With so many new faces on the roster, Brookfield East's girls track and field team might not have been the favorites entering the Greater Metro Indoor Championship. But after edging Brookfield Central for the team title March 29 at West Allis Central High School, the defending state runner-up Spartans are proving they've reloaded quickly.
East took first place in two of 16 events, but an overwhelming amount of depth provided 17 top-five finishes that resulted in 139 points, five more than Brookfield Central.
"It was definitely one of those meets where it was very close the entire time," Brookfield East coach Lisa Farley said. "It ended up coming down to the mile relay. We knew we just needed our girls to finish the race and get us points and then we needed Central to finish below third. It is fun when it comes down to the end like that. Last year, indoor was the same way, except Central ended up on top. Last year, they beat us by two points and this year we beat them by five. It is fun to have a team that pushes us.
"The girls knew they had to come to battle, and they definitely did. Our returning athletes delivered and we knew if some of the new girls would step up that it would be a good thing. They were able to do that and we were able to have this finish. I'm always hopeful we can be at the top of the conference. We weren't sure what was going to happen with so many new kids, but they were able to continue that tradition."
Winning individual titles for Brookfield East were Lizzy Cagle in the shot put with a top throw of 38 feet, 4 inches and Eleni Tongas in the high jump clearing 5 feet, 4 inches.
Emily Breider was the runner-up in the 200-meter dash to Lexi Romero of Brookfield Central in 27.37 seconds and to Bianca Stubler of Sussex Hamilton in the 400 in 1 minute, 1.35 seconds. Riley Kindt came in second behind Tongas in the high jump at 5-02 and Tongas took second in the triple jump at 34-08 3/4.
A video slideshow of the Greater Metro Conference indoor championships Wednesday, March 29, at West Allis Central. Peter Zuzga/Now Media Group
Earning third-place finishes for the Spartans were Meg Swietlik in the 1,600 in 5:34.85 and in the 3,200 in 12:08.15, Tongas in the 55 hurdles in 8.93 seconds, Natalie Rouse in the shot put with a top throw of 34-06 and the relay team of Rouse, Erin Donnelly, Sharey Partee and Rachael Behling in the 4x160 in 1:33.11.
Lexi Penney took fourth in the pole vault clearing 8-06, Kindt was fifth in the 200 in 29.93 seconds, Gina Behling came in fifth in the 800 in 2:35.33, Olivia DeValkenaere was fifth in the shot put with a top throw of 32-11 and Rose Dundun was fifth in the pole vault clearing 8-00 and in the triple jump at 32-02 1/2.
"We knew if Eleni did what she normally does that she'd win the high jump," Farley said. "She actually surprised us in the triple jump with a two-inch PR. We knew she was going to score us points, but she ended up doing really well in that event. That was a huge asset to us. Meg Swietlik in the distance events, that's not an easy combination. All our throwers scored, which is huge.
"We just had a lot of surprises with these new girls. Riley Kindt going 5-02 in the high jump was huge as a freshman. We're going to keep seeing great things from her. Emily Breider's battle with Bianca (Stubler of Sussex Hamilton) continues, but she was right behind her the whole way. I was excited to see her do well and take second in the 400 and the 200."
With so many new athletes contributing, winning the Greater Metro Indoor title provides the Spartans with a boost of confidence heading into outdoor season.
"You are still getting to know kids a lot in indoor," Farley said. "It definitely gives me confidence that we continue to have the depth. We only lost by a couple of points last year and we had some really talented seniors on last year's team. To win this year without those girls, that's a pretty big deal.
"They've all heard about our success. They hear it, but now they are a part of it."
Brookfield East's girls junior varsity team also won the Greater Metro Conference Indoor meet, scoring 144.5 points to finish in front of Brookfield Central (106) and Wauwatosa East (101).