The recent class trip to Cuba for Whitefish Bay track superstar Camille Davre and about 30 other Blue Duke students was an enlightening thing, she said.

The monuments, the neighborhoods, the beaches, everything, were all just amazing, she said.

But as far as training went, that was a different matter.

'I only had a few runs,' she said. 'It was time for a break.'

No one could blame her, as the five-time WIAA state track champion and state 800-meter record holder turned in some startling times in the 800 and mile in the preseason New Balance Nationals Indoor prior to the trip and had been pushing herself hard ever since the end of her successful state runner-up cross-country season last fall.

But if she was off form at the North Shore Conference Indoor meet on April 6, it didn't show. In her only race of the day, in what coaches felt was something like a '60-percent' effort, she turned in an impressive winning time of 5:10.3 in the 1,600, 24 seconds ahead of a good field in leading the short-handed Blue Dukes to a fourth-place finish in the annual event.

Davre was not the only one who had a good day at the meet, as Homestead finished a close second to champion Germantown, 1011/2-94, while Nicolet had its best league meet in years with a fine third-place effort of 81.

'It was a good day for the kids,' said Homestead coach John Krueger. 'A lot of what I expected with some of the younger kids also doing some nice things.'

Bay, the defending WIAA D1 state outdoor champion, was without multi-time state place-winning sprinter Kaitlyn Jackson, who was nursing a slight leg injury. Coaches said it was better to hold her out now and get her ready for the big May races rather than risk a major injury at this point.

Bay had two other firsts in the meet as Ellie Hall won the 3,200 in 12:13.23 and D2 state gymnastics champion Aly Yurkowitz won a hotly-contested pole vault event with a clearance of 10-6.

Other good efforts for the Blue Dukes included fourths from Rachel Schmidt in the 55 dash (8.04) and 200 dashes (29.32); a second from the 4x160 relay team of Schmidt, Carina Schiro, Maya McWilliams and Olivia Barnes-Wackman (1:32.44); and a third from Kayla Lever in the long jump (16-2).

'It's been a nice start to the season,' said coach Ben Van Male. '... We have some good improvements from returning athletes as well as a few pleasant surprises from new athletes. We have a lot of seniors with great leadership skills, which will make the season run smoothly and be exciting.'

For Homestead, they will be led by a veteran distance group, which has had success in the past. That group earned the Highlanders' only first as the 4x800 relay team of Maddie Powell, Allie Levin, Katie Wegmann and Kimmy Hartlieb cruised to a seven-second win in 10:19.85.

Taking seconds were Wegmann in the 800 (2:32.53); Zanelle Willemse in the 1,600 (5:34.44); the 4x400 relay team of Allison Fochs, Ellie Hetrick, Savannah Melan and Wegmann (4:37.88); and Cali Weigert in the shot put (33-51/4), while thirds went to Melan in the 400 (1:06.48), Willemse in the 800 (2:35.02) and Thais Marques in the 3,200 (12:24.78).

Fourths went to Lily Norman in the 400 (1:08.6); the 4x160 relay team of Fochs, Olivia Wasserman, Hetrick and Georgeanna Joubert (1:34.63); and Ally Rilling in the long jump (15-61/2).

Krueger, who said he's holding out a few people on a precautionary basis due to injury, said it was good to see other athletes compete on a higher level.

'The other teams in the conference are going to be just as strong, if not stronger than last year, so we know we have our work cut out for us,' he said. 'It is a long season, but with a great group of student athletes and coaching staff, we will represent Homestead with a ton of pride this spring.'

Nicolet did the same as the Knights saved their best for last, dominating the 4x400 relay by over six seconds with a 4:31.17 clocking. That group included Julia Simenz, Ciara Jones, Cassidy Eiers and Isabella Mahlik.

The pole vault, as usual, was a great source of inspiration for the Knights, as Rylee Callahan was second (10-3), Lauryn Wagner third (10-0) and Cailin Mahoney fourth (9-0). Event coach Gus Kaufmann said the team officially has three athletes over 10 feet and said there's potential for more.

Other finishes of note included seconds from Simenz in the 400 (1:06.16) and Katrina Fears in the long jump (16-71/2); thirds from Katie Novak in the 1,600 (5:35.09) and Destiny Huven in the 55 hurdles (9.73); and fourths from Jones in the 800 (2:35.5) and Elizabeth Mowers in the 3,200 (12:24.96).