When it comes to Division 2 track and field, Catholic Memorial High School is the house of speed.
The Crusaders had already won the 4x200-meter relay on the girls side at the state meet in LaCrosse, and that was just the appetizer. After the same four runners — Abbey Finnegan, Tatum Straw, Josie Schrubbe and Kathleen Hirsch — set the state record in the 4x100 for the second such championship for CMH in three years, the boys team followed suit with a 4x100 victory behind Matt Lechner, Max Cooper, Josh Karfonta and Dylan Schrubbe.
The 4x100 crew broke a mark set by none other than CMH two years earlier behind the efforts of Renee Bixby, Madeline Davis, Andrea Sullivan and Erin Jaynes. Finnegan was an alternate on that relay.
'I don't know how they're going to take that,' Finnegan said with a laugh. 'They're texting me right now.
'I knew I had more years ahead of me (in 2014). I'm really good friends with the people that are on that team, and it's cool to be a part of it now and be able to stand on the podium.'
With Finnegan running leadoff, Straw second, Schrubbe third and Hirsch anchor, the squad ran 49.03 for the Division 2 record, ahead of the 49.17 set two seasons ago. They already had gold around their necks from the 4x200, running in 1:43.36 to win the event easily.
'The 4x1, you have to put in more energy,' Finnegan said. 'We were talking before the race that we just have to trust each other, and we trust the handoffs to go well.'
Straw, a freshman who qualified for the finals in the 100-meter dash, was nowhere to be found when that race kicked off.
'I was going to run the 100 finals but after the 4x2 yesterday, I strained my back muscle,' she said. 'I just couldn't do it. I have three more years to be in the state 100, but I only have one more chance to do this with all of them.'
Hirsch and Schrubbe are both sophomores, so there won't likely be a huge dropoff in upcoming years for head girls coach Chris Andacht. The same can be said for the boys 4x100, with only the senior Lechner on his way out for coach Matt Bergen. Karfonta and Cooper, first-year participants in track and field, are both juniors, and Schrubbe is just a sophomore.
Karfonta has been handling the delicate balance of playing for the CMH spring baseball team while running track. On Saturday, he anchored a state-champion relay team.
'It's been a challenge, but I've loved it,' Karfonta said. 'It's a good challenge. I wasn't able to make a lot of practices for track because we've had a lot of baseball games. I was really happy to be able to do both and happy the coaches of both teams allowed me to do that.'
Karfonta stuck to baseball last year when CMH moved from summer ball to a spring season, directly in competition with track. Cooper, who also plays football and basketball, was looking for the break in spring in past years.
'(Football coach Bill) Young, who also coaches discus and throwers, he stresses how important it is to compete year round and not just lift in the winter or lift in the spring,' Lechner said. 'He really put a big emphasis on track. A lot of our players play multiple sports, but track is a really good way to work on our speed.
'We knew once Josh Karfonta and Max Cooper came out, we had a good chance of going to LaCrosse and placing.'
All four were on last fall's state runnerup football team.
Mike Oechsner, another member of the football team, grabbed sixth in the 400 at 49.64. The 4x200-meter relay team ran third in 1:30.58, with Lechner, Schrubbe, Eric Fridl and Austin Ciezki in the mix.
Zach Engsberg took seventh in the triple jump, and Cooper took 15th in the long jump.
Maddy Rondeau took a solid fourth for the CMH girls in the 200 (25.93); she also ran a powerful second leg of the 4x400, where Finnegan, Hirsch and freshman Olivia Saggio ran 4:00.17 for third place. The girls 4x800 of Maureen Dusing, Kate Mrochinski, Sarah Briscoe and Gab Zuern took 15th.