The Oconomowoc track and field teams showed great promise in the season-opening meet at UW-Whitewater's Nelson/Daniels Classic on March 21. Oconomowoc's boys squad finished second with 54 points. Brookfield East edged the Raccoons out with 55.5 points.
Parker Ellis began his senior season with a win in the 400-meter dash with a time of 51.71 seconds. Ellis was also victorious in the 4x800 relay team (8:29.10) with Will Ullrich, Alex Vance and Michael Kluz.
"We have many upperclassmen on the team who have put in a lot of work, but this year in the season is difficult to have big expectations," boys coach Joel Heroux said. "I thought we did a really nice job all around. This year in the season we don’t like pressuring the athletes into too many events, so it was nice to see the team doing well with that in mind."
Hayden Matheny was third in the pole vault with a height of 13 feet. In the 800, Taishi Ikeda placed third in 2:01.97, and Alex Carter was fourth in 2:02.69.
Jared Schrang came in fourth in the 55 hurdles (8.16). Carter finished fourth in the high jump with a height of 6-2, and David Garczynski took sixth (6-2). Ullrich, Ikeda, Drake Reese and Lincoln Stultz were fifth in 3:37.77 in the 4x400.
Heroux said the team will be strong in the middle distance races.
"Those athletes finished last season well and have put in good work to improve," Heroux said. "We always are looking to improve in all areas of our program to contend in the WLT and at the state level."
The OHS girls were 10th with 19.5 points. Cary-Grove won the title with a 59. Maddie Lee took fourth in the 1,600 with a time of 5:21.57. Anna Henkanline was eighth in the 3,200 with a 13:28.34.
"I was happy with the way our athletes performed," OHS girls coach Andy Zietlow said. "The first meet is always a challenge to get back in the swing of things. We really did not place all our athletes in places to score lots of points, so the results were very encouraging. We tried to mix it up a bit with different relay lineups. We also put our runners in different events to get a better sense of performance and placement for future competitions."
Dana Herrmann performed well in the pole vault with a fifth-place showing (10-6). Natalie Boelter tied for seventh in the pole vault with a 10-0. Brennan Herrmann was fifth in the shot put (35-8), and Faith Ah Sam was seventh (34-1 3/4).
In the 4x400 relay, Dana Herrmann, Dani Goddard, Lee and Emma Thelen were seventh (4:22.85). The 4x200 relay team of Sydney Ellis, Claire Cotey, Goddard and Lauryn Pouchert placed eighth (1:53.75). Hannah Brandenstein finished 10th in the 800 in 2:34.91.
Zietlow believes the team will be strong in the field and distance events and is excited about the Raccoons' sprint crew.
"We have a good number of really capable sprinters this year, so we are testing athletes in different events and relays," Zietlow said.
Oconomowoc takes to the track next on March 25 at Milwaukee Lutheran.