Greenfield - After each winning two individual championships for Whitnall at the May 17 Woodland Conference Outdoor Track and Field Meet, Rachel Stave and Mary Erickson were called upon one more time - and they came through.
Both were asked to run in the 4 x 400 relay race, the final event of the night. The Falcon girls were nursing a narrow lead over South Milwaukee in the team standings, and they needed to finish at least second in the relay to guarantee themselves a championship.
Erickson and Stave, along with Meredith Heller and Jenny Lawton, did just what they needed to do, coming in second with 4 minutes, 8.39 seconds.
That gave the Falcons 111 points and a tie with South Milwaukee, which won that final relay at 4:07.89. Whitnall thus claimed its first conference championship in girls track since 2003.
"It's amazing that after 18 events, we were tied for the conference title," head coach Michael Thompson said. "In my 12 years of coaching, that's the first time I've ever seen that."
Thompson credited his four warriors for making the title possible with special efforts in the final relay.
"The 4 x 400 ran the fastest time in eight years, which was very impressive," he said. "Meredith was running her third race as well as having long-jumped six times; Mary was running her third race; Jenny was running her fourth race and Rachel was running her fourth race, along with three triple jumps. Those girls were gassed and still managed to run a 4:08. South Milwaukee ran a great race and earned its share of the title."
Stave had earlier won the 400 dash with 1:01.54 and the triple jump at 35 feet-2 inches. She was also second in the 200 with 27.06 seconds.
"Rachel is still battling a lower back injury, which really affects her jumping," Thompson said. "She had only jumped once since the beginning of April. She gutted out the triple jump and landed a nice one with her final jump in prelims. That was far enough that she didn't need to jump anymore in the finals. Her mark held up and she was able to save some of her energy."
Erickson captured the 1,600 run with 5:15.61 and the 800 at 2:22.48.
"Middle distance is the strength of our team, and it starts with Mary," Thompson said. "She's a special type of athlete that doesn't come along often."
Heller came in third (48.08) and Lawton fourth (48.27) in the 300 hurdles.
"(Lawton) broke the school record in the 300's, but Heller finished in third, just in front of her, to stake her claim to the record," Thompson said. "It's amazing to have two sophomores break a record in the same event. They will be battling for the next two years. I'm just glad they're on our team."
Lawton was third in the 100 hurdles (16.45), and the 4 x 800 relay team of Carrie Ingish, Kim Hurst, Riley Seiler and Katherine Crivello also placed third (10:17.02).
Also taking fourth were Danika Johnson in the 1,600 run (5:34.82) and the 800 run (2:27.92), and the 4 x 100 unit of Olivia Fallon, Shanna Kasper, Marissa Olson and Nancy Czerwinski (54.15).
Fallon also snared fifth in the 100 dash (13.53) and sixths were taken by Czerwinski in the 200 dash (28.2) and Heller in the long jump (16-3/4).
Capturing seventh were Ingish in the 1,600 run (5:44.83), Crivello in the 800 (2:31.41) and the 4 x 200 relay of Fallon, Kasper, Robyn Roberts and Czerwinski (1:55). Leah Windt was eighth in the 3,200 run (12:24.16).
Thompson also thanked assistants Tim Rodiez, Mike Neumann, Bob Goodmann, Katie McClellan and Dave Stauder for their help in winning the conference title.
THE JOY OF SHARING
The standings for the girls' Woodland Conference Outdoor:
Whitnall Falcons 111
South Milwaukee Rockets 111
Wauwatosa West Trojans 97
New Berlin West Vikings 96
Pewaukee Pirates 48
Shorewood Greyhounds 45
Cudahy Packers 37
Brown Deer Falcons 35
Greenfield Hustlin' Hawks 35
New Berlin Eisenhower Lions 33
Greendale Panthers 20
St. Thomas More Cavaliers 19
St. Francis Mariners 14
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