Grafton boys crack the top 10

Runners reach goal at state meet; girls find tough competition but finish well in third straight trip

GRAFTON’S CROSS COUNTRY teams (above photo) returned to the state meet in Wisconsin Rapids last Saturday. The girls finished 12th of 16 teams and include (front from left) Zoe Leannah, Morgan Ruona, Maddy Wille, Elise Lueck, Julia Wille, Ava Pedersen, Natalie Cherella, Anna Eifert and Julia Craun. The boys finished 10th and include (back row) Hunter Bartelt, Cael Abad, Zander Lichosik, Jake Kempka, Jake Neperud, Thomas Volkmann, Nathan Baker, Sam Peters, Derek Ruona and Nathan Woolf. This was the girls’ third straight trip to state and the boys’ second consecutive trip. Submitted photo
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

The Grafton High School boys’ cross country team finished the season on a high note at the division 2 state meet in Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday.

Five of the seven Black Hawk runners finished with a season or personal-best time in leading the team to a 10th-place finish of 16 teams.

The Hawks scored 253 points. Valders won with 98, followed by Green Bay Notre Dame’s 114.

“The boys teams ran one of their best team races of the season and it was a wonderful way to finish out the season,” coach Kevin Kriegel said.

“We accomplished our goal as a team up at state, which was to improve upon last years 14th place finish but to also finish in the top 10.”

Senior star runner Zander Lichosik finished 11th (eighth of those with full teams) of 152 runners by completing the 5,000-meter course in 16 minutes, 37.3 seconds, just five seconds from 10th place.

“This was his top place by far in his third trip to the state meet and ran one of the best races of his career,” Kriegel said.

Sophomore Nathan Baker was 77th (43rd) in 17:36. Sophomore Cael Abad was 84th (49th) in 17:45. Senior Sam Peters was 113th (74th) in 18:09.8. Senior Hunter Bartelt was 118th (79th) in 18:15.5.

Willes lead lady Black Hawks to 12th

The Hawks third straight trip to state ended with a 12th-place finish of 16 teams. The Hawks scored 256 points. Medford won with 106, followed by Freedom with 115.

“The team did not run as well as hoped but nothing can be taken away from their season and accomplishments,” Kriegel said.

Star senior Julia Wille again led the team, finishing the course in 20:35.3, good for 49th place (29th among full teams).

Her freshman sister Maddy was 58th (34th) in 20:44.4. Senior Elise Lueck was 72nd (44th) in 20:57.2. Sophomore Morgan Ruona was 108th (74th) in 21:40.3, and junior Natalie Cherella was right behind in 109th (75th) in 21:40.4.

“Maddy Wille and Elise Lueck had great finishes to their seasons as they both ran person bests at the state meet, which is how you would love to finish things out. It is especially nice for Elise since she is finishing up her career in cross country and ran a fantastic race,” Kriegel said.

The Hawks had finished 11th in their last two trips to the state meet.

Grisar leads trio of Port Washington boys

Port Washington senior Brett Grisar ran a 16:57 in the division 2 boys race, good for 25th place.

“Brett got out in a decent position of 33rd place at the first mile and had the goal of finishing in the top 15. In hindsight, Brett’s fast start may have sacrificed his overall position in the end, but he went for his goal and I’m proud of his effort,” coach Mark Pasten said.

Senior Zach Gephart ran a personal-best 17:15 to take 40th.

“Zach did an outstanding job of moving up from 99th place at the first mile, then 52nd place at the second mile,” Pasten said.

“Zach’s effort is even more impressive when you consider that he dropped 1 minute and 15 seconds off of his time from the 2017 state meet. Zach was extremely satisfied with his performance and I was impressed with his execution of his race plan.”

Junior Ben Pasten took 67th with a 17:30.

“He did a great job of moving up through the field throughout the race. He was in 108th place at the mile, then 78th place at the two-mile before ending up in his 67th position overall. Ben has put in a lot of hard work in the last year and that determination allowed him to knock off 55 seconds from his time at the state meet in 2017,” coach Pasten said.

Port’s Stacey moves up through the pack

Pirate sophomore Bethany Stacey, Port’s lone lady qualifier, got caught up in congestion before making her way back to take 52nd in 20:36.7.

“It’s always a good feeling when you’re passing people at the end,” coach Joe Adamak said.

Stacey snuck in just ahead of Maddy Wille, who had edged her by one place and three seconds at the North Shore Conference meet. This time, Stacey nearly eight seconds faster.

“It was a very good season. She took some big strides,” Adamak said.

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