Falls' track invite only five years old, but is already a high-level "must-see"event

Records fall left and right

May 14, 2013

Somewhere up there, and probably with his beloved fishing rod in hand, the late Menomonee Falls boys track coach Ron Burling is smiling.

But we'll get to that later.

Five years ago when the refurbished Menomonee Falls track was new and the school wanted to show it off by hosting a high-level invitational, the Indians coaching staff really had no idea what it was getting into.

By the end of the fourth year last season it had a great co-ed 14-plus team event that produced great late-season times heading into everyone's conference meets.

It also had a logistical nightmare, as with the fact that it was co-ed with lots of entries, this school-night meet wound up not concluding until 11 p.m. last season.

That kind of late-night schedule couldn't continue, so an executive decision had to be made and so in a Solomon-like decision, the Falls administration and staff decided to split the meet into two events on back-to-back nights this year.

And everyone was much happier for that decision, especially because the weather gods chose to smile on both events with sunny, dry and warm days and that everyone was able to get home well before the beneficial sun went down.

"We were done by 6:52 p.m.," chuckled boys coach Bobby Regent-Smith of his 14-school May 7 event.

"We were out of there by 7 p.m.," laughed girls coach Andy Eisenbach of his 13-school May 8 meet. "We were getting to the point where we thought we were moving things too fast."

And that would have pleased Burling no doubt, but what would have more, is the caliber of meet that his namesake event has turned into, as teams tried to get one final good tune-up before the league tests (including Falls' own Greater Metro) that were held Tuesday.

The boys meet produced seven meet records, including startling state-best efforts from returning state track athlete of the year Carl Hirsch of Brookfield Central in the 800-meters (one minute, 52.9 seconds) and the pole vault dual between Brookfield East's Glen Harold and Wisconsin Lutheran's Christian Lucchesi who both cleared a spectacular 15 feet-3 inches.

And Regent-Smith could only shake his head when the last Falls-owned record went by the boards on May 7, when Wauwatosa West's Jimmy Reynolds edged out Indians all-time great Matt Widule's mark in the long jump with an effort of 22-61/4.

Other meet records for this five-year old event not likely to move too far in the near future include Jason Zahn of Grafton in the discus (185-0 in 2012), Collin Taylor of Brookfield East in the high jump (6-10 in 2009), Sussex Hamilton in the both the 400 (42.89 in 2011) and 800 relays (1:29.34 in 2011) and Brookfield East in the 3,200 relay (7:58.03 in 2012).

"Anything with Ron's name on it, we wanted it to be competitive,' Regent-Smith said, "and boy did it work out well."

This year's girl's meet was not exactly lacking in quality as some very high level state honor roll efforts were turned in by Milwaukee Riverside.

They included Angel Malone in the long jump (18-61/2), the 400 relay (50.17), and Valerie Thames in both the 100 high (14.65 in the trials) and 300 low hurdles (45.35).

There were others, too, such as Brookfield Central's Nicole Flatley in the 1,600 (5:01.39) and the 800 (2:18.52) and the Indians' own Mikayla Robertson, who beat Riverside's defending state 400 champ Crystal Malone with an impressive 58.75 clocking and then turned around and snagged her specialty, the triple jump, with a 37-5 showing.

Robertson said she is ready for more in both events as she is a two-time state place-winner in the triple jump and this particular 400 was her first open attempt at the event in the outdoor portion of the season.

And Flatley said she was a bit disappointed that she didn't break five minutes in the 1,600, but added, "That'll only motivate me in the future."

But the drop-dead, jaw-dropping effort of the day was saved for the end, as when the 7 p.m. hour chimed, Riverside was just hitting the finishing line with a preposterous 3:59.56 clocking in the 1,600 relay. That kind of ridiculous time is usually only reserved for the WIAA state meet and only rarely seen at the sectional qualifying level.

"That was just amazing," Eisenbach said.

And that kind of result and that kind of response would have pleased Burling all the more.

Successful invites

BOYS' TEAM SCORES (top three): Brookfield East 144, Homestead 66 and Falls 61. Top Indians results: 100 dash: Christian Almonte, third (11.49); 1,600: Ben Maas, fourth (4:39.36); 400 relay: Almonte, Will Vander Horst, Brandon Kivisto and Ayoola Olapo, fourth (44.49); 1,600 relay: IJ Bullock, Adam Vechart, Jacob Newman and Jake McMahon, fourth (season best 3:29.48); 3,200 relay: Vechart, McMahon, Newman and Kaleb Becker, second (SB 8:21.12); high jump: Adriaan Roscher, fourth (5-10); pole vault: Zack Pogorzelski, fourth (personal best 13-0); and discus: John DeWalt, third (125-9)

GIRLS' TEAM SCORES: Winner West Bend West 1321/2, Falls seventh 47. Top Falls finishes: high jump: Ashley Buddenhagen, third (4-10); Haley Precia, fourth (4-8); and pole vault: Samantha Madrzak, third (10-0)

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