kundinger of West in the high jump (third, 5-4), Marie Joannes of West in the pole vault (second, 10-0) and Brown of South in the triple jump (35-5 1/2)
On the boys side, Austin Rendon of South won the 800 meters with the state's second-fastest time (1:54.59).
Others advancing are the 4x800 team from North (Collin Ribar, Adam Schmidt, Chris Lehouillier, Chase Goodings), which took second in 8:03.65, Jalen Pickett-Vance of North in the 110 hurdles (third, 15.11), Anthony Johnson of South in the 100 dash (second, 11.14), Spencer Muffler of North in the 1,600 (4:30.42), the South 4x100 of Chris Schroeder, Tyler Knigge, Jacob Pilon and Johnson (third, 43.40), Xavier Phillips of North in the 200 (22.61), Isaiah Leaders of North in the long jump (21-8 1/4), Eric McDonald of North in the triple jump (44-10 1/2) and Justice Graf of North in the discu (159-4)