There is a lot of talent in the sophomore and junior classes of the Menomonee Falls boys track team.
Enough to give the Indian coaching staff hope for something of a renaissance along the lines of the grand days of 2009 and 2010.
But Falls head coach Bobby Regent-Smith knows this year's Falls team would not have gotten far without the unsung group of seniors who have paved the way to a fine second half of the campaign for the team.
One that was highlighted when senior Mike Van Alstyne won the triple jump, leading the Indians to a second place finish in the Greater Metro Conference outdoor May 14.
'It was a good, good meet for us,' Regent-Smith said, 'and Mike Van Alstyne is a great kid. He came out as a freshman and his brother Mark had already been doing very well so there was some pressure on him.'
'He and the Brookfield East kid were going back and forth (for the triple jump lead) and Mike won it on his last jump.'
It was that kind of effort that propelled the Indians to a 120-1/2 point showing, which trailed only two-time WIAA state champion Brookfield East. The Spartans won with 187.
Van Alstyne and the Indians took part in WIAA regional competition Monday. Qualifiers from that event advanced to the WIAA sectional meet at Sussex Hamilton on Thursday at Sussex Hamilton. Field events will start at 3:30 p.m. and track events at 4:15 p.m.
The top three finishers in each event, plus all those whose efforts are among the top eight of all sectionals statewide, will advance to the WIAA State Meet in La Crosse on May 31 and June 1.
Regent-Smith knows he has a motivated group, one that got help recently from one of those 2010 graduates, Cole Myhra, the 2009 NOW Newspapers Football Player of the Year, who is now an All-American running back at UW-Oshkosh.
'He came back and spoke to the team,' said Regent-Smith, 'and in essence, he said 'I wasn't the world's greatest track athlete in the world, but it helped me in so many ways and it can help you too.''
The Indians took that advice to heart. Van Alstyne took the triple jump with a leap of 42 feet, 5 inches, which beat the East jumper by just 5-3/4 inches.
Other winners include junior Adriaan Roscher in the high jump (6-0) and junior Christian Almonte in the 100-meter dash (11.26 seconds).
Taking a second was the 400 relay team of Almonte, junior Will Vander Horst, freshman Brandon Kivisto and senior Ayoola Olapo (43.71).
The Indians took many thirds including Vander Horst in the 200 (personal best 22.92), junior I.J. Bullock in the 400 (51.55), junior John DeWalt in the discus (personal best 136-0), junior Aron Schwartz in the pole vault (13-0), the 800 relay team of Almonte, Vander Horst, Van Alstyne and Kivisto (1:33.59); the 1,600 relay team of Bullock, junior Adam Vechart, sophomore Josh Lucas and Van Alstyne (season best 3:28.56); and the 3,200 relay team of Kaleb Becker, Jake McMahon, Brandon Schinker and Ryan Schwalbach (8:32.06).
Fourths were claimed by freshman Bryce McMurtry in the 300 intermediate hurdles (personal best 41.41) and sophomore Rudy Powells in the high jump (5-10). McMurtry and fellow freshman Reese Meredith were praised for both making the finals of the 110 high hurdles.
As young as the Indians are, Regent-Smith kept coming back to the seniors like Van Alstyne, Olapo, Ezeugo Nwonye, Alex Cieslewicz, Jacob Newman and others who have helped hold things together the last few seasons. They helped Falls put together a fine close to the season that included a championship in the Burlington Invitational and seconds in both the GMC relay and outdoor meets.