What's coming this weekend at the WIAA state track meet in La Crosse is old hat for both Whitefish Bay track superstars Camille Davre and Kaitlyn Jackson.
The junior Davre will be a favorite to claim her sixth and seventh state titles as she looks to defend her 800 and 1,600-meter titles (she's the state recordholder in the former), while Jackson will look to repeat her three-medal performance of a year ago in the sprints (100, 200 and 400) that was key to the Blue Dukes winning the state team title.
They will be joined in La Crosse by pole vaulter Aly Yurkowitz and boys competitors Michael Kirkendoll in the triple jump and Rhys Koch in the 800.
'I'm just going to give it my all,' said Jackson, who will head to Wisconsin next fall. 'See what I have left. There are such good runners out there right now. They're just pushing me to get better.
'I know I can get a lot better, but the goals remain the same: get higher on the podium (top six) and score a lot of points for the team.'
For Davre, the pressure of repeating was compounded by an illness that left her feeling a bit less than 100 percent going into the sectional.
But like Jackson, her goals are clear.
'Given all that, I'm really happy how things worked out today,' she said. 'I didn't know if it would. I'd definitely like to repeat, but I know there are a lot of other great girls running.
'And that's great because I want to run with other talented people, people who put in the time.'
The WIAA D1 competition will get underway at 9:30 a.m. Friday, June 3, at UW-La Crosse's Memorial Stadium. The remainder of the finals will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 4.
Jackson had to move fast in the lightning-quick sectional meet, in which there is very little downtime. She won the 200 dash in 25.08 seconds and took second in the 200 in 12.5. She advanced with a third in a very quick 400 race (57.23).
Meanwhile, Davre, despite her illness, still cruised to titles in both her specialties. She was clocked in 2:14.68 for a two-plus second win in the 800 and won by more than six seconds in the 1,600 with a 5:02.26 effort.
'After a day like today, I feel I can do anything,' she said with a laugh.
Yurkowitz, the state gym champ, was impressive in winning the vault with an effort of 10-6.
Other good efforts for the Blue Dukes included the following: 3,200: Ellie Hall, sixth (11:45.12); 4x100 relay: Rachel Schmidt, Susanna Evans, Mia Bauer and Carina Schiro, eighth (51.79); 4x200 relay: Schmidt, Kayla Lever, Bauer and Schiro, seventh (1:47.81); and 4x800 relay: Josie Helf, Hall, Bauer and Kylee Kennedy, sixth (10:02.5).
Her efforts led the Blue Dukes to a 63-point total, good for fifth in the sectional behind winner Arrowhead (108).
'I'm really happy with the overall performances and improvements from all of the athletes,' said coach Ben Van Male. 'Cami and Kaitlyn have a great chance of improving upon their individual performances from last year. Proud of Aly qualifying in the pole vault; she works so hard and has been consistent as one of the top vaulters in the state and now has the chance to experience state and hopefully grab a podium position.'
Van Male also cited seniors like Olivia Barnes-Wackman, Schmidt, Bauer, Schiro and Kennedy.
'We had such great leadership for years from them, and it will be a much different team without them around,' said Van Male.
For the North Shore Conference Outdoor champion Blue Duke boys, the sum was always greater than the individual total of the parts.
But still, the sophomore Koch was impressive in taking second in the 800 (1:57.38), while the junior all-around performer Kirkendoll found a way to La Crosse with a third in the triple jump (43-61/4) with senior teammates Elijah Moore right behind him in fourth (42-101/2) and Bailey Wieland in fifth (42-1).
'This is unreal,' said Koch. '... I have not a clue as to how this will turn out. Last year I went as an alternate, but this is going to be a whole new experience.'
'This feels good, knowing that I got my mark down, that I made state,' Kirkendoll said. 'Last week (winning conference on May 17) way exceeded expectations. Now I can't wait for this. It'll be nice.'
The Blue Dukes had three other close calls for state berths as Kirkendoll was fifth in the pole vault, 13-0, the same height as the final qualifier, while freshman Evan Murray was fifth in the 100 (11.14).
Also, the all-underclassmen 4x400 relay of Bo Bassindale, Joe O'Neill, Koch and Murray got caught up in the best race of the day, tearing off a large chunk of time from its season best and taking fifth in 3:23.02.
The Blue Dukes needed a 3:22.75 to make state.
'The 4x4 was the best race that I've seen all year,' said coach Bobby Wood. 'That ended up being one of the fastest fields in the state so I was proud of how our guys competed.
'Overall the meet went really well for performances and times and ended up being kind of bittersweet. So many guys ended on PRs but came up just short of qualifying, so it was exciting but tough to see their seasons or careers end. '
Other notable efforts for Bay included the following: 400: O'Neill, fifth (51.39), Bassindale, seventh (52.52); 800: Scott Rojahn, sixth (2:00.29); 110 high hurdles: Kirkendoll, fifth (15.9), Jacob Patrick, sixth (16.08); 4x800 relay: Rob Ali, Blake Bostwick, Mason Spurry and Rowan Koch, seventh (8:37.9); high jump: Macklin Kortebein, sixth (6-0), Moore, seventh (6-0); and discus: Will Gebaur, eighth (117-8).