Zach Jasinski's parents have recorded most of the Hamilton senior's track meets over the past four years. At last year's state meet in LaCrosse, though, Jasinski's parents weren't in attendance, and thus there's no Jasinski home video of Zach soaring to 14 feet, 6 inches and placing second in Division 1.
But that's OK. First of all, the occasion fell on Zach's sister's wedding reception. Second of all, the Jasinski parents will get another chance this year. Jasinski qualified at the May 26 Watertown sectional with a jump of 14-6. The height was last year's best, but this season has been a different story.
Since freshman year, Jasinski has progressed at an incredible pace. That first season, Jasinski hit 10-6. His high this year, which is tied for the best in the state, is 15-3.
'It's kind of crazy to look back at those freshman meets and think, 'Wow, that was actually me,'' Jasinski said. 'I just think it's crazy how much different and better I am now than I was a long time ago, and how much I've improved.'
It's hard to tell what height could win the title, but coming into state, four other vaulters have hit 15 or higher. Three others have achieved a height between 14-6 and 14-9 at the sectional. The competition will be fierce.
Another successful HHS athlete this season, Ty Olejnik, has done well in the long jump and owns the ninth-best leap this year in the state of 22 feet, 2 3/4. Olejnik, just a sophomore, teamed up with Jasinski, Andre Gordon and Jackson Kollath in the 4x200, a unit that has been clicking as of late. Senior Zach Leinbach, in his first state meet, will compete in the 800.
Moments after winning the 4x400 relay last season, the question became: 'Can they do it again?' It was easy to ask with Bianca Stubler, Taylor Klug, Mari Feudner and Chelsea Parker all returning in 2016. But the depth of Hamilton's relays have shown with Parker and Stubler as the only two returning state champs who ran in this year's sectional (Klug is listed as an alternate at state).
'We were just talking about that last week how different it is from last year,' Stubler said. 'Obviously, after winning, we assumed since everyone came back this year that we'd have the same team. As freshmen came in and sophomores got better, their times kept getting better.'
Freshman Morgan Price and sophomore Megan Jansett were part of the 4x400 at Watertown.
Another loaded race, the 400, will be Stubler's third try at state. As a freshman, Stubler placed sixth and was the runnerup last season with a 56.04. Stubler hit 56.07 at this year's sectional and has a personal-best time of 55.43. The junior will have to be quick again to contend with the state's fastest runner in the 400 this season: Wausau West freshman Brooke Jaworski (55.49).
Two other relays, the 4x200 and the 4x800, are also headed to LaCrosse for the Hamilton girls.
In 2015, Stubler said she peaked toward the Oconomowoc sectional, but hopes this time the peak comes at state. The competition will be loaded in both the 4x400 and 400, but that's when she performs best.
'When you have someone pushing you, you're going to automatically want to push yourself even harder,' Stubler said. 'If I have someone else right next to me, I'm going to obviously push myself to go faster.'
Claire Birk hopes to best her second-place finish from 2015 in the 300 hurdles, but an injury this year took nearly a month off the senior's season. There was a chance Birk's HHS career had come to an end, but she returned at the GMC Outdoor Championships on May 17. Even though coach Ben Nysse said Birk is working her way back to an ideal fitness level, Birk still ran a 46.10 at the sectional, which was good enough for second place and a spot on the Honor Roll.
Megan Joyner also qualified for state in the 100 hurdles. Joyner competed in the event at state last year. Pole vaulter Rachel Seraphine, a sophomore, qualified for her first state meet.
The talent has always been there for the Chargers boys and girls. Now, it's time for the qualifiers to prove themselves on the biggest stage once again.