Looking for a third straight WIAA State Boys Track & Field Championship would certainly be asking a lot from coach Mike Steiner's Brookfield East squad.
The two-time defending state champs have won nine straight conference chamionships, three straight triple crowns and have won 11 of last 12 conference meets.
"The plan is to approach the year like every other year," Steiner said. "Take it one practice at a time and one meet at a time. We had an amazing turnout (110 athletes). There is alot of pride in the program and the coaching staff has stayed intact. That certainly is good for the athletes and it is good for the program."
The Spartans have 16 returning letter winners and some good-looking newcomers, so when Steiner talks about his squad, feel free to read between the lines.
"We have some really solid kids returning and three who have been members of both state championship teams (Alec James, Trenton Daniels, Brad Johnson). I like the mindset of the team. They have some really high expectations and I believe we have the potential to be really strong again."
Obviously, the Spartans aren't going to sneak up on anyone.
"With our recent success, we are a target for many teams both in the league and across the state," Steiner said. "We certainly take pride in our recent success. The kids know they have targets painted on their backs, but that is what motivates them."
Ten seniors lead the returnees - James, Daniels, Johnson, Zach Schober, Kyle Wirtz, Landon McDonald, Sam Elliot, Mitch Douglas, Scott Douglas and Preston Powers.
The returning juniors Vince Schimborski, Stephen Browne, Glen Harold, Will Sutton, Zec Copeland and Ryan DunDun.
Besides numbers there is plenty of talent.
Johnson is the returning 800 state champion and Daniels finished fourth at state in the 400. The two of them make for a pretty formidible 1-2 punch.
Mitch Douglas is a returning state qualifier in the 110 high hurdles and is poised for a strong year.
"We have an elite vaulter in Glen Harold and seniors like James, Schober, Wirtz, McDonald and Sam Elliot should lead the way for us."
But a closer look at newcomers, has to make Steiner smile.
Senior Brian Smith returns after not competing his junior season.
"He lettered as a sophomore and should have an immediate impact on our team," Steiner said. "He will compete in high jump, triple jump and sprints."
Senior Josh Breider (4x200, 4x400), juniors Nate Schieble (sprints/jumps) and Zac Heindel (hurdles) and Andrew Pelto (distance) have impressed.
"Breider is going to be a gem," Steiner said. Pelto was injured last year but he should be a valuable member of the distance squad."
Two sophomores which Steiner mentioned were Chad Kluendeer (pole vault, jumps) and PJ LeClaire.
"PJ was top a frosh thrower in GMC last year," Steiner said. "He should be solid contributor on varsity."
As talented as the Spartans are, it takes more than physical ability to make a champion.
"We have an excellent group of seniors and a strong junior and sophomore class, so things look pretty solid," Steiner said. "I like the mentality of the team.
"No doubt, our guys are really motivated for the upcoming season. We have some holes to fill and have to replace some solid kids from last season, but the desire is certainly there and that's half the battle."
But Steiner understands, even though each team is different, they want to be a part of the rich tradition that has started.
"The goal is to leave a footprint and a legacy that is their own," he said. "They have the ability; they work hard; they care; they are coachable. That is a great recipe for success."
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