Pirate boys, girls turn in solid finishes but trail top two teams at conference run
There were few surprises in the race for top team honors during last Saturday’s North Shore Conference cross-country meet at Tendick Park in Saukville.
As expected, the Whitefish Bay girls and Germantown boys successfully defended their titles.
The fight for runner-up honors was another matter, though, with both Port Washington teams having to settle for third in tight battles.
“It wasn’t a bad day for us as a team, but we could have run better,” said Port boys’ coach Mark Pasten, whose team scored 62 points, 13 behind second-place Bay.
“Bay turned out to be a little bit better than I expected.”
Germantown won the boys’ title with 36 points. Among other teams, Homestead was fourth with 125 points, followed by Nicolet (142), Milwaukee Lutheran (154), Cedarburg (164) and Grafton (204).
Port was led by senior Jake Verfuerth, who placed sixth with a 5,000-meter time of 16 minutes, 57 seconds. Verfuerth earned all-conference first-team honors by finishing in the top eight.
“Jake ran a really good race. He started out in the pack and steadily picked up the pace,” Pasten said.
The Pirates’ other scoring runners were Augie Yates in 10th (17:18), Justin Fote in 14th (17:18), Jason Marhal in 15th (17:35) and Jared Sandlin in 17th (17:39).
Also for Port, Brandon Hinneberg placed 21st (17:51), Jared Burris was 28th (18:05) and David LeBlanc was 37th (18:33).
Marhal was the only Pirate to run a personal-best time.
“If everyone had been a little faster, we could have caught Bay,” Pasten said. “We had to settle for a solid third.”
The individual championship went to Bay’s Mike Camilleri (16:28). Homestead’s Nate Rothier won the race for the second straight year only to be disqualified for wearing nonconforming trunks that didn’t match those of his teammates.
The Grafton boys were paced by freshman Patrick Tobianski, who finished 29th with a personal-best time of 18:11. Teammate Stefan Lundgren was 30th in the same time.
Also for the Black Hawks, Josh Wimmer took 47th (19:17), Adam Kahmann was 53rd (20:16) and Michael Knapik was 55th (20:40).
“We were hoping a better finish,” Grafton coach Kevin Kriegel said. “But other than Patrick, none of our runners showed any improvement.”
The Bay girls continued to show they are one of the state’s best by placing first with 55 points, 19 fewer than second-place Homestead.
Port took third with 80 points, followed by Germantown (95), Cedarburg (112), Nicolet (138), Grafton (163) and Milwaukee Lutheran (186).
Sophomore Bianca Benkley again led the Pirates with a personal-best 4,000-meter time of 15:39, good for eighth place. The time was matched by Grafton sophomore Amber Ducheny, who finished seventh.
Also for Port, Ashley Hilton took ninth (15:45), Diana Seer was 11th (a personal-best 15:54), Payton Greisch was 25th (16:49), and Allison Hilton and Bonnie Allen were 27th and 28th, respectively (both at 16:50).
Port girls’ coach Joe Adamak was pleased with his team’s showing, noting “we finished exactly where I thought we would.
“Our overall time was faster than Homestead, but they had all five of their (scoring) runners finish ahead of our fourth-place runner,” he noted.
Ducheny received all-conference first-team honors with Benkley, as well as praise from her coach.
“Amber ran a great race,” Kriegel said. “It’s not an easy course, and she still dropped two seconds off her best time.”
Grafton’s other scoring finishers were Jamie Karrels in 21st (a personal-best 16:44), Emily Volkmann in 40th (17:24), Kylie Longoria in 48th (18:10) and Kimmy Bader in 52nd (18:37).
“The girls did pretty well,” Kriegel said. “I was pleased with their effort.”
This Saturday, all conference teams but Whitefish Bay will return to Tendick Park for WIAA sectional meets.
Grafton will join Cedarburg, Homestead, Germantown, Nicolet and other area squads in a Division 1 meet. The boys’ race starts at 11 a.m., followed by the girls at 11:45 a.m.
Port and Milwaukee Lutheran will be among the teams in a Division 2 meet, with the boys running at 2 p.m. and the girls at 2:45 p.m.
The top two teams in each sectional meet will advance to the state level along with the top five individuals from non-qualifying squads.
The Port boys and girls will be among the favorites as state team qualifiers.