Boys track team guns for three-peat

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Middleton senior Noah Meeteer qualified for state last season in the pole vault./File photo

Pat Riley, the Miami Heat general manager, trademarked the term “three-peat” in the late-1980s. Back then, Riley was the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, and his team was trying to win a third straight NBA championship.

Riley may own the rights to the term. But Middleton’s boys track and field team is anxious to make a run at a three-peat.

The Cardinals have won back-to-back Big Eight Conference titles. And with several key cogs back from a year ago, Middleton hopes to capture a third straight league crown this spring.

“They have the right mindset, they've worked hard in the off season, and we have great depth,” Middleton ninth-year coach Isaac Mezera said. “A three-peat is our No. 1 goal. If that is accomplished, I'm sure we'll have a strong postseason, too.”

Middleton enjoyed one its best season in recent memory in 2014. Not only did the Cardinals win the Big Eight again, they won the Madison Memorial Sectional and finished fifth at state.

That tied the best finish in school history, previously set in 2004.

Now, with a talented roster of approximately 110 boys, Middleton will look to match — and perhaps exceed — its performance from a year ago.

“I know our goal is to be a top-5 team in the state again,” Mezera said. “And I think we have the talent and program to make that a reality.”

Junior Perrin Hagge seems poised for a breakthrough season.

A year ago, Hagge finished 10th at state in the 800 meter run (1:55.12). Hagge was also part of Middleton’s 3,200 meter relay team that finished seventh at state.

This season, Hagge’s specialties will most likely include the 400, 800 and 1,600-meter runs.
“Perrin is poised for a break out season,” Mezera said.

Senior Noah Meeteer helped Middleton’s 400-meter relay team finish second at state last year. Meeteer also qualified for state in the pole vault.

“Noah has worked quite a bit this offseason to improve,” Mezera said. “I expect Noah to be one of our top point scorers this season.”

Senior Nnamdi Okoli seems poised to have a big year in the sprints and relays. Okoli was on Middleton’s 400-meter relay team last year, and will also specialize in the 100-meter dash.

“Nnamdi will be filling Ernest (Winters’) shoes from last season, and he is the right guy to do it,” Mezera said. 

Senior Travis Zander has been part of the Cardinals’ 1,600-meter relay team since his freshman year. That relay team finished 14th at state last year, while Zander was also 18th in the 400 meter dash.

Senior Alex Wood was part of two Middleton relay teams that reached the state meet last year. This year, Wood will lead off the Cardinals’ 400-, 800- and 1,600-meter relay teams.

Sophomore Gus Newcomb looks to build off a terrific cross country season and figures to be one of the top distance runners in the area.

“Gus trained hard this offseason, intending to be an elite distance runner in the conference,” Mezera said. “I can see that becoming reality.”

Other key returnees include senior Brett Joers (hurdles, triple jump), senior Zach Easton (200, 400), senior Zach Shoemaker-Allen (distance) and junior Jack Jesse (long jump), senior Nick Maes (triple jump and high jump), junior Christian Lindblom (distance), senior Roger Waleffe (400, 800), sophomore Trevaun Turner (sprints and sprint relays), senior Andrew Plumb (distance), senior Hayden Johnston (distance) and senior Nic Bilodeau (sprints and sprint relays).

Middleton’s program has traveled light years since Mezera took over. And the Cardinals are hoping to continue trending upward in 2015.

“I think about the 2009 team, how we started working in 2007 — when I took over as head coach — to hopefully win the conference title in ’09,” Mezera said. “Those seniors built the foundation of where the team is now. Then I reflect on all of the great senior leadership we've had since then. 

“Track is about the athletes seizing opportunities when they present themselves, so we try to set as many athletes up for success as we can.”

The Cardinals have excelled at that in recent seasons. Which is why the quest for a “three-peat” is now underway.

 

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