The Germantown boys track team wanted to wear new uniforms for the WIAA state meet in La Crosse, June 3 and 4.
The team isn't due new uniforms for about a year, so to satisfy his athletes' wishes, coach Greg Siegert reached back in the past for the slick all-black unis with the big blue 'GT' lettering on the front of the Warhawks' halcyon days of 1998 or so.
Current Germantown assistant Chermond Thomas, an all-state running back from around that time as well as a top flight sprinter and jumper for the track team, did a double-take.
'He asked me, 'Hey, aren't those our uniforms?'' Siegert said.
Siegert confirmed that they were, and they both, no doubt, noticed how cool newly-crowned 2016 state long jump champion Shon Pratcher Jr. looked on top of the awards podium wearing that uniform with his sunglasses on.
Pratcher Jr. was as cool in performance as he was in his look. He had broken Randy Nickel's decades-old school record with his sixth-place effort at state as a sophomore last season, and then he set about transforming himself to make himself even stronger.
'He is up about 20 pounds from sophomore year,' Siegert said. 'You could see how he turned himself into a real athlete. He has all the tools; now it's just impressive to see what he can do.
'He's just a special athlete, and he's so humble. He was like, 'I just won,' like it was any other meet. He'll probably understand the impact of it when he's older, but I'll tell you what was really impressive. He scratched by just a millimeter or so on a really big one; it had to be in the mid-23 (foot) range, and then he turned around and jumped that 23-1 (and 3/4) that won it.'
Like Siegert said to Pratcher Jr., it's all in a day's work.
'This is great,' Pratcher Jr. said. 'I already had a lot of confidence by being here last year, so I got what it was all about. I just took that jump, hit the board and said to myself, 'This is good,' and it was. I scratched a couple in the final, though, and I was hoping no one else would get into the 23s.'
Event favorite Drew Bullen of Brookfield East (22-111/2) got close but not close enough, as Pratcher Jr. became the first Germantown boys titlist since 110-meter high hurdler Ben Holcomb in 2012.
Pratcher Jr., who earlier in the year had broken the school record in the triple jump, admitted that he had a little bit of psychological help going into the meet.
'I was thinking about Carl Lewis (the great Olympic jumper and sprinter from the 1980s and 1990s),' he said. 'I had looked at some of his Olympic tapes, and I was thinking about them when I was jumping. They helped me stay calm. I knew I had an advantage by being here before, so I felt I could just go out there and attack the board.'
Pratcher Jr. has been involved in track since seventh grade. Running came first, and then jumping, he said. He was also a running back for the playoff-qualifying football team in the fall.
His finals efforts in the long jump weren't quite as good perhaps because he was doing a bit of running as the all-junior 4x100 relay team of Pratcher, Waymon McNeal, Josh Acker and Austin Mozdzen turned in a credible effort of 43.29 seconds, good for 14th out of 24 teams and missing the finals by just 0.23 of a second.
'The guys were a little disappointed, but we just had to tell them how fast some of the guys were going out there (in that race),' said Siegert.
Holmen wound up winning the title the next day with an impressive 42.02 clocking.
Pratcher Jr. came back June 4 in the triple jump. He made the finals but couldn't quite move up, settling for ninth with a 43-81/2 effort. Franklin's Tri Pham won the event on his final jump with an effort of 46-93/4.
The 10 points Pratcher Jr. earned for the win gave the Warhawks a tie for 21st, as Brookfield East won the last event, the 4x400 relay, to claim its fourth state title in six years with 49 points.
The meet finished a roller-coaster season for the Warhawks, as they worked their way through injuries but still managed to win three major meet titles, including the WIAA regional.
Pratcher Jr. was named the team's MVP, while the Motivational Award went to Rob Witzlib. Germantown finished the season with around 80 athletes.
Pratcher Jr. said he wants to come back and be even better next year.
'I have so much incentive,' he said.
Siegert added, 'Hopefully everyone enjoyed their season and is happy about how things worked out.'