LA CROSSE — Platteville’s Ben Bahr and Danielle Jentz saved their best for last.
On separate days the pole vaulting seniors overcame a change of venue to post career-best vaults to medal at the WIAA State Track & Field Championships in La Crosse.
Saturday afternoon Bahr cleared 14–0 for the first time in his stellar career to finish third in the Division 2 boys’ pole vault.
After beginning the competition outside at UW–La Crosse’s Veterans Memorial Stadium rain and lighting caused a two-hour delay for all other events and forced the pole vault indoors to UWL’s Mitchell Hall.
After a tenuous warm-up on the new set-up, where Bahr failed to reach the pit on each of his warm-up attempts, the SWC pole vault champion found his rhythm.
“It’s a lot different vaulting indoors especially after warming up outdoors and then having to make the switch in the middle of the competition,” said Platteville head coach Rob Serres. “We were getting a little worried there during Ben’s warm-up attempts once we moved inside he got a big vault early and that got him going. He ended up going over 14 feet and that has been his goal all year. It was fun to see him compete.”
In Saturday’s D2 girls’ pole vault Jentz, and junior teammate Elissa Bahr (Ben’s younger sister) were also at the mercy of Mother Nature.
After yet another thunderstorm produced heavy rains, Saturday’s pole vault competition was also moved inside.
But the change didn’t bother a motivated Jentz. She matched her career-best by clearing 10–3 to finish fourth, a year after placing 10th with a jump of 9–6.
“Danielle matched her PR at 10–3, but the first time she did it at a dual meet where we were exactly sure how accurate the bar was,” said Serres. “But doing it at state we know the bar was exact.
“The vault, like a lot of field events, is a four-year process. It’s nice to see Danielle and Ben set their PR at state in their final meet. It was a nice way for both of them to conclude their senior years.”
Elissa Bahr cleared 8–6 to finish 14th in her first state competition.
Friday afternoon sophomore Faye Bailie also medaled by clearing 5–2 to tie for fourth in the D2 girls’ high jump.
Junior teammate Julia Evans cleared 5–0 to tie for eighth in the event. Both Bailie and Evans were making their first appearance at state.
Sophomore Maggie Durni ran her fastest time of the season in the finals of the D2 girls’ 100-meter dash Saturday placing 11th in 12.96 seconds.
Durni also anchored a pair of relays during Friday’s prelims, but neither qualified for Saturday’s finals.
Durni, Evans, junior Allie Serres and senior Noah Hoeper placed 12th in the 4x100 relay at 51.35 seconds. Durni, Evans, Serres and junior Melanie Schaefer finished 13th in the 4x200 prelims with a time of 1:48.20.
“The relays ran well, but our handoffs were not quite where we needed them to be and that equates to being off their best by hundredths of a second,” said Serres.
The Platteville girls scored 10 team points and tied for 25th as a team. Hayward scored 38 teams points to win the D2 girls’ title, by a single point over Dodgeville/Mineral Point (37).
In the boys’ competition Platteville scored nine team points and tied for 26th. Monroe dominated the D2 boys’ competition with 63 points. Seymour finished a distant second with 37 points.
Junior Ryan Weber threw the second-best throw of his career in Friday’s discus competition to place seventh with a toss of 151–5.
Meanwhile, senior John Skubal was just a bit off in his second trip to state.
In Friday’s competition Skubal finished eighth with a throw of 150–7. He won the sectional title with a PR of 162–5 and was seeded second entering state. He placed seventh a year ago at state with a throw of 150–0.
Skubal then finished 15th in Saturday’s shot put competition with a mark of 40–6 after scratching on his first two attempts in prelims. He did not make finals.
“I think John was just trying so hard and wanted it so badly that his release was off just a bit in both the discus and shot,” said Serres. “John is disappointed, but one meet does not define a career. John was an incredible thrower for us for the past three years. He did a lot of good things for Platteville and he will be missed.”
Senior Matt Goodney closed out his career by setting a new PR of 41.20 seconds in Friday’s prelims of the 300-meter hurdles. He went on to place ninth in the event Saturday with a time of 41.94.
“Matt ran a great race Saturday as well, it was just a different day with strange conditions,” said Serres. “He had a great career going from, well, a mediocre hurdler when he started to one of the state’s best as a senior.”
Also on Friday, senior Derek Schambow placed 14th in the triple jump with a mark of 41–1.
“Derek was our inspiration to go above and beyond,” said Serres. “He always seemed to go big on his last jump. He just didn’t go as big at state as he did at sectionals. But he had a great season.”
“It was a great season for all of our kids. I’m proud of the fact that we took 13 events to state. The kids really exceeded our expectations with their performances at sectionals.”
WIAA D2 State Championships
(from Friday-Saturday, June 6–7 @ Veterans Memorial Stadium, UW–La Crosse)
Top 10 team scores — 1.Monroe 63, 2.Seymour 37, 3(tie).Milwaukee Lutheran 35, 3(tie).Grafton 35, 5(tie).Little Chute 33, 5(tie).Shorewood 33, 7.Mount Horeb 26, 8.University School of Milwaukee 21, 9(tie).Somerset 20, 9(tie).Brodhead/Juda 20...26(tie).Platteville 9.
Platteville’s state qualifiers
300 hurdles — 9.Matt Goodney :41.94. Pole vault — 3.Ben Bahr 14–0. Triple jump — 14.Derek Schambow 41–1. Shot put — 15.John Skubal 40–6, Discus – 7.Ryan Weber 151–5, 8.Skubal 150–7.
Team scores — 1.Hayward 38, 2.Dodgeville/Mineral Point 37, 3.Jefferson 32, 4(tie).Lakeside Lutheran 30, 4(tie).Wrightstown 30, 6.Brillion 29, 7.Shorewood 28, 8.Madison Edgewood 26, 9(tie).Waukesha Catholic Memorial 23, 9(tie).Appleton Xavier 23, 9(tie).Mount Horeb 23....25(tie).Platteville 10.
Platteville’s state qualifiers
100 — 11.Maggie Durni :12.96. 4x100 relay — 12.Platteville (Allie Serres, Julia Evans, Noah Hoeper, Durni) :51.35. 4x200 relay — 13.Platteville (Melanie Schaefer, Evans, Serres, Durni) 1:48.20. High jump — 4(tie).Faye Bailie 5–2, 8(tie).Evans 5–0. Pole vault — 4.Danielle Jentz 10–3, 14.Elissa Bahr 8–6.