Ducheny-led Grafton girls race to 2nd in Waukesha; Benkley sets pace during Port’s 6th-place run at Angel
Perseverance on an unfamiliar course paved the way to a medal-winning performance by the Grafton girls’ cross-country team last Saturday.MEMBERS OF THE Grafton girls’ cross-country team posed with their second-place medals after the Waukesha South Festival Invitational last Saturday. They included (standing, from left) Rachel Ruona, Jamie Karrels, Megan Pawlak, Heidi Bauer, Amber Ducheny and (seated) Emily Volkmann, who did not run due to an injury. Photo by Bill Karrels
Sparked by Amber Ducheny’s sixth-place finish, the Black Hawks captured runner-up honors at the Waukesha South Festival Invitational at Minooka Park.
Ducheny finished the 4,000-meter race in 16 minutes, 16.5 seconds, the third-fastest time among juniors in an 84-runner field.
As a team, Grafton scored 105 points, trailing only Slinger (36) in the 11-team standings. Waukesha South was third (121).
“It was kind of a surprise because our numbers two through five runners didn’t run as well as they usually have,” Grafton coach Kevin Kriegel said.
“It was a tough course, so most of our times were off, but it was still nice to finish that high.”
The Hawks’ other scoring finishes came from Megan Pawlak in 16th (17:08.3), Rachel Ruona in 26th (17:21.1), Jamie Karrels in 30th (17:22.5) and Heidi Bauer in 31st (17:27.35).
Ruona, a freshman, had her team’s lone personal-best time, trimming 20 seconds off her previous fastest.
Slinger’s Taylor Clyse won the race in 14:51.9.
In the boys’ portion of the meet, Grafton’s incomplete team had only two runners.
Sophomore Patrick Tobianski placed 36th with a 5,000-meter time of 18:24.2. Teammate Jacob Woolf was 53rd (18:46.75).
Port girls race to 6th at Angel
The Port Washington girls’ cross-country team edged Cedar Grove-Belgium in a battle for sixth place at the Angel Invitational at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside last Saturday.
Junior Bianca Benkley had a 13th-place time of 15:44.1 to lead the Pirates, who scored 221 points.
That total was matched by Cedar Grove-Belgium, but Port was awarded sixth in a 27-team field because its sixth runner had a better finish.
The Pirates’ other scoring efforts came from Bonnie Allen in 33rd (16:16.2), Abby Kotecki in 38th (16:22.7), Brianna Ahner in 61st (16:51.5) and Maggie Kotecki in 84th (17:19.6).
Port’s sixth runner was Brenna Russell, who placed 103rd (17:33.7).
Cedar Grove-Belgium was paced by senior Kiera Depies, who took 11th (15:42.5).
The Rockets’ other scoring finishes came from Molly Ison in 25th (16:09.9), Lily Paul in 41st (16:30.6), Tammi Del Ponte in 47th (16:37.2) and Jaden Trowell in 108th (17:04.7).
Cedar Grove-Belgium’s sixth runner was Jericho Duenk, who took 10th (17:41.2).
“It was a lesson in scoring,” Port girls’ coach Joe Adamak said. “It showed that every single runner is important, right down to sixth and seventh place.”
Adamak was impressed his team’s overall effort, noting that each of the Pirates’ scoring runners had personal-best times.
Cedar Grove-Belgium coach Les Paul was pleased with his squad’s performance.
“The girls ran very well, and it was a nice showing for us,” he said. “Kiera made it in the medals group with an 11th-place finish.”
Brookfield Central won the girls’ title with 63 points, and La Crosse Aquinas was second with 127.
Molly Seidel of University Lake School took the individual title in 13:36.5, leading a 190-runner field.
The Port Washington boys raced to a 10th-place finish in their portion of the meet, scoring 301 points in a 27-team field.
Junior Jason Marhal led the Pirates with a 31st-place time of 16:55.5 for 5,000 meters.
Port’s other scoring efforts came from Eagan Norman in 47th (17:23.1), Jack Skelton-Miller in 63rd (17:37.7), Joe Bortolotti in 78th (17:50.4) and Billy Ernest in 82nd (17:52.3).
“I thought going in that there would be about nine teams we couldn’t beat, so we finished about where we should have,” Port boys’ coach Mark Pasten said.
“It was an outstanding field, and a good effort by us.”
All of the Pirates turned in personal-best times except Marhal, Pasten noted.
The Cedar Grove-Belgium boys finished 23rd in the meet with 554 points.
Senior Alex Holle paced the Rockets with a 17th-place time of 16:31.3.
Also scoring for Cedar Grove-Belgium were Michael Merritt in 62nd (17:36.6), Zach Johnson in 146th (19:54.3), Derek Arndt in 164th (20:44.9) and Cedric Bals in 165th (20:45.3).
“The guys ran well also, with some good personal bests,” Paul said.
Brookfield Central and Wauwatosa East each led the boys’ field with 104 points, but Central was awarded the title based on a better finish among sixth runners.
The individual champion was Central’s Carl Hirsch (15:42.6), who led a 187-runner field.
This week, both Port Washington teams will run at the Reedsburg Invitational at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Cedar Grove-Belgium teams will participate in the Griak Invitational in St. Paul on Saturday and the Sheboygan County Meet on Sept. 28.