Stevens Point Area Senior High’s Sean Van Helden was marking his starting point for his “J” approach with pink chalk in the high jump.
Marshfield runners were playing a game of hacky sack on the infield between events.
Competitors in the 3,200-meter run immediately headed to the doors of the Health Enhancement Center for a breath of fresh air after completing the 3,200-meter run.
Coaches were standing around the edges of the track with stop watches in their hands, shouting out words of encouragement to their respective athletes.
The sights and sounds of another indoor boys track and field season were in the air for the 24th annual Point Invitational on the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point campus Thursday night.
For some athletes winning was important, while others were just looking to work out some kinks early during the indoor season as they transition from a winter sport.
“I just wanted to get some practice in and get back into the mode of track,” said Marshfield’s Matt Oestreich, who was coming off a basketball season. “Yeah, winning is important. I’m a competitive person, and I really wanted to do well in the triple jump.”
Oestreichwon the triple jump with a leap of 42 feet, 9.5 inches, and also placed fourth in the long jump.
Other local winners included D.C. Everest’s Darren Sanchez in the pole vault with a height of 14 feet and Kyle Kurtenbach in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 8.01 seconds.
“These early meets are really to see where me and my teammates are at, and see if we can push some guys,” Kurtenbach said. “Winning is definitely a bonus, and it’s nice to have that to build on.”
Additional winning performances came from SPASH’s Derek Cruz, who topped the field in the 1,600 with a time of 3:37.22, while Sam Sheibley gave the Panthers a 1-2 finish in the 1,600 by grabbing a runner-up finish in 3:37.53.
Some athletes were already in mid-season, or perhaps state meet form would be more accurate.
The competition in the high jump was particularly top-notch with defending Division 2 state champion Alex Bloom of Seymour winning the event with a spectacular effort of 6 feet, 10 inches. Bay Port’s Zach Lorbeck cleared 6-6, while Van Helden grabbed a third-place result at 6-4.
“I think this is some of the best competition I’m going to see,” Van Helden said. “I like getting started right away (on indoor season) and see a lot of competition because that prepares me well for the season.
“It takes some time for me to get into a groove after basketball, but I’m satisfied with 6-4 and I’ll definitely strive for better.”
For the record, Appleton North claimed the team championship by a single point over the host Panthers in the closest meet in the meet’s 24-year history. A total of five teams finished within four points of the winner.
Nekoosa’s Kane Schraeder turned in a personal best in his heat of the 3,200, and figures that should serve as a good starting point for the rest of his season.
“I just wanted to go into a comfort zone and shoot for a low time, and hang (with the rest of the guys) if I could,” said Schraeder, who finished seventh in 10:33.02. “I was trying to put down a solid time to start the season. I’m looking forward to the season and maybe have a shot at making it to state.”
Team scores: 1. Appleton North 60; 2. SPASH 59; 3. Bay Port, La Crosse Logan and Seymour 56; 6. D.C. Everest 43; 7. Marshfield 36; 8. Merrill 26; 9. Marathon 24; 10. Baraboo 23; 11. Neenah 22; 12. Nekoosa 18; 13. Fond du Lac and Cedar Grove-Belgium 14; 15. Luxemburg-Casco 9; 16. Rhinelander 8; 17. Wild Rose 6; 18. Bonduel and Gillett 5; 20. Necedah and Lourdes Academy 2. 22. Auburndale and Iola-Scandinavia 1.
Top 3 places: 3,200 relay: 1. Seymour (Kyle Peotter, Justin Skinkis, Clayton Skogman, Derek Sachs), 8:29.5; 2. Marathon, 8:40.81; 3. Baraboo, 8:46.24. 55 hurdles: 1. Kyle Kurtenbach (DCE), 8.01; 2. David Bacon (Neenah), 8.08; 3. Zach Lorbeck (BP), 8.17. 55 dash: 1. Rae Tillman (LCL), 6.64; 2. Aaron Chier (CG-B), 6.66; 3. Ryan Powers (BP), 6.67. 400: 1. Conor Tarnowski (AN), 53.08; 2. David Tarr (AN), 53.46; 3. Paxton Pelegrin (BP), 53.66. 800: 1. Justin Skinkis (S), 2:00.93; 2. Derek Gross (Neenah), 2:02.84; 3. Chris Ganrude (LCL), 2:04.48. 1,600: 1. Derek Cruz (SPASH), 4:37.22); 2. Sam Sheibley (SPASH), 4:37.53; 3. Zach Solles (Ba), 4:39.5. 3,200: 1. Tanner Daines (AN), 9:42.93; 2. Ben Eidenschink (Nek), 9:44.44; 3. Tyler Tanko (SPASH), 10:15.49. 800 relay: 1. La Crosse Logan (Dakota Horton, Peter Heglund-Lohman, Aric Elmore, Sam O’Bryant), 1:35.41; 2. SPASH, 1:35.51; 3. Appleton North, 1:36.49. 1,600
relay: 1. Appleton North (Weston Floerke, Bo Babich, Jack Fischer, Conor Tarnowski), 3:37.77; 2. Merrill, 3:38.34; 3. SPASH, 3:38.35. High jump: 1. Alex Bloom (S), 6-10; 2. Zach Lorbeck (BP), 6-6; 3. Sean Van Helden (SPASH), 6-4. Pole vault: 1. Darren Sanchez (DCE), 14-0; 2. Vince Berry (Rhine), 13-0; 3. Alex Bloom (S), 13-0. Long jump: 1. Aric Elmore (LCL), 22-1; 2. Moua Vang (SPASH), 20-11.5; 3. Zach Lorbeck (BP), 20-8. Triple jump: 1. Matt Oestreich (Marsh), 42-9.5; 2. Tanner Stephens (Nek), 42-7.5; 3. Jake Anderson (Merr), 42-1. Shot put: 1. Cole Van Lanen (BP), 57-3.75; 2. Mike Theis (FdL), 54-3; 3. Jackson Kania (S), 48-5.