LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Everybody in the world of Wisconsin girls track understands Whitefish Bay has been built around individual firepower, especially in the distances.

But something happened on May 4 out at Homestead that even veteran track watchers found amazing.

It was the fact that the Blue Dukes used depth, and a goodly amount of it, to cruise to the title in the North Shore Conference Relays.

'I've been coaching for 17 years (at Germantown and Bay),' said an astonished Blue Dukes coach Ben Van Male, 'and this is the first time I've ever been part of a win in this (the relays) meet.

'This is very gratifying.'

The impressive effort came right at the perfect time for the defending WIAA state D1 champion Blue Dukes.

They will close out their regular season with a split squad at both the Cedarburg and Grafton Invitationals on Friday, May 13.

They will then turn their attentions to the North Shore Conference Outdoor meet at Nicolet at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 17.

Bay finished second to Germantown in the league outdoor last season, and Germantown won the league indoor last month and was second in the relays meet.

'The North Shore is going to be very tight,' Van Male said. 'Everyone's so even. It's going to be close.'

The Blue Dukes made it look easier than it was at the Relays as they scored 93 points for their win. Germantown was second with 79 and Homestead third with 73.

Firsts came in the usual spots for the Blue Dukes as the 4x800-meter had its alpha team put together for the first time this season and turned in a winning time of 9:45.57 behind Josie Helf, Kylee Kennedy, Ellie Hall and five-time state distance champion Camille Davre.

Davre also anchored the winning distance medley relay team of Helf, Kate Van Dyke and Kennedy (12:50.6).

'It was a good meet,' Davre said. 'Nice and relaxed. I was able to focus on what was what was good for the team ... it's been interesting. We didn't have a few seniors come out this spring (injuries and other reasons), but we're still able to do things together, really get behind each other and work on things.'

Bay was also able to win the sprint medley relay with Aly Yurkowitz, Susanna Evans, Rachel Schmidt and Kaitlyn Jackson (1:54.54).

But as noted, this Blue Dukes' team is built around depth and Bay won this meet behind the strength of six second-place finishes: the surprising effort of the 300 high hurdle shuttle of Olivia Barnes-Wackman, Colleen Christensen and Ellie Dallet (54.86); the 4x200 relay team of Carina Schiro, Mia Bauer, Schmidt and Jackson (1:48.54); the 4x400 relay of Bauer, Jackson, Schmidt and Kayla Lever (4:17.07); the pole vault trio of Yurkowitz, Dallet and Ruby Armstrong; the long jump team of Lever, Schiro and Evans; and the triple jump trio of Lever, Schiro and Schmidt.

A third went to the 3x300 low hurdle relay of Christensen, Barnes-Wackman and Dallet.

'This meet is always a surprise,' Van Male said. 'The high hurdle shuttle put us in a good spot early, and though we had to make some adjustments, the 4x400 was solid, too. And obviously, the distance crew stepped up, too.

'Everyone ran as well as they possibly could. The kids really stepped up for one another.'