December 29, 2010 | 08:27 AM
|Pick up the Lake Geneva Regional News for the other stories that topped 2010, including the Big Foot football team's march to the state semifinals and the Badger football team's run of victories after a slow start. |
1 In 2010, it was the summer of Badger track.
The boys and girls squads sent numerous athletes to state, and they didn't come home empty-handed. The following is a story that originally ran June 10.
The Badger track squads entered 18 athletes in the state tournament Friday, June 4 and Saturday, June 5 at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and four of them returned to Lake Geneva with medals.
Overcoming a raucous atmosphere and thousands of fans, seniors Justin Bowers and Jarek Kunz took second place in the long and triple jump, respectively. Bowers landed a leap of 22-2.75 after two scratches, and Kunz posted a personal-best 46-3.5 to finish second. Kunz's mark broke his own school record.
The other medalist was the 400 relay team of Bowers, Kunz, Wes Aranda and Connor Kotula, which grabbed fourth with a school-record time of 42.52 Saturday. The squad was seeded first going into Saturday's run and has improved its time at every competition.
"Anytime you run your best time in your last race you need to be happy," coach Dave Jaeger said about the relay team.
Jaeger added that Badger will miss its seniors.
"The seniors have been the backbone of this team and will certainly be missed," he said. "We wish them well as they move on to college."
While those four athletes came home with some souvenirs, plenty of other Badger athletes left their mark at state.
For the boys, Aranda also competed in the 100 dash, where he ran an 11.66 and failed to qualify for finals. In the shot put, Joe Cycher tossed a distance of 47-2.5, which placed him 24th. Also, the 3200 relay team of Jordan Skates, C.J. Morris, Dan Sepe and Corey Nevin finished 22nd with a time of 8:12.96.
On the girls side, Megan Mulligan had a busy Friday for Badger. Her best finish came in the 200 dash, where she took 14th in the preliminaries with a time of 26.41. She also was 25th in the 100 (13.73) and 21st in the 400 (1:02.03). Freshman Tristan Sproul grabbed 19th in the 800 run (2:22.80). In the 3200 relay, Sproul, Karina Reeves, Courtney Frederick and Aaryn Edge placed 20th with a time of 9:53.13. Finally, in the 800 relay, Alyssa Humphrey, Britt Granholm, Alicia Hasse and Carly Beil nabbed 21st with a time of 1:49.31.
Bowers had eventful Friday
Is it possible for a student-athlete to be too athletic?
Bowers competed in the long jump and 400 relay Friday.
During preliminary warm-ups for the long jump, which lasted about two hours due to impromptu meetings from officials over the eligibility of two competitors, Bowers was ready to jump. But the delay of the event caused it to occur simultaneously with the 400 relay, and Bowers was forced to run in the relay (as the anchor) and quickly return to jump.
"It threw me off a little bit," said Bowers of the delay. "Especially because there was a mix-up with two guys scratching, and it postponed the start of the long jump. If it would have started earlier, maybe I would've done better."
Bowers, seeded first with a jump of 23-1, grabbed second in state with a leap of 22-2.75 in the finals. But it was almost for naught. He scratched on his first two jumps by slightly stepping over the marker but recovered for the solid final jump. Bowers' goal was to win state, but second worked just fine.
"I had to switch up my steps, and the adrenaline got to me," he said. "Second place is just fine with me. There was great competition. I was satisfied, but I think I could've done a lot better. Overall, I'm happy."
Kunz excels on Saturday
The Badger boys track squad may not be returning to Lake Geneva with a state title, but thanks to the efforts of Jarek Kunz and the 400 relay team on Saturday, it now boasts three state medalists and two new school records.
On an overcast and eventually rainy day Saturday, Kunz nearly catapulted his way to a state championship in the triple jump. Thanks to a leap of 46-3.5, Kunz held the best mark with only two jumps remaining in the competition. Unfortunately, those jumps came from La Crosse Logan's Kenny Winslow and Cedarburg's Josh Dixon, two opponents seeded higher than Kunz. Winslow only jumped a 46-1, but Dixon saved his best for last. After scratching on the previous jump, Dixon landed a 47-5, good enough for first place.
Kunz ended up second, then immediately hustled over to prepare for the 400 relay race. Kunz's leap was a personal best and set a new school mark. "I was nervous but happy I was sitting in first," Kunz said. "It was a personal record, so I'm happy with it. I did the best I could."
But he wasn't done with the record books. Kunz along with Kotula, Aranda and Bowers broke their own school record in the 400 relay set the previous day with a 42.52, which placed them in fourth. Milwaukee Riverside won state with a 42.21.
"I felt pretty good," Aranda said. "I caught up to a few guys. We beat our time again. It feels awesome to keep getting better. That was the best we could do."
Pick up the Lake Geneva Regional News for the other stories that topped 2010, including the Big Foot football team's march to the state semifinals and the Badger football team's run of victories after a slow start.