The Mukwonago track and field teams have a number of state qualifiers back from last season's squad and hope to continue the program's history of success.
At New Berlin West's Viking Co-Ed Varsity/Junior Varsity Quad on March 15, the Mukwonago varsity boys and varsity girls won titles. The MHS boys JV team also won, and the JV girls were second.
"They're kind of picking up right where they left off," boys coach Vince Komar said. "We've always used the phrase and kind of lived by it, 'We don't rebuild, we reload.' A lot of programs say, 'It's a rebuilding year. Maybe we don't need to be that good.' We take that Mike McCarthy philosophy, next man up. We graduated off some seniors, and they were great pieces of our family and our team, but you know what, we're just reloading. We're bringing the next guys in."
On March 18 at UW-Whitewater's Nelson/Daniels Classic, the Mukwonago boys were third out of 20 teams with 51.5 points. Brookfield East won the championship with 55.5 points. The Mukwonago girls came in 13th out of 23 teams with 16 points. Cary-Grove claimed the title with 59 points.
Zach Dybul, who tied for second at the state meet last year in the high jump, won at Whitewater with a height of 6-9. According to Komar, Dybul hopes to reach 7 feet this season.
"The way he started, don't bet against him," Komar said.
Zach Genrich came in third in the 55-meter dash in 6.69 seconds.
"Zach is a real important piece of our puzzle, too," Komar said. "He stepped back into that 55 and did a real nice job. He also led off our 4x2, which ran almost a second faster than we did last year."
Ian Nadolski took third in the 3,200 in 9:58.86. The 4x400 relay of Evan Nelson, Ryan Schedlbauer, Mac Rybolt and Adrian Girone finished second with a time of 3:36.02. Girone, who won titles at New Berlin West in the 55 dash and 4x400, moved from Illinois and should be a strong runner for Mukwonago.
"He's the real deal," Komar said. "He's a nice little addition. With him being a sophomore, he's still got a bunch left to learn."
Schedlbauer won the 800 in 2:18.60 at New Berlin West. Alec Benzinger was victorious in the shot put (43-8 1/2), Jesse Schmidt won the high jump (6-2) and Bailey Kroll had the top height in the pole vault (12-0). The 4x400 relay of Girone, Nelson, Jacob Boucher and Jacob Haensgen placed first in 3:59.85.
Emma Wittliff had a tremendous week for Mukwonago with two wins in the shot put. At New Berlin West, Wittliff threw 38-4 and improved on that at Whitewater with a throw of 39-9 3/4.
"It was great to see," Mukwonago girls coach Steve Pratt said. "I'm excited for her and I know she was really excited. She's inches away now from the school record, which is something she's really wanted to break since she's been a freshman. It's well within reach. There are some little things we'll hopefully get cleaned up, and I think it's hers for the taking."
Kaylee Beyer battled a leg injury during cross-country season but seems to be healthy after a second-place showing at Whitewater in the 3,200 (11:58.25).
"She looks really good right now," Pratt said. "She spent the offseason not only rehabbing her calf injury but coupled it well with what she needed to do to prepare herself for the season. She's 100 percent right now, and she's running very well and very confidently."
Jacque Beine was fourth at Whitewater in the high jump with a height of 5-0.
"Once her season was done last year, she came with us down to the state meet," Pratt said. "She continued jumping into the summer and went to a couple meets. She put in time high jumping. That was good for her. She's right at that 5-foot mark. A lot of it right now is trying to work out some nerves that come with the early season, but she's somebody who I, in particular, have some pretty high expectations for this year. I think she's really going to make a name for herself in the area, especially in the high jump and a big contributor on the track for us this year."
At New Berlin West, Nekoma Flowers was first in the 200 (30.36). Alex Reszke, Delaney Smith, Sydney Wiltsey and Kasi Casper won the 4x160 relay in 1:38.42. Beyer, Maddie Yager, Katie Heinze and Jolene Sinkler were also first in the 4x400 (4:57.04).
Ninety-eight boys and around 50 girls have attended practies for the Mukwonago track and field teams this season.