After winning its second straight WIAA boys track and field state championship earlier this month, Brookfield East coach Mike Steiner can now reflect on what his Spartan team accomplished once again.
"We've had a great run the past few years," Steiner said. "Outstanding and talented kids who know how to compete with a championship focus. I can't say enough about the inner strength some of these kids have. They are great kids and they know how to compete.
"Our team was built differently this year than it was last year. We have been so strong in the hurdles and that continued this season and our distance crew had one heck of a year. Randy (Bucheger) has done a tremendous job in developing those kids.
"I thought Kevin Kashian and Karl Brandstaetter had really solid years for us.
"Sophomore Stephen Browne has really showed some excellent potential and was a part of the third-place 4x800 team at state; tremendous potential for Stephen."
Steiner credited his outstanding staff for his team's success - Bucheger, Brad Mohns, Jason Kasmarick, Kevin Yarbrough, Tim Robinson, Matt Harris and Brendan Gonring.
"One of our strengths as a staff is continuity," he said. "We have been together for a long time.
"They are all excellent in their knowledge of track and field and they know how to relate to kids.
"I feel pretty fortunate to have these guys on our side. Without them, we wouldn't be sitting where we are."
The road to the state title was littered with championships.
The Spartans won the Greater Metro Conference Triple Crown for the third straight season, as well as the Spartan Invitational, the West Allis Hale Mondo Invitational, the Ron Burling Menomonee Falls Invitational and the WIAA Regional.
They had 16 conference individual or relay champions and broke two conference records - the distance medley of Kashian, Brandstaetter, Trenton Daniels and Johnson and the 4x800 of Ryan DunDun, Browne, Kashian and Brandstaetter.
They also broke two school records - the 4x800 relay of Browne, Brad Johnson, Kashian and Daniels and the 800 by Johnson, whose time of 1:51.43 stands as the fourth-fastest time in Wisconsin history and is a top 30-time nationally.
"We were led by a stable full of fine athletes," Steiner said. "Senior Kyle Rohde finishes his career with 16 individual/relay conference championships and medaled four times at the state meet. He finishes second all-time at East in both the triple jump and the long jump."
Rohde was team captain and team MVP and he also was named the 2012 GMC Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
"Kyle had a monster year for us," Steiner said. "He has had some of his finest moments at the most critical times, including this year in La Crosse.
"He's one of the best we've had here, and he will be missed."
Seniors show dedication
Other seniors include: Kashian, Brandstaetter, Andy Wiesen, Taylor Lucas, Alec Brown, Eric Mlsna, Steve Kurtz and Josh VanAartsen.
"Though we had a small group of seniors, they all contributed in their own special way," Steiner said. "It's always hard to say goodbye to the seniors.
"Without a doubt, though, you have to respect the commitment and pride they have shown in our program."
Other team awards included The Rising Star Award: freshman PJ Leclaire (shot put/discus); freshman Alex McTaggart (distance) and freshman Chad Kluender (pole vault, jumps) and The Unsung Hero Award: Sophmore Glen Harold (pole vault).
The cupboard is far from empty as East finished the season with 103 athletes and only loses a handful to graduation.
Steiner also had one more person to thank - Corey Golla, longtime athletic director who will take over as the Menomonee Falls High School principal on July 1.
"I am going to really miss Corey," he said. "He has been one of our biggest fans and I couldn't ask for a more supportive administrator.
"He is really going to be missed here at East and I wish both him and Andy Farley (former boys basketball coach who will be associate principal at Falls) the best of luck."
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