When the track and field season started this spring, Sheboygan South’s McKena Ramos had the goal of finishing on the state podium for the 3,200-meter run.
But as times didn’t drop as expected, his aspirations loosened. Well, at least on the outside.
“I said I just wanted to keep improving. But I still wanted to get to the podium,” he said.
At Friday’s WIAA State Track and Field Championships, Ramos was seeded 23rd and “not expecting much.” But he got quite a bit.
Ramos not only destroyed his personal-best time by 21 seconds, he did indeed earn that medal, taking fifth in the Division 1 race. And he raced into the local record books.
Ramos’ time of 9 minutes, 19.20 seconds is the best in The Sheboygan Press area since the honor roll was compiled starting in 1995 — by 20 seconds. Sean Hasenstein of Sheboygan Lutheran ran a 9:39.15 in 2007.
“I can’t complain about beating my personal record by 21 seconds,” he said.
Ramos started strong, a trait he said he learned in cross country. He was in the top three after two laps, but two laps later he was behind the front pack of six.
In the second-to-last lap, Ramos made a move. He distanced himself from the second pack. In the final 200 yards, he caught the back of the lead pack, passing two competitors over the final 50 yards to secure a medal.
Ramos looked at the timing board after he crossed the line and reacted with surprise and controlled jubilation.
“I’m super excited,” Ramos said. “I was seeded 23rd, I was just hoping to beat 9:40.”
He did much more than that.
More Division 1
» 800 relay — Sheboygan North’s team was seeded 18th in the 24-team field. But the Golden Raiders, donned in all-black uniforms, took it to a new level and finished in sixth place, qualifying for today’s finals.
“Sheboygan Black” juniors Michael Baca, Tyler Griessmeyer and Calian Schrader and senior Will Werner cruised in with a time of 1:29.60, nearly two full seconds above its sectional time of a week ago.
It’s the best time in the Sheboygan Press area this season.
“We wanted new singlets, and black was the only color we could get in time,” said Werner on the new unis. “We knew we could come out better (than sectionals).”
» 400 relay — North’s same foursome of Baca, Griessmeyer, Schrader and Werner came strong in this fast field, running in 43.44, tying its own area-best mark.
The team missed out on the finals though, taking 12th.
» 100 hurdles — Sheboygan South senior Taylor Gregory finished the high hurdles event in 15.73, good for 14th but missing the cut to the finals.
» 100 — Sheboygan North junior Tyler Griessmeyer ran the dash in 11.83, taking 15th but just missing the cut into today’s finals by .14 seconds.
» 3,200 relay — Oostburg finished fifth, in 8:09.95, crushing its sectional time by more than four seconds.
Junior Justin Molter and junior Adam Daane ran the first two legs and kept the Flying Dutchmen in the hunt. Junior Parker Gabrielse took it up a notch, and senior Sam Wensink finished strong to secure the medal.
Monroe won the title in 7:52.75.
» 100 — Cedar Grove-Belgium sophomore Aaron Chier just qualifies for the finals, taking 10th in qualifying in 12.03. Running into a strong headwind didn’t help any runners; the top time was 11.50.
» 200 — Kiel junior Aaron Field did not qualify for the finals, finishing in 14th in 23.81. Chier finished behind him, taking 16th in 24.51.
» 110 hurdles — Kohler junior Brett Mueller qualified for today’s finals by taking 10th in the opening round. His time of 16.72 was well ahead of 11th.
» 300 hurdles — Mueller also qualified for the finals in the intermediate hurdles, taking sixth in qualifying in 41.49.
» 400 — Kohler junior Joe Pellowski took seventh in qualifying, in 51.63, just under his season best of 51.08. He’ll compete in today’s finals.