Written by MITCH MAERSCH
Wednesday, 02 June 2010 16:43
Cedar Grove-Belgium High School needed a bus to take its 19 athletes to the WIAA Division 3 state track and field meet in La Crosse last season.
This year, the Rockets could get by with a compact car to transport their two state qualifiers.
Welcome to Division 2. The Rockets moved up a division this year based on enrollment and were one of the smallest schools at the new level.
The Cedar Grove-Belgium boys’ state qualifier is junior Joel Merritt, who advanced in the 1,600-meter run with a third-place time of 4 minutes, 31.03 seconds at the Whitewater Sectional on May 27. He trailed runners from Shorewood and Catholic Memorial who both finished in 4:29.65.
“Joel ran a very strategic race,” Rockets coach Steve Moore said. “Joel stayed right with them and qualified.”
The top four finishers and those with top eight performances from all sectionals qualified for the state meet.
For the Cedar Grove-Belgium girls, sophomore Kiera Depies advanced in the 800 run with a fourth-place time of 2:25.84.
“Kiera ran her best time ever,” Moore said.
Josh Mulloy, the defending Division 3 state champion in the boys’ 3,200 run who battled hip and knee injuries this season, finished sixth in 10:01.7, a season-best time but 13 seconds out of fourth.
Mulloy never fully recovered from his injuries, his coach said.
“He still ran a season-best time. Last year, he was in the 9s and this year he couldn't break 10,” Moore said.
The Rockets’ Zacke Lyons had a season best distance of 41 feet, 11 inches in the boys’ triple jump but finished eighth.
Six triple-jumpers advanced from the sectional because of extra qualifying standards. To reach sixth, Lyons would have needed reach 42-11.
Moore said participating in a Division 2 sectional was a learning experience for the Rockets.
“I think it came to a reality check. They needed to get there and see what it was really like,” he said. “People can tell you but until you get there and see it ….”
Cedar Grove-Belgium finished 21st in the 32-team boys’ standings with 10.75 points. Whitewater took first with 91 points.
In the girls’ meet, the Rockets were 22nd out of 34 teams with 10 points. Milwaukee Lutheran won the girls’ title with 79.5 points.
Turenne advances for Ozaukee
Senior Brandon Turenne was the lone Ozaukee athlete to qualify for the Division 3 state meet, winning the long jump (19-11-1/4) at the Princeton Sectional.
“Brandon was a somewhat long shot to make it to state this year,” Ozaukee coach Chris Weavers said.
“He was jumping around 17 feet early in the season, and we knew that adding three feet to have a chance to make it to state was no small task.
“He found his springs at the end of the season, upping his personal best by nearly a foot and a half in regionals and sectionals.”
For the Ozaukee girls, senior Caitlin Siesco didn’t qualify with a seventh-place finish in the 800 run but made history with a school-record time of 2:29.71.
Teammate Hillary Johnson, a junior, nearly qualified in the long jump, placing sixth with a personal-best 15-7. That effort was just 3-1/2 inches out of fourth.
“Hopefully that will give her and us coaches some incentives to make up that difference for her senior year,” Weavers said.
The Ozaukee boys finished 17th in a 24-team sectional field with 16 points. Brookfield Academy was first with 84 points.
In the girls’ sectional, Ozaukee took 26th with five points. Gibraltar won with 80 points.
The state meet will be held this weekend in Veterans Memorial Stadium at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
Divisions 2 and 3 competition will begin at 3 p.m. Friday and continue at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.