Though it was never spoken of overtly, there was pressure on the newly crowned WIAA Division 1 state girls track champions from Whitefish Bay.
After all, it was the first one for this strong program, getting a monkey off its back and finally giving it something it can hold up proudly next to the storied 18-state title history of the boys team.
Whitefish Bay 48 points, Middleton 39, Kenosha Bradford and Monona Grove 36.
After those team totals were announced after the final events in La Crosse on June 6 and all the team members had had a chance to hug the trophy and mug for the cameras, they admitted that no, the coaches never talked about this opportunity during the course of the spring, never brought it up to them.
'Not at all,' said state 800- and 1,600-meter champ and anchor of the winning 4x800 relay Camille Davre.
But veteran coach Ben Van Male said 'he was always working the numbers.' The Blue Dukes were a top-heavy, made-for-state kind of team. Van Male was also thinking positive, as he had good karma to work with. This was, after all, the 20th anniversary of his own state prep state title, that with the Menomonee Falls 4x800 relay.
'We figured after Cami's two wins (in the 800 and 1,600) on Friday (June 5) and with Kaitlyn (Jackson) in three finals (100, 200 and 400) on Saturday, we had a chance,' he said. 'We figured that Kaitlyn had to average a top-three finish in all her races (which she did), we'd be in good shape.
'There was a lot on her plate.'
On all the girls' plates for that matter, because this title had three parts to it, all of which had to work if Bay was to win.
The first was, of course, the talented and aware Davre, who in just her sophomore year is completely rewriting girls track history.
She did what she had to do, winning the 1,600 in a controlled, carefully calculated race early in the program on Friday in a time of 4:56.12. Then she went out hunting history, taking off after the 30-year-old 800 record of the very complicated legend that is Suzy Favor Hamilton (2:09.88).
And this time, there was toying around, as Davre took off with about 300 meters to go, leaving a talented field in the dust, straining for every tenth of a second and rising to the acclaim of the thousands in attendance at UW-La Crosse's Memorial Stadium.
She gazed in wonder at the clock, waited for the officials to verify and then couldn't stop smiling at the realization that the mark was now hers at 2:09.22.
'There was a lot of pressure,' she said. 'I knew I could do it, so in that last 200 I just tried to put it all out there. This was such a good feeling. I was like 'Are you kidding? No!' Then I was really, really happy because this was something I really wanted.'
Favor Hamilton later tweeted congratulations to Davre as senior Reilly Koch added a valuable team point in the race by taking eighth in 2:16.0.
'With no pressure, there's no diamonds' —Kaitlyn Jackson—
With the wins, Davre repeated as champion in both races and is halfway to history in both events. Favor won four 1,600 state titles while at Stevens Point while the great Jenni Westphal of Marinette won the 800 four times.
Distance coach Mike Miller remains astounded at how this 16-year-old prodigy can continue to lift her game again and again. She now has five individual state track titles in just two years. The state record is held by four others at 10.
'Her expertise and her professionalism toward races is infectious,' he said. 'It just makes other people calm around her and that is something special.'
Because if the state team title were to come about, a second leg of the trinity had to be nailed down. The 4x800 relay team had comfortably qualified for state as one of the favorites without having run Davre on the anchor in either the regional or sectional.
In short, she would be fresh as a daisy for a winning anchor leg burst in her only race early on Saturday, June 6.
The other three members of the relay, senior Reilly Koch, freshman Josie Helf and junior Kylee Kennedy, did their parts, keeping the Blue Dukes within shouting distance, as Davre took the baton third, about 20 meters behind the leaders.
No matter. She was a close second with a lap to go and then pulled away off the final turn to win in 9:14.12. It was another milestone win, as because as good as Bay has been in cross country and in this particular event over the years, they had never won it until last Saturday.
'At last,' shouted a jubilant Koch. 'Last season we had an unfortunate incident (a fall during the race) and it didn't work out. We really wanted to redeem ourselves and get on that podium. It was all a matter of going 110 percent. '
Davre was very happy to finish things off for Koch and the rest of the team.
'Everyone had a job to do,' she said. 'I was so proud of everyone. They really pushed themselves. This was just the best weekend, my favorite time of year. You just go out and surprise yourself. To go out and run with my teammates like this is the best.'
'She's really the mother of the team.' —Miller on Koch—
The relay was apparently solidifed at a meeting that Koch and Davre ran the night before, said Miller.
'It was their meeting,' he said. 'I don't know what was said or what went on, but I knew they needed to talk things through and get themselves all on the same page.'
And after that, with the Blue Dukes already solidly in the lead in the team standings, all that remained was for everyone on the team to become the biggest member of the Kaitlyn Jackson fan club, because if she did her job on a warm and windy finals day, Bay would win the title.
And she did. With her mantra 'with no pressure, there's no diamonds' feeding her fire, the unflappable Jackson was fourth in the 100 (12.72), third in the 200 (25.12) and third in the 400 (57.01), providing 17 valuable points to the team total.
'We knew going in that we had a chance (at the state title),' said Jackson. 'So in practice, we just kept pushing ourselves further and further and hoping for an awesome experience. Running the 100, 200 and 400 is super difficult and tough to do, but I just had to run to the best of my ability and push through and power through.'
It paid off, as when she was shown the cumulative team score after her last race, the 200, Jackson just smiled and said 'awesome.'
'We were just waiting to see if anyone would come up.' —Van Male—
It was all over by the end of the 3,200 and all that was left to do for the Blue Dukes was to celebrate and get some ice cream.
'There are no words that can explain this, how awesome this is,' said Van Male. 'Such a great group to work with.'
'I'll remember coming here with these girls,' said Davre. 'We just wanted to make the best of it.'
'All along we had been gearing toward doing the best we could do,' said Koch. 'See where it could take us.
'What a way to go out!'