LA CROSSE — The latest state track and field championship at Platteville High School could be said to be the product of sibling rivalry.
Platteville’s Rhett Weber finished third in the 2011 WIAA state track and field championships and second one year later in the shot put.
“When I was younger, it was my brother getting all the awards, so I think it motivated me to get as much stuff as possible,” said Rhett’s younger brother, Ryan.
On Friday, Ryan Weber got the final word on the throwing Webers by winning the Division 2 discus title with a throw of 167 feet 10 inches, seven inches farther than Landon Ellingson of Jefferson. Last year’s Division 2 champion, Logan Maurer of Brodhead/Juda, finished third at 165–5.
Weber’s throw was not only a personal best by 3 inches, but was 16 feet farther than he threw it in finishing seventh in Division 2 one year earlier, and 15 inches farther than his seeding distance.
“It was a fun two years,” said Weber, whose two state track meet appearances came after playing in the WIAA Division 4 football championship game against Winneconne. “Winning track was the most chills I’ve ever gotten in my lifetime. It was probably one of the greatest feelings in my entire life.”
“Did I go expecting to win it?” said Joe Schambow, the Hillmen throwing coach. “No, but I knew he had the chance.”
“I tell the kids that everybody needs to go in with the idea you’re going to win, and let the chips fall,” said Hillmen head track coach Rob Serres.
“The fact I went last year and didn’t do too well, I think motivated me more than ever before,” said Weber. “I think this year was a lot more fun for me because I went to practice and practiced longer than I ever did before.”
The only adjustment made to Weber’s throwing technique was to try to avoid fouls early in competitions. Weber fouled three times at state last year.
“We worked all week because I was always scratching my first or second one,” said Weber. “Coach told me just to throw to get my mark first, and when I threw 160 I just let it rip.”
“That just set the tone,” said Schambow. “He knew what the agenda was.”
Weber was seeded fourth, but threw his longest on his third attempt. Schambow said the goal was to “get the first big number.”
“All of a sudden everybody starts to tighten up and try harder, and he’s still loose and if he scratches, he still has a big number,” said Serres.
When the next to last competitor, Ellingson, could only get to 168–3, “I think I smiled harder than I ever smiled before in my entire life,” said Weber, one of three PHS track athletes in the school’s history to put the shot more than 50 feet and throw the discus more than 160 feet. “I wish it wasn’t over, and it went by faster than I ever thought.”
Weber wasn’t the only Hillmen to compete at state over the weekend, as the Platteville girls competed in five events.
Senior Julia Evans was a three-event qualifier and she and junior teammate Faye Bailie both reached the medal stand in the D2 girls’ high jump on Friday.
Evans cleared 5’4” to place fourth, while Bailie finished in a three-way tie for fifth at 5’2”. A year ago Bailie placed fourth at state, while Evans finished tied for eighth.
Evans went on to place eighth in the finals of the 100-meter hurdles on Saturday in 15.96 seconds, and ran the second leg of Platteville’s ninth-place 4x100 relay. Evans teamed with senior Melanie Schaefer, and juniors Theresa Elgin and Maggie Durni to run a 50.57 in the finals.
Senior Allie Serres capped her fine PHS career with a 15th place finish in the 400 meters at 1:01.02. Serres was a four-year state qualifier and set a Hillmen record by qualifying for state in seven different events. She was a state champion as a freshman in 2012 in the 4x400 and 4x800 relays.
Fellow senior Elissa Bahr cleared 9’6” to place 14th in the girls’ D2 pole vault on Saturday.
WIAA Division 2 State Championships
(from Friday–Saturday, June 5–6 @ Veterans Memorial Stadium, UW–La Crosse)
Top 10 team scores — 1.Freedom 66, 2.Milwaukee Lutheran 46, 3.Little Chute 42, 4.Waukesha Catholic Memorial 31, 5.Rice Lake 28, 6.Two Rivers 27, 7.Brown Deer 23, 8.Shorewood 22, 9.Arcadia 21, 10.Nekoosa 20...23(tie).Platteville 10.
Platteville’s state qualifiers
Discus — 1.Ryan Weber 167–10.
Top 10 team scores — 1.Dodgeville/Mineral Point 36, 2.Mount Horeb 35, 3.Lakeside Lutheran 33, 4.Madison Edgewood 32, 5.Jefferson 27, 6.Wittenberg–Birnamwood 24, 7.Osceola 22, 7.Milwaukee North 22, 9(tie).Amery 18, 9(tie).Two Rivers 18, 9(tie).Kiel 18...33.Platteville 9.
Platteville’s state qualifiers
400 — 15.Allie Serres 1:01.02. 100 hurdles — 8.Julia Evans 15.96. 4x100 relay — 9.Platteville (Theresa Eglin, Evans, Melanie Schaefer, Maggie Durni) 50.57. High jump — 4.Evans 5–4, 5(tie).Faye Bailie 5–2. Pole vault — 14.Elisa Bahr 9–6.