They won just one event, but the Mukwonago girls nonetheless took a comfortable sectional championship home from Wisconsin Lutheran on Thursday, recording 91 points to easily out-distance itself from Franklin (67) and everyone else.
More importantly, the Indians patched eight entrants through to the WIAA Division 1 state meet, beginning Friday. Top-three finishers at the sectional advanced.
"They have earned all of their success by hard work, being very coachable and simply great kids," coach Craig Huelsman said. "We are all very proud of them."
Huelsman pointed to the single title -- won by Steph Pladies in the high jump -- as a sign of his squad's "blue collar" approach. It was also a sign of the Indians' dominance in the event, with Pladies (5-2), Courtney McKeever (5-2) and Alexis McKeever (5-1) sweeping the state-qualifying spots.
"(Pladies) is so much fun to watch; she just seems to snake over the bar," Huelsman said. "Obviously, our high jump kids were fantastic. What a unique accomplishment for those three."
The 4x200-meter relay unit of Kim McArthur, Kaylor Knapmiller, Danielle Zion and Brooke Sawatske ran second in 1:46.63, and the 4x100 of Zion, Knapmiller, Mandy Sinkler and Sawatske took third in 50.79, roughly half a second ahead of fourth place to make state.
"They really hit their handoffs and ran hard," Huelsman said. "Brooke Sawatske was the only member of either team to even run on those relays last year. What a tremendous improvement."
Courtney McKeever will be busy in LaCrosse. She took third in the 100 (16.03) to advance and also placed third in the 300 hurdles at 48.20 to land a third state-qualifying berth.
Sinkler also took second in the pole vault, clearing the bar at 11-0, in addition to running the fastest leg of the 4x100 crew.
The 4x800 team (Megan Whitehouse, Hannah Lomen, Courtney Lloyd, Taylor Pozorski) took fourth, roughly a second and a half behind the last qualifying slot. Huelsman called it his team's best effort of the day.
"We came up just a little short, but I really respect the way those four kids were willing to hurt for one another. They had a 20-second improvement from regionals and all four ran a lifetime best."
Huelsman also complimented the finish of senior Mel Pomaville, who ran fourth in the 300 hurdles and seventh in the 100 hurdles.
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