The members of the Whitefish Bay boys track team knew they had won the North Shore Conference Indoor meet on April 7 even before the final scores were called out.
Their balance, their speed and their senior leadership did the job, finishing off what they came close to doing at the 2015 league outdoor meet.
So they started on an impromptu victory lap in the Milwaukee Lutheran field house, and shortly after it started, the team scores were called out. The smartphones came out, and the in-tune Blue Dukes dropped down to one knee in perfect unison for a celebratory team picture that was soon all over social media.
'This really gets the season going in an exciting way,' said senior 400-meter dash champ Van Bassindale. 'There was a lot of emotion in the off-season, so we want to finish this season strong. Though we lost a lot of guys from last year, there are a lot of younger, inexperienced guys who know they have roles to fill and, surprisingly, they're coming through.'
Bay coach Bobby Wood was greatly encouraged by the effort.
'We want to go into every conference meet thinking that we can win,' he said, 'but right now, it's more about everybody running hard through the race and competing for the best spot that they can.
'I really did like the way the kids competed. When they competed hard, a lot of personal bests fell.'
The Blue Dukes scored 1191/2 points for their title, well ahead of runner-up Homestead (85), while Germantown was third with 81 and Nicolet fifth (56).
Homestead coach Todd Brawner was encouraged by his young team's solid and balanced finish.
'It was a good day; we got a lot of things done,' he said. 'Our goal right now is to be sharp in May. We're working with a lot of new kids who really want to succeed.'
Nicolet was fueled by impressive one-two finishes in the 55-meter dash and the pole vault and overcame some late disqualifications to earn its spot.
As noted, Bay's title had a little emotion behind it. There are several members of the football team on it, including the likes of Bassindale, Bailey Wieland, Macklin Kortebein and Michael Kirkendoll. Those guys are still missing the late Hall of Fame football coach Jim Tietjen, who passed away late last fall after a short fight with brain cancer.
Bassindale and all his football-turned-track-brethren want to hold up their end and finish strong.
They're in the process of doing that.
Bassindale turned in a time of 54.75 seconds in winning the 400 dash and then later took second in 24.64, to one of those youngsters he mentioned, as freshman teammate Evan Murray won the race in 24.62.
Another set of relative newcomers making their mark were Scott Rojahn and Blake Bostwick in the 1,600. Rojahn followed close on the heels of Homestead's Evan Routhier most of the race and then passed him on the closing lap to win in a personal best of 4:39.03, while Bostwick earned a strong third in another personal best (4:47.22).
Another victory went to the 4x400 relay team of Isaac Chavez, Nathan Kurtz, Joe O'Neill and Henry Primack (3:51.38).
Earning a second was freshman Rhys Koch in the 800 (2:10.34), while a third went to Kirkendoll in the 55 hurdles (8.25). Both Woods and Bassindale were pleased with the unaccustomed depth of the Blue Dukes this day.
Fourths went to RayQuan Bolden in the long jump (19-9), Kirkendoll in the pole vault (12-0); Kortebein in the high jump (5-10); Will Gebauer in the shot put (42-1/4); the 4x800 relay team of Robert Ali, Nathan Ebersole, Julian McCurdy and Joe Pencak (9:35.36); the 4x160 relay team of Primack, Mark Mendoza, Karon Lever and Brandon Yang (1:21.92); and Wieland in the 55 hurdles (8.28).
'We're a more in-depth team this year,' said Bassindale. 'Some relays, some sprints, some field events. We can cover more areas this year.'
Homestead had pretty good coverage, too, at this meet. The Highlanders picked up victories from Routhier in the 800 (2:10.13) and freshman Drew Bosley in the 3,200 (9:49.29).
A second was taken by Routhier in the 1,600 (4:40.64), while thirds went to Joe Wasserman in the 400 (55.51); Thomas Miller in the 3,200 (10:11.7); the 4x400 relay team of Wasserman, Noah Cummisford, Corey Detoro and Lief Erlandson (3:55.43); Zach Beale in the shot put (42-51/4); Mike Bruner in the high jump (6-0); and Matt Winters in the long jump (19-11).
Cummisford was fourth in the 1,600 (4:51.52), as was Doug Kellner in the 800 (2:13.41).
Nicolet, meanwhile, was impressive in a couple of key spots. In the 55 dash, David Dunlap, Jr. won in 6.67, while teammate Dakari Williams was second in 6.79. In the pole vault, Charles Rosmann was a winner at 13 feet even, and Matthew Aussem was second at 12-6.
Williams and Dunlap, Jr. then joined John Ford and Kamari Clayton to take the 4x160 relay in 1:18.11.