The Kettle Moraine boys track and field team has the chance to be pretty special in 2017.
One year ago, the Lasers went to the state meet in La Crosse and delivered a superb showing, finishing second in the team scoring. With a handful of key athletes back who competed in that meet, KM should be one of the favorites to capture the championship in the highly competitive Classic 8 Conference this spring.
"We'll have a target on our backs after finishing second at state last year," said KM coach Mike Dussault. "We've have some talented kids back who competed at state, so that will help. Plus, we have some other guys that did not compete at the state meet that should be impact competitors. But the conference will again be tough. There are a bunch of good teams and athletes in the league, just as always."
The biggest loss for KM will come in the weights. The group of Julio Perez, Dan Graf, TJ Lui and Isaac Scott accounted for 26 points at the state meet. Perez won the state championship in the discus last spring.
"We need to rebuild our depth in the throws and jumps," Dussault added. "The sprints will be our strength, as it has been each of the past four seasons."
The top returning letterman for KM this year is Jared Jones. He placed second at the state meet in the pole vault and won the conference title.
Ben Psicihulis figures to have a big spring for the Lasers. He was third in the 400 meters at the state meet and won the 200 and 400 dashes at the conference meet. Psicihulis also was second at the league meet in the high jump.
Four others are back from placing at state one year ago. Psicihulis, Jack Chard, Conner Lilly and Sam Delany placed seventh at La Crosse in the 4x400-meter relay.
Christian Ishag will be a rising contributor in the throws after getting distances of 50 feet, 6 inches in the shot and 160 feet in the discus. Max Duchow will add depth in the sprint relays, Travis Luterbach will work in the mile and David Seamonson in the middle distances.
"I'm picking Arrowhead to win the indoor and outdoor conference titles, and Mukwonago will be tough in the relays," Dussault said. "Arrowhead has a lot of quality guys in the distances and the relays. Mukwonago with their big squad and depth will be strong at the relays meet. The team to watch this year will be Waukesha North. They might have have the top two triple jumpers in the state followed by a core of guys that can grab some tough points in the conference meet."
Chard, Delany, Duchow and Psicihulis got the year off to a huge start with a meet-record performance at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Nelson-Daniel Classic on March 18, setting a new meet record in the 4x200 with a time of 1:32.71. The old mark (1:32.90) was set in 2015.
KM won another event title in the 4x400, with Chard, Delany, Lilly and Psicihulis finishing in 3:29.20 for first place. Psicihulis also took eighth in the high jump, and Emmett Galles took ninth.
Jones won the pole vault, clearing 14 feet and finishing 6 inches ahead of second place. The KM boys took fourth place as a unit.
Ishag placed third in the shot put (49-10)