While waiting for the final results of the North Shore Conference outdoor in the upper reaches of the Cedarburg home bleachers Tuesday night, girls track coaches and family men Greg Siegert of Germantown and John Krueger of Homestead swapped heartfelt stories about juggling personal and professional lives.
"People often find me (on the phone) with a bottle and a baby in my lap," laughed Krueger while Siegert jostled happy toddler Kierta in his arms (he says it was a good chance to see her for an extended period of time during a busy spring).
And after family time, the pair then congratulated each other as they wound up tied for the league championship with 121 points, which was just enough to outdistance third place Whitefish Bay (118 1/2). The share gave Homestead its third straight North Shore Conference triple crown while the Warhawks took their first league track title of any kind since 1990.
"It's very gratifying," said Siegert, "and it does mean a lot to the program. Winning this is important, but more important than winning at all costs is doing it right. Winning takes a back seat to doing things the right way."
Krueger, whose team has been through an emotional roller-coaster this spring, with the death of long time assistant coach Andy Edington, agreed heartily.
"It's a real microcosm of our season as a whole," he said. "The highest of highs and the lowest of lows. And whenever you do something like this you have to tip your hat to the team as a whole because they worked hard, bit their lips and swallowed their pain, both physical and emotional."
The final result was not tallied until many minutes after the meet was over. A meet many wished would never end because of the extraordinary results that included seven conference records.
Warhawk middle distance runner Liz Wendt helped account for two of those records, as she won the 800 meters over teammate Andrea Sielicki with a clocking of two minutes, 17.83 seconds (Sielicki was timed in 2:18.83).
The duo then joined Meredith Humiston and Caitlin Dillon in a record-shattering 1,600 relay effort of 4:03.93. In that race, Homestead was second, which would have given it the title outright, but was disqualified for a rules violation.
"It's part of the learning process and of growing up for both coaches and student-athletes," said Krueger.
Other wins for the Warhawks included Dillon in a thrilling finish in the 1,600 (5:17.23) and the 3,200 relay team of Emily Anderson, Katie Hanes, MacKenzie Erdmann and Amanda Brittain (9:59.2).
The Highlanders got a pair of firsts from Marissa Savitch in the 100 high hurdles (14.55) and the 300 low hurdles (46.34). Her time in the highs shattered a 21-year old record by .45 of a second and bettered her state best time by .22 of a second.
Dana Larsen led a series of second place finishes with slots in both the long jump (16-5 1/2) and the 200 (26.33). She was also third in the 100 (12.65). Keali Bjork in the 400 (1:00.69) and the 3,200 relay team of Abby Kanyer, Emily Jeanpierre, Katie Smigelski and Carrie Rice (10:06.05) were also second.
Athlete of the meet honors surely went to Bay's Becca Schmidt, who shattered two long-held records in the sprints in winning the 100 (12.01) and the 200 (24.93) and then for good measure, also claimed the long jump (17-1) and anchored the 800 relay team of Alissa Foley, Maddie Cohen and Katie Troast to a runner-up showing of 1:47.86.
"Holy Moses, that's not a stopwatch time, that's legit," she exclaimed after seeing her time in the 100.
Later, after claiming the 200, she got reflective, noting that the Blue Dukes, who were without two state-level distance runners, were still battling hard for the team championship.
"Everyone is working as hard as they can to win it," she said. "We're pretty short-handed in the distances, but a lot of strong girls are competing very well for us."
That included Emma-Lisa Murphy, who won the 3,200 (11:39.93) and Hannah Wallace, who set a new conference record in the pole vault (11-3).
For fifth place Nicolet (80.5 points), Roni Thompson won the triple jump (36-1) while Melissa Morello was second in the 100 hurdles (16.47).
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