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Track at the West Allis Hale Mondo Invitational

The University School track team competed in the West Allis Nathan Hale Mondo Invitational on Saturday, April 13th hosted by Nathan Hale High School at the West Allis Athletic Complex.  The USM boys team took 11th place in the meet.  The USM girls team took 16th place in the meet.

Both the weather and the competition challenged the Wildcats.  The day was cold and blustery for mid-April.  Many of the other competitors in the meet were from WIAA Division 1 teams.  They offered tough competition for the Wildcats in their season-opening races and field events.

Joe Eason, USM’s head coach offered his comments on the day, “We had a really nice start to the varsity season today, despite the cold weather. The wind and the chill kept times down a little bit, but we still put up some very good times and distances for the early part of our season. This meet featured some of the top teams in Division 1 competition and every year it pushes us a little bit more. We were short-handed as a lot of our athletes were taking the ACT tests today.

“We had a number of personal bests today. When you PR in your first varsity competition of the season, it shows that you put in some work in the off season and are really focused in those tough early practices in the snow.

“Doug Grace PR’d in the discus by 9 feet. He was in the weight room all winter and has been a leader in our throwers group early this year. He didn’t score but it was a notable performance.

“Both our boys’ and girls’ 4 x 100 relay runners put points up for us and ran times pretty close to where we were at the end of last year. We feel really good about the girls’ lineup in this event. Although she’s only a sophomore, Sydney Matthews is an experienced starter and running out of the center lane did a nice job of catching up the stagger outside of her. Audrey Ferrer runs a really nice backstretch, and I was really impressed today with how Meredith Grace managed the curve. It was close in our heat when she handed off to Kristen Chou, but Kristen fought off a strong runner from South Milwaukee to win the heat. Our sectional rival Catholic Memorial finished a little ahead of us in the 1st heat, and so we do have some work to do to put us in a place where we can qualify for the state meet.

“On the boys’ side, we also have a lineup that looks great early in the year. Today the boys in the 4 x 100 relay ran just a hair less than what we ran at the sectional meet last year. Alvin Pokel got us a great start and the pass to Marcus Jay (MJ) Wilkes was perfect. He blew away the competition on the backstretch and Matias Dermond ran a great curve. The last exchange was a little shaky, but Sterling Cooke ran away with the race in the last leg of the first heat. They ran fast enough to displace all but two teams in the second heat.

“Duncan Petrie ran an amazing 400 meter race. As a distance runner working down, he ran the race wire-to-wire with a lot of confidence. In a close race, he has the ability to outlast a lot of the other runners because of his aerobic fitness and his relaxed approach.

“MJ stunned the field in the open 200. I don’t think a lot of the runners from bigger schools saw him coming. He caught up the stagger out of lane 2 early on, and after the curve he just kept up his pace when the other runners ran out of gas.

“We got a great performance out of Ishan Kuttickat in the 3200. The pace of the first mile was close to his PR in that event, and he ran his time ‘the hard way’ by sticking with the top group for the first 5 laps and then just willing his way through the last three.

CJ Boyd looked great in three of his four jumps in the triple jump. The first one was a clear scratch, but his second—probably his best—was a toenail over the line. He put up a nice mark on his third jump and that held up for fourth place in a loaded field.”

As Eason indicated, Wilkes had the top finish for the Wildcats.  He won the 200 Meter Dash with a time of 23.33 seconds, over four-tenths of a second better than his nearest competitor in the race.

The USM boys relay team of Pokel, Wilkes, Dermond, and Cooke finished the boys 400 Meter Relay race with a time 45.63 seconds to gain third place in the event.

Boyd also gained a 4th place finish for USM in the Triple Jump.  His jumps went a distance of 40 feet, 10 inches in the event.

The quartet of Matthews, Meredith Grace, Ferrer, and Chou took 5th place in the girls 400 Meter Relay event.  They finished the race with a time of 53.48 seconds.

USM also had three 6th place finishes in the meet.  Chou had two of them.  She took 6th place in the 200 Meter Dash with a time of 28.61 seconds.  Grace also competed in the race and finished 10th at 28.90 seconds.

Chou finished 6th in the Long Jump.  She leaped a distance of 15 feet, 8 inches.

Kuttickat also finished 6th for USM in the boys’ 3200 Meter race.  He finished the distance with a time of 10:29.12.

Anna Straszewski gave USM a 9th place finish in the girls’ 3200 Meter race.  She had a time of 13:32.37 in the event.

As Eason said, Doug Grace had a personal record in the Discus event.  His throw went 119 feet, 9 inches for a 10th place finish.

The Wildcats next compete in a home meet against Division 2 opponents.  They host an invitational meet on Tuesday, April 16th at USM beginning at 4:00 p.m.