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Hill leads Monroe to state
Photo for the Times: Duke Goetz Monroes Jeff Hill clears the bar at 14 feet in the pole vault at the WIAA Division 2 sectional track and field meet in Boscobel on Friday.
BOSCOBEL - With a blank pole vault display that didn't have the digits to show 14 feet, Monroe sophomore Jeff Hill took a vault into the record books.

Hill cleared a lifetime best 14-0 and pumped his fist after setting a new Monroe sophomore record on his way to winning a WIAA Division 2 sectional pole vault title Friday in Boscobel.

"It's better than anything I could have asked for," Hill said. "Going into this year, I never expected it at all. I have been blessed with what I was able to do. I will keep working as hard as I can."

Hill was one of three Monroe individuals to qualify for state, joining senior Lucas Leu, who finished third in the shot put (147-11) and senior Brett DeNure, who took third in the 800 with a time of 1 minute, 56 seconds. The Cheesemakers finished third as a team and qualified two relays for state, including the 3,200- and 1,600-meter relays.

"It's a big accomplishment," Monroe boys track coach Dave Hirsbrunner said after the Cheesemakers (59.5 points) finished behind sectional champion Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau (69) and Nekoosa (61). "This is the best sectional in the state for Division 2."

It was Hill's consistency in a vaulting showdown with River Valley's Scott Liegel that paid dividends. Hill made every height on his first attempt until 14 feet, while Liegel, after running the trials of the 200, missed at 13-9 - which is what proved to be the difference.

It looked like Hill had cleared 14-3, which would have tied the Monroe school record. As he raised his arms to celebrate, the bar bobbled like a fisherman's bobber in the lake. As he stepped off the mat, the bar came tumbling down.

"It would have fallen regardless," Hill said of his near celebration as he came off the mat. "Something happened and I got a little lazy."

Hill will have one more chance to break the school record this year at the WIAA Division 2 state meet June 5-6 at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

"It's something I have been really looking forward to," Hill said of state. "It's something I have been working toward."

Leu knows what it's like to be on the verge of state - he finished fifth in the discus at the sectional a year ago. Leu won't have to sit in the stands this year as he finished third in the discus with a throw of 147-11 to seal his state berth.

"This is something I have been looking forward to," Leu said. "It felt good to come in and earn my way to state this year."

The Cheesemakers' 3,200 relay team of Skyler Stingley, Joe Pecora, Cullen Sampson and DeNure finished third and qualified with a season-best time of 8:09.99.

"They ran a great time," Hirsbrunner said. "I'm not really happy with our place. The important thing is we are moving on. I still think we can run faster."

DeNure qualified for state in three events. He teamed with Bryan Tordoff, Tad Christen and Sampson to take third in the 1,600 with a time of 3:25.80.

In a photo finish, the Cheesemakers' 400 relay team of Garrett Wyss, Dan Vale, Alex Bartlett and Mason Goff finished fifth (:44.99) and were just four-hundredths of a second away from state.

"That was a sad one," Hirsbrunner said. "For a while, they thought we had fourth and were celebrating."

Christen just missed a trip to state in the triple jump, finishing fifth with a leap of 42-4 1/2, sixth in the long jump (20-4 1/2) and seventh in the 200 (:23.53). Monroe sophomore Michael Barrett cleared 6-0 feet and tied for sixth place in the high jump.

Sugar River senior Jeremy McDermott took fourth in the 110 hurdles (:15.66) to punch his ticket for state. Monroe sophomore Caleb Ahrens took sixth (:16.47).

"I'm just really ecstatic," McDermott said. "It's probably the biggest accomplishment in my life."

Sugar River junior Travis Beutler finished third in the 3,200 with a time of 9:50.34 to qualify.

Brodhead senior Ryan Miller was the sectional runner-up in the 300 hurdles (:40.82) and is the only Cardinal on the boys team to advance.