LA CROSSE, Wis. - Some local track stars shined brightest on the biggest stage in the state on Saturday.
Clinton freshman sprinter Sylvia Johansen, Beloit Turner senior jumper Jo`Vontae Coleman and Parkview wheelchair athlete Isaac Morris all left the WIAA State Track and Field Meet with gold medals.
Johansen won the 100-meter dash, Coleman easily came home with the triple jump crown, while Morris won the shot put. Johansen, who also placed second in the 200, set a WIAA state record along the way, while Morris tied it.
Things didn't start out rosy for Coleman when he woke up sick Saturday morning. That led to a tepid start and somewhat of a personal struggle for Coleman, who was shooting for not only a state title, but a state record at the same time.
"I felt like it was an off day, if I'm going to be honest," Coleman said. "It could've gone so much better. I woke up very sick, and there was a bit of a headwind. But there are no excuses, because I've gone through a lot of stuff in a lot of sports, so no matter how I was feeling today, I was looking to perform at my peak level. I didn't do that today, but I have to be happy with what I took away, because a state champion is a state champion."
Coleman jumped a 44-2.75 in his first attempt to rank him second in the field of 16. But his second leap ended up being his best, a 45-5.75. It became increasingly obvious as the competition continued that there wouldn't be a jumper in the field who would approach the 45-foot mark, and Riley Dobbs of Hayward ended up in second place with a 44-2.
"I felt really comfortable after I hit that 45," Coleman said. "I was very nervous when I woke up sick. I didn't know if I'd be able to jump. I just laid down in the field a few times and I had trouble getting up. I was surprised I was able to jump the way I did. I thought I would only be able to do 41 or 42. It wasn't until after the first jump that I started to feel better. It was a confidence thing for sure."
Morris was one of the weekend's busiest competitors. On Friday, he tied the state record while winning the shot put with a final throw of 24-11.50.
"He was trailing heading into that last throw," Parkview coach Shane Suehring said. "He had cleared 24 by just a few inches. Then he reached back and tied the state record, which was great to see."
Morris later finished third in the 1600-meter race, fourth in the 800 and third in the 100 to cap a memorable weekend.
Also ending up on the podium after Saturday's final was Turner high jumper Presley Hasse, who fared well in a jump-off and finished tied for fifth with a 5-2.
"When I got here, my heart was beating so fast I could barely jump," Hasse said. "My number one goal was to get on the podium, and I didn't clear my first 5-2. I just thought, 'OK, if I can clear this I have a chance to get on the podium.' That was the last thing I thought about before I jumped, and then I got it."
The Clinton 4x100 relay team also found its way to the podium after a solid 4x100 performance that included three flawless handoffs.
The Cougars squad of Candice Koehl, Morgan Peterson, Hannah Welte and Johansen ended with a time of 50.43.
"They were unbelievable," Clinton coach Jacob Standiford said. "I was optimistic they would finish on the podium, but a fourth-place finish is incredible."
Welte just missed out on a podium spot in the 300-hurdles, finishing with a time of 47.25, good for seventh place.
The Cougars ended the meet in fifth place, one point ahead of Rock Valley Conference rival Brodhead.
Brodhead-Juda sophomore Madelynn McIntyre was 11th in the 3200 with an 11:46, four second off her personal best.
The Beloit Turner 4x200 team of Jayla Chancy, Peyton Hasse, Breanne Baker and A'Blesin Wilson took home eighth place with a time of 1:47.47.
Trojan boys Ty'Shone Lomax finished 14th in the high jump with a 6-0, and Emiliano Reyes placed 15th in the discus with a 126-05.
• FRIDAY: The preliminaries featured several near-misses, particularly for the Beloit Memorial track team.
Kobe Chandler missed out on qualifying in the 400 by .14 seconds, placing 11th with a time of 50.45. Shelvin Garrett was 12th in the triple jump with a 44-.75, while the Purple Knights' 4x400 team of Garrett, Chandler, Tariq Randall and TJ Kilgore placed 12th with a 3:25.37, less than a second from qualifying for Saturday's final.
It was much the same story for the Clinton boys, who placed 13th in the 4x100 and were just one spot from finals in the 4x400 with an 11th-place finish and a time of 3:28.10. Jackson Nelson, Tyler Stauss and Jordan Laatz all competed in both races, while Jordan Decker ran with the 4x400 and Luis Espinoza was in the 4x1100 group.