Marinette’s Dakota Vanidestine crosses the finish line first during the 400-meter relay at state Saturday. <br> EagleHerald/Jody Korch
Marinette’s Dakota Vanidestine crosses the finish line first during the 400-meter relay at state Saturday.
EagleHerald/Jody Korch
MARINETTE - When Dakota Vanidestine took the baton for the 400-meter anchor leg, Marinette's state title chances were in good hands.

Marines Jaden Boivin, Zach Campbell and Colton Dessart gave Vanidestine the lead, and he kept the competition in his rear-view mirror to bring home Marinette's second state championship at the WIAA Track & Field State Championships Saturday.

Dustin Valind followed up on Friday's discus title with a third place finish in the shot put Saturday at UW-La Crosse's Memorial Stadium.

Vanidestine atoned for a disappointing ninth-place finish in the 100 dash earlier Saturday with a strong anchor leg.

"As soon as Dakota got the baton I knew," Boivin said.

The Marines were concerned about Shorewood, but finished more than a half-second ahead of the second-place Greyhounds. Marinette's winning time was 42.64.

"The whole time I felt like they were inching in on me or they were right there," Vanidestine said.

Dessart's handoff to Vanidestine wasn't flawless.

"I had to backhand it," Vanidestine said. "I flipped my hand, just grabbed it and took off. It was one of the greatest feelings I've ever had. All of our hard work paid off."

Boivin, Campbell and Vanidestine won a sixth-place medal in the 400 relay at state last year, and Boivin won a fourth-place medal at state in wrestling in February.

"I've been trying to win a state championship for two years now," he said. "I've always fallen short. It feels good to finally get one done."

Campbell said his two handoff exchanges were the best of the season.

Shorewood was neck-and-neck with the Marines when Campbell handed the baton to Dessart.

"Our exchange was so much better than theirs'" Campbell said. "He (Dessart) was gone."

"Between me and Zach that was the best handoff we had all year," Dessart said. "I just started passing people."

The Marines, who ran the second-best Division 2 time in state history, had their sights set on the state record of 42.48, set two years ago by West Salem.

"We fell a little short but it was still awesome," Boivin said.

"It hurts a little bit but the gold feels good," Vanidestine said. "It feels amazing to perform in front of all those people. It's a rush."

Marinette's time set the Bay Conference record.

Dessart's three teammates had filled him in, but the sophomore didn't know what he was getting into until he actually stepped onto the track with more than 17,000 spectators.

"That just was crazy. The stands are packed, people standing all the way around," Dessart said. "Our team was good, and it helps that everybody is close friends."

Boivin, Campbell and Vanidestine are seniors.

"Our last shot ever at a state championship. We got it," Campbell said. "It's great to know this is our last high school event ever and we nailed it."

A day after becoming Marinette's first-ever boys' discus state champ, Valind placed third in the shot.

"He's not happy but I'm happy," said John Sitek, Marinette's throwers coach.

Valind's first attempt - his best - traveled 56 feet, 11 1/2 inches. It was his best throw of the season and second best ever in competition.

"I thought I'd at least get second in the shot," he said. Pewaukee's T.J. Watt - the brother of NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt - won the shot with a throw of 60-0 1/2 .

Marinette was a strong contender for the Division 2 team title but settled for fifth place with 26 points. Shorewood won with 44.