On rare occasions in sports, the goal is not necessarily to win. For the two Wauwatosa High Schools, West and East, the aim at the West Allis Hale regional track meet was to qualify athletes for sectionals.
On the girls side, at least one athlete from West qualified for Thursday's Waukesha North Sectional in 14 events and the Trojans piled up enough team points to emerge as regional champions. Full event results are here.
East was not as successful, qualifying athletes for sectionals in six events. The Red Raiders did, however, sweep all three spots in the 1,600-meter run.
On the boys side, West qualified for sectionals in six events. East did one better, qualifying for sectionals in seven events.
Even though all of these teams had successful days overall, the story of the entire meet was the performance of Wauwatosa West senior Keith Brown.
Brown is one those athletes that can easily be picked out of a crowd. He towers over his competition, and uses that size advantage to blow away opponents. He entered two individual events, the 200-meter dash and the 110-meter hurdles. He won the 200 by four-tenths of a second but that wasn't his most impressive victory of the two. He won the 110-meter hurdles by 1.07 seconds, which is an impressive feat over such a short distance. His hurdles coach, Mike Fisher, said that this was the year it all came together for Brown.
“He has always had the potential” said Fisher. “He was always a really good athlete, but he knows he had to take it to that next level, and he did just that."
What Fisher is referring to is Brown's newfound commitment during the last offseason. During the summer, Brown lifted weights every day, went to speed camps and did lots of speed and agility training. Brown found this new motivation after falling toward the end of his 110-meter hurdles run last year at these same regionals. Brown also includes his family into motivation, saying that his family constantly pressured him to do better and take it to the next level.
Brown also helped the Trojans to the title in the 400 relay. West's other winner was Kyle Hanus in the pole vault.
East's boys got victories from Max Kilpin in the high jump and Dan Gagne in the 1,600. Kilpin entered with an impressive 6-foot-8 leap to earn top seed, but needed to jump only 6-foot-2 to win the competition Monday.
The West girls captured first-place finishes in six events Monday — Brigid Jensen in the 800, Mackenzie Hoffman by a full minute in the 3,200, Shannon Wilson by more than a foot in the long jump, Zaina Lalk in the shot put and the 3,200 and 1,600 relay units.
East's regional champions were Emily Rehberger in the 1,600, Danielle Shumpert in the 300 hurdles and the 800 relay squad.
Also heading into Thursday's sectional are athletes from the powerful Hamilton Regional. The top three finishers in each event at the sectional qualify for the state meet in LaCrosse.