"It was my second year running the 4 by 8. It felt pretty good. It was state. It was nerve racking. It was such a good experience. First time running at state. I feel like I handled it pretty well. I got a medal out of it so that's all I can really ask for."
Stuebe was the No. 2 runner on the cross country team behind Finger and ran the No. 2 leg of this relay. He improved slightly on Esteves' position by the time he handed the baton off to Ura.
"Cross country really helped with this," Stuebe said. "This was my first full year doing track. It's a great experience. I put myself in a great spot and kept us with the pack. I knew a couple guys were going to be flying so I got past them initially. I knew if we just ran our race, we'd be all right. We got a school record, so we're really happy with that. Three of us being seniors, last time running together, it was something special."
Ura made his first and only state appearance a good one, giving the baton to Finger with only a few meters needed to push the team from sixth into fourth place.
"It felt amazing," Ura said. "It's like a dream come true. I have been waiting for this to happen for a long time. I am so happy and I couldn't ask for anything more. They are my team, my family right here. We broke our pr the school record by eight seconds, so we were flying. We all ran rally fast.
"I've been running since seventh, eighth grade. It was definitely was worth it. It all paid off in the end."
Finger qualified for this meet in the 800 and a relay last year, then qualified for state in cross country in the fall. He shattered his own PR to bring the relay home in style. He runs again in the open 800 and the mile relay today.
"These three did an amazing job getting me in the right position," Finger said. "Apparently, I ran a 1:57. That's like four seconds faster than I have ever ran before. It makes me feel great about tomorrow and the rest of today, not hurt or anything. Feeling good.
"It's a weird feeling being a sophomore and being the most experienced guy up here. It's awesome being with these guys and to run that fast and to get my first medal up here with these guys, helping them have a good time up here."
St. Mary Catholic won the race in 8:08.2. The next five teams were all within three seconds of each other. Despite never having faced any of those teams, the Trojans met the challenge.
"They did amazing," Klueger said. "We were a little disappointed last year, because we missed coming up here by one place. We had a lot of the guys coming back and we felt like we owed it to them. For coach (Andrew) Perkins and myself, it was a big goal to get these guys here with those three seniors.
"You just don't know what's going to happen with a group like this, that is so inexperienced when they get here. But every meet, they have stepped it up, getting faster and faster. Really, we were unmatched up until today. We haven't had great competition like we had today, so it was great to see the guys answer to the call. Extremely happy. Three seniors, to finish like this and to have no expectation at the beginning of the year. Jake coming from baseball, Hirochi never being here before. Early on, they set a goal. They had a bond this year. They worked together, they pushed each other and it paid off."
Hustisford senior Matthew Greeb also had a successful first day at state. He placed ninth in the 400 meter dash prelims in a personal best time of 51.69 and qualified for today's finals. Freshman Ari Hildebrandt made her state debut in the girls 400 meter dash trials and finished 15th in 1:02.49.
Waterloo junior Christi Forman placed eighth in the girls 1,600 meter run in 5:22.48, which was nearly three second better than her seed time out of the Princeton sectional. Waterloo senior Spencer Noel competed in the boys 300 intermediate hurdles and finished 14th with a time of 43.89. He will compete again today in the pole vault.