The torch was passed the weekend of June 3 and 4 for the Homestead boys track team in the WIAA state track meet.
Senior distance runner Evan Routhier completed a sensational senior year with a sixth in the 800 meters and then led-off the second-place 4x800 relay team that included Doug Kellner, Noah Cummisford and, most notably, talented freshman Drew Bosley.
Bosley let everyone know across the state that he will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come as he also used a strong kick to earn a fifth-place medal in the 3,200.
In short, the future for the team, with the shiny new Homestead track underlying it, is bright.
'I was just very surprised at all this,' said Routhier after the 800. '... My first state medal. It was tough making the switch from the 3-mile to this (the 800), but it was clearly the best decision that I could have made.'
'And Coach Bos is just pumped about this, too. He was thinking medal.'
'Coach Bos' is boys distance coach Andy Bosley, and he is also Drew's father. Head Homestead coach Todd Brawner couldn't give enough credit to Andy Bosley for bringing this fine rebuilding season to an excellent close.
'I've got to throw it out there to all the distance guys,' he said. 'They were the ones that got it done. Andy Bosley is a humble, low-key guy and he gets the job done ... they (the distance crew) maxed out every last bit that they could have. They switched the order up (on the relay), and that really maximized the points.'
It did, as on June 4, Bosley's impressive freshman son took the Homestead relay from fifth after the third leg right into second at the end with a time of 7:49.82. It trailed only Kimberly, which came across in 7:48.06. The Homestead time is the second best in school history only after the state championship crew of 2010 that included Routhier's brother, Nate, who just happened to be around to congratulate the happy crew after the awards ceremony.
Both Evan Routhier and Drew Bosley turned in excellent 1:54 800-meter legs
Homestead had come into the race as the top seed in the event, but the members of the relay said expectations were tempered, realizing that everyone was going to be tapering for the state finals.
'Podium for the last race was the goal,' Evan Routhier said. 'Within the team, there was talk of winning, but realistically, we were thinking top three.'
Drew Bosley was just happy to bring everything home.
'My main goal was to not blow up (and lose everything),' he said. 'I knew I had to go with about 300 to go and that's what I did.'
Evan Routhier, who had given the relay the lead after his first leg, was building on his impressive performance in the open 800 the day before. He ran from the slow heat but took it out and ran from the front the whole way, winning the race in 1:55.97. Then he had to wait and see the results from the fast heat to see if it would be good enough for a top-six medal.
It was by 0.51 of a second as he earned the sixth behind winner Brady Snelson of Franklin (1:54.59).
'I really didn't understand why no one went with me,' Evan Routhier said. 'With 200 (meters) left, I was still all by myself. I was expecting someone, but no one did. I guess that's the good thing about the slow heat. I just took it out and ran like I did all year.'
Drew Bosley wasn't done either. He had to wait for a two-hour rain delay late in the afternoon of June 4 for his race, but he handled it like a veteran. He got into the top-six group within the first couple of laps and held his position as best he could, turning in a personal best of 9:21.34, good for fifth.
Madison La Follette junior Finn Gessner ran an imposing time of 9:01.81 for the event title.
'He pulled that race out from somewhere,' Brawner said. 'He wasn't feeling his best and there was the delay, but he has great competitive ability, a great will to compete.'
Brawner was also very happy for Evan Routhier, who finished the WIAA state-qualifying cross-country season well and then built on that success this spring.
'He had that issue (the stress fracture), but he did the pool workout; he was very diligent about doing everything right,' said Brawner. 'It was an awesome end to a great career.'
The Highlanders had two other entries at the meet, as senior Will Nimke finished a fine career taking 23rd in the discus with a throw of 110-8 and sophomore Mike Bruner had a tough day in the high jump, failing to clear a height.
The efforts gave the Highlanders 15 points, good enough for 15th place in the D1 state field as Brookfield East won its fourth title in six years with 49 points.
Brawner said the season was very enjoyable as the group improved almost daily. Evan Routhier was the track MVP, and the top freshman award went to Drew Bosley. Joe Wasserman won the Highlander award.
The Highlanders finished with about 75 athletes.
'Everything was low-key, super pleasant,' Brawner said. 'This team was just very enjoyable to be around.'