The wait was agonizing for the members of the 4x800-meter girls relay team at the May 26 Watertown sectional. For 25 minutes, Chelsea Parker, Carolyn Troutman, Rachel Jeffers and Taylor Fuerstenberg waited to find out if they would qualify for the June 3 and 4 state meet in La Crosse.
They waited because their race was as tight as could be. Arrowhead and Whitefish Bay had a photo-finish ending to determine the winner, but Hamilton also had a similar conclusion with Germantown. If it wasn't for the HHS relay's anchor, Taylor Fuerstenberg, the race never would have been as close.
Fuerstenberg bested her personal-best time by three seconds in the 800 with a time of 2 minutes, 16 seconds. When the sophomore took the baton, Hamilton was in sixth. Last season, the same quartet finished fourth at the sectional and missed out on state by one place.
After that long wait, the 4x800 girls found out it had finally advanced to state with a time of 9:35.88. HHS beat out Germantown, which finished with a 9:35.89.
'Those were the same four girls who didn't make it last year,' Chargers coach Ben Nysse said. 'That was all they were thinking about. That was all they were focused on.'
Bianca Stubler became a three-time state qualifier in the 400 and 4x400 relay.
'Bianca Stubler is incredible,' Nysse said. 'She got passed in both races by the same girl, (Milwaukee King's) Kiersten Walker, with about 100 to go, and she came right back past her.'
In the 400, Stubler ran a 56.07, which is the second-best time in the state this season, according to the state honor roll.
Stubler was joined on the 4x400 by Morgan Price, Megan Jansett and Chelsea Parker. The foursome took third in 3:56.22, which was the fifth-best time this year. Arrowhead won the race (3:55.95) and Germantown was second (3:55.95).
Hamilton's hurdlers had a good day with Claire Birk taking second in the 300s and Megan Joyner placing third in the 100s. The 4x200 team of Amanda Hammond, Price, Elizabeth Behrndt and Taylor Klug was second. Rachel Seraphine will also be at La Crosse in the pole vault with a second-place finish.
As a team, the Chargers girls placed third with 66 points. Arrowhead won the sectional with 108.
For the boys, Zach Jasinski cruised to a sectional crown in the pole vault with a height of 14-6. Ty Olejnik took third in the long jump to qualify for state. Olejnik and Jasinski were also apart of the 4x200 relay that placed third. Andre Gordon and Jackson Kollath were also on board.
In the 800, Zach Leinbach, a senior and first-time qualifier, finished in third.
'He had a last 100 that was out of this world,' Nysse said. 'He was in sixth when he came off the corne,r and he ran by up to third. ... That was one heck of a kick. He was somebody who I think just said, 'This is my last show to get through, and I'm going to run as hard as I can.''
Olejnik's jump of 22-3 ¾ in the regional marked a new school record, breaking a standard of 22-1 1/2 that had stood since 1988.
The Hamilton boys finished 10th with 36 points. Menomonee Falls won the meet with an 81.