The present and the future have forged a mighty alliance for the Homestead boys track team and have made for some memorable moments.
They include senior distance runner Evan Routhier (800 meters) and potential freshman superstar Drew Bosley (3,200) teaming together to qualify both individually and as a team in this weekend's WIAA state meet in La Crosse.
Not only will those two be contenders in their aforementioned individual races, but they will also join with senior Doug Kellner and junior Noah Cummisford to run on the 4x800 relay team that holds the top seed heading into state events at UW-La Crosse's Memorial Stadium.
Routhier is soaking in everything right now, and he's grateful for all of it.
'This feels so good,' he said. 'This is the first year I've qualified in two events, and it's the first time on a relay. That is such a great feeling to have teammates go along with you.'
Coach Todd Brawner agreed.
'Awesome track meet,' he said. 'The 4x8, Evan (Routhier) and Drew (Bosley were great at sectionals and all season for us. The mid-distance/distance crew has definitely been the anchor of our team all season, and they proved they were the best in our sectional.'
Other teammates to go along include sophomore Mike Bruner in the high jump and senior Will Nimke in the discus. In addition, for the girls, the 4x800 relay team will be among the top seeds after winning its sectional title behind the team of junior Katie Wegmann, junior Allie Levin, sophomore Zanelle Willemse and senior Maddie Powell.
Bosley, who has been unflappable and virtually untouchable ever since he started running cross country last fall, is looking forward to this next step.
'I'm going to savor this,' he said, 'and I'm going to try and look at it as just another meet ... that said, I think the relay has a really nice chance at the podium (top six).'
He added that he's really happy for his dad and coach, Homestead Hall of Famer Andy Bosley.
'Dad is really happy,' Bosley said. 'He and I have been working so hard the last few weeks. It's really showing through now.'
State events will begin at 9:30 a.m. Friday, June 3, with the remaining finals set for 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 4.
The Highlanders' sectional-qualifying efforts led them to a 64-point total and a sixth-place finish in the 16-team sectional field. Menomonee Falls won with 81.
With Bosley on the anchor, the 4x800 relay edged Oconomowoc, 7:57.19-7:58.22, for the event title.
Then later in the day, Routhier ran a strong tactical race and cruised to the 800 title in 1:56.45.
Bosley was pleased that he hung with Pewaukee's senior powerhouse Robert Wagner for most of the race before pulling away in the end for the win in the 3,200 (9:32.87).
'I don't think it was his best race, but I was really happy how I hung with him on those final three laps,' Bosley said.
Bruner finished second in the high jump at 6-2.
'It was a good day to jump his best,' said Highlander event coach Dan Benson. 'He was a little hot and cold early in the day, but when he got to upper heights, he was just on.'
Brawner was very pleased for senior Nimke as Nimke took third in the discus with a toss of 139-3.
'(He's) a real deserving athlete and a real high-quality/character guy,' said Brawner.
Other Highlander efforts included the following: 1,600: Messi Elgin, fourth (4:49.23); 3,200: Thomas Miller, sixth (10:07.67); 4x100 relay: Matt Winters, Jake Bruner, Corey DeToro and Willie Garrison, sixth (44.17); 4x200 relay: Jake Bruner, Joe Wasserman, DeToro, and Garrison, seventh (1:31.85); 4x400 relay: Routhier, Kellner, Zion Bullock and Wasserman, eighth (3:28.27); long jump: Jake Bruner, seventh (20-1/2); and shot put: Chris Malicky, fifth (45-51/2).
For the girls, the 4x800 relay was a sensational coming together, according to coach John Krueger. The team had its order switched up recently, leaving speed merchant Wegmann on the end to clean up things, and she did, edging the Arrowhead anchor, 9:29.12-9:29.19, for the event title.
'Everybody just put everything into it,' said Wegmann. 'Everyone was just focused. It's just special and great to do this with people who want it as much as you do.'
The time is the second fastest in school history.
Homestead had a number of other good efforts, but they were all a little short of state qualifying. Wegmann just missed out on a slot in the open 800 with a fourth-place effort of 2:18.39, while Leah Gholson was just 0.11 away in the 100 high hurdles, with a fifth-place effort of 15.71, and Cali Weigert was fourth in the discus (96-9).
Other efforts for the Highlanders included the following: 400: Savannah Melan, sixth (1:03.33); 800: Powell, seventh (2:25.52); 3,200: Willemse, fifth (11:43.51); 4x100 relay: Allison Fochs, Carolyn Rossman, Natalie Ceelen and Alex Burns, seventh (51.59); high jump: Ally Rilling, fifth (4-9); shot put: Weigert, fifth (32-111/2), Jessie Zupke, eighth (27-3).
Krueger said it was a good day despite the lack of extra state qualifiers. He said the 4x100 relay, which is filled with athletes fighting back from injuries, was just inspirational to be around as it turned in a season-best time.
'It was just fun to be around them,' he said. 'They embraced their problems. For them to compete in just one more race like that really meant a lot to them.'