LA CROSSE — A lineup change and four gutty performances propelled the Platteville girls’ track team a second state championship and a surprise second-place team finish in Division 2 at last weekend’s WIAA State Track & Field Championships.
The quartet of senior Tricia Serres, juniors Julia Lawinger and Laura Donovan, and freshman Allie Serres won the meet’s final event — the 1,600-meter relay — in 4:01.24 edging out runner-up Green Bay Notre Dame (4:02.38) by a little more than a second to win the gold.
Tricia Serres led off Saturday’s relay getting Platteville out to a comfortable lead before handing off to younger sister Allie. Then Lawinger took the baton and reeled off a 59-second quarter-mile that gave the Hillmen a six-to-eight-yard lead before first-time anchor Donovan outraced Notre Dame’s fourth runner to the finish line.
“The girls ran fantastic,” said Platteville coach Rob Serres. “It was a great effort by all four of them. They each had to do their jobs and they did.”
The same quartet just missed the Division 2 state meet record by .17 seconds, en route to winning the 3,200 relay Friday afternoon in a new school record time of 9:21.84.
The two state titles, combined with Tricia Serres’ runner-up finish in Saturday’s 1,600 (in a new school record time of 4:55.23) gave Platteville 28 team points, one more than third-place finishers Dodgeville/Mineral Point and Gale–Ettrick–Trempealeau. La Crosse Aquinas won the girls’ D2 title with 31.5 points.
“It was kind of a surprise, but it was in the back of our mind going into Saturday that we could do it,” said Serres of his team’s second-place finish. “It was a nice topping to a great state meet.”
The runner-up trophy joins the Platteville girls’ second-place state finishes in 1979 and 1992.
With three medals from her final state meet Tricia Serres finished her unrivaled prep career with 10 state medals, including four golds, one silver and two bronzes.
“She left Platteville track and field the way she wanted,” said coach Serres, who is also Tricias father. “She won two state titles, helped the team finish second and ran the 1,600 exactly as planned. She couldn’t have done any more.”
Serres will run both track and cross country next year at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.
Fellow senior Tisia Muzinga finished 16th in the 100-meter-dash with a time of 13.39 in Friday’s prelims.
The quartet of Muzinga, Sarah Burton, Tess Stecklein and Ally Klein finished 12th in the 400-meter relay in 51.16 seconds.
In the boys competition senior Rhett Weber shook off a shaky performance in Friday’s discus (95–4, 17th place) competition by earning a silver medal in Saturday’s D2 shot put with a toss of 54–5.
“I told Rhett the discus was over and done with and it was time to move on,” said Serres. “He was fired up and really wanted to win.
“He was initially disappointed in second, but by Saturday afternoon he understood he did he very best and had a very good day.”
Fellow senior Alex Schlueter matched his career-best of 13–6 in the pole vault to finish in a third-place tie. Schlueter also teamed with Brad Saunders, Alex Niehaus and Ben Kroll to earn a fifth-place medal in the 800-meter relay (1:30.48).
Schlueter, Niehaus, Kroll and Dylan Tranel finished eighth in the 400-meter relay in 44.11 seconds.
Saunders placed 15th in the 400 (51.77), John Donovan finished 13th in the 800 (2:01.54) and fellow senior Matt Bailie finished 15th in the triple jump (39–6 1/4).
WIAA Division 2 State Meet
(from Friday-Saturday, June 1–2 @ UW–La Crosse, Memorial Stadium)
Top 10 team scores — 1.Belleville/New Glarus 42, 2.Dodgeville/Mineral Point 37, 3.East Troy 33.50, 4(tie).Shorewood 30, 4(tie).Monroe 30, 6(tie).Madison Edgewood 28, 6(tie).Gale–Ettrick–Trempealeau 30, 6(tie).Aquinas 28, 9(tie).Clintonville 26, 9(tie).Luxemburg–Casco 26.
Platteville’s state qualifiers
400 — 15.Brad Saunders :51.77. 4x100 relay — 8.Platteville (Alex Niehaus, Alex Schleuter, Dylan Tranel, Ben Kroll) :44.11. 4x200 relay — 5.Platteville (Saunders, Niehaus, Schlueter, Kroll) 1:30.48. Pole vault — 3(tie).Schlueter 13–6, Triple jump – 15.Matt Bailie 39–61/4. Shot put — 2.Rhett Weber 54–5. Discus — 17.Weber 95–4.
Top 10 team scores — 1.Aquinas 31.50, 2.Platteville 28, 3(tie).Dodgeville/Mineral Point 27, 3(tie).Gale–Ettrick–Trempealeau 27, 5(tie).Wrightstown 26, 5(tie).Osceola 26, 7.Whitewater 25, 8.Xavier 23, 9.Lake Mills 22, 10.Dominican 20.
Platteville’s state qualifiers
100 — 16.Tisia Muzinga :13.39. 1,600 — 2.Serres 4:55.23. 4x100 relay — 12.Platteville (Sarah Burton, Tess Stecklein, Ally Klein, Muzinga) :51.16. 4x400 relay — 1.Platteville (T. Serres, A. Serres, Julia Lawinger, Laura Donovan) 4:01.24. 4x800 relay — 1.Platteville (A. Serres, Donovan, Lawinger, T. Serres) 9:21.84.