Grange-led Lady Hawks cruise to their inaugural NSC indoor championship
Grafton High School doesn’t have the largest girls’ track and field team in the North Shore Conference this season, but it certainly has one of the best.
The Black Hawks turned in a history-making performance April 3 by winning their first conference indoor team title in dominant fashion at Cedarburg High School.
Led by three first-place finishes from junior Sara Grange, Grafton scored 100 points, 20 more than runner-up Germantown.
Grange showed her versatility by winning the 55-meter dash (7.64 seconds), 200 dash (27.59) and high jump (5 feet, 2 inches).
The Hawks also got firsts from junior Cathy Brunette in the 55 hurdles (8.89) and the 3,200 relay team of Kylie Longoria, Jamie Karrels, Heidi Bauer and Megan Pawlak (an indoor-team record 10:25.0).
“We dominated the meet, and the 4-by-800 relay set the tone for us,” Grafton coach Kevin Kriegel said. “They went out and set a record, which really got us going.”
Grafton’s steady scoring also included second-place finishes from Brunette in the high jump (5-0) and the 1,600 relay of Katie Boehm, Anya Dillahunt, Rachel Schmitz and Katelyn Gallun (4:267.9); thirds by Gallun in the 400 dash (1:04.71) and the 640 relay of Emily Schreiner, Dillahunt, Schmitz and Brunette (1:32.57); and fourths by Schreiner in the 55 dash (7.89) and Amber Ducheny in the 3,200 run (12:29.0).
“Overall, it was a nice team effort, with scoring in sprints, hurdles and distances,” Kriegel said.
Kriegel said his team’s goal entering the meet was to score more than 90 points, which he believed might give the Hawks an edge in a title fight with Germantown and Whitefish Bay.
“I thought we would have a good chance to win it if we did that,” he said. “We got 100, which was great.”
Bay finished third in the eight-team standings with 75 points, followed by Milwaukee Lutheran (63.5), Homestead (60.5), Cedarburg (60), Nicolet (51) and Port Washington (31).
Port was led by junior Bianca Benkley, whose third-place time in the 1,600 run (5:17.2) was just one second off the team record.
“Bianca had a great run. She matched last year’s state-qualifying time,” Port coach Joe Adamak said.
The Pirates’ highest-scoring event was the long jump, where they got a third from Emma Shelander (15-9-3/4), fourth by Kristina Rossi (15-5-3/4) and seventh from Anna Pierringer (15-3).
Port also got a fifth from the 3,200 relay of Anna Bartlein, Maggie Kotecki, Brenna Russell and Abby Kotecki (11:11.0) and sixths from Claire Kinzer in the pole vault (7-6) and Kayla McIlree in the shot put (31-11-1/2).
“We had some good performances, but our lack of sprinters really showed up in this meet,” Adamak said.
“Our goal is to continue to work hard and get better as the season goes on.”
Grafton 3rd, Port 5th among NSC boys
A pair of winning performances helped Grafton secure third place in the boys’ North Shore Conference meet at Milwaukee Lutheran High School on April 4.
Senior Jason Zahn won the shot put (54-1-1/2) for the Hawks, who also got a first from the 400 relay of Erick Huertas, Kevin Wegner, Zach Greenwood and Marcus Hill (3:38.65).
Grafton scored 76.5 points, well ahead of fourth-place Germantown (61). Homestead won the team title with 119 points, and Whitefish Bay was second with 114.
Rounding out the standings were fifth-place Port Washington (51), Milwaukee Lutheran (50), Cedarburg (34.5) and Nicolet (16).
Kriegel singled out his team’s first-place performances, noting the 1,600 relay “gave us a great way to end the meet.”
Hill led a late surge that allowed Grafton to edge Homestead (3:39.02) at the tape.
“We scored about as many points as we could in this meet,” Kriegel said. “Realistically, there was no way we could have finished as high as second.”
Among the Hawks’ other scoring finishes were seconds by Huertas in the 400 dash (53.46), the 640 relay of Willie McElligott, Wegner, Jack Howman and Zach DeBuhr (1:18.98) and the 3,200 relay of Steven Duarte, Matt Salm, Adam Kahmann and Patrick Tobianski (8:59.43); thirds by McElligott in the 200 dash (24.6), Hill in the 400 dash (55.2) and Tobianski in the 800 run (2:07.28); and a fourth by McElligott in the 55 dash (6.89).
Port was led by junior Derek Haley’s first-place finish in the pole vault (12-6).
The Pirates also got a second from Jason Marhal in the 3,200 run (10:12.72), third by the 640 relay of Haley, Mick Clarke, Andrew Wood and Nathan Kitzerow (1:20.6) and fourth from Perry Schaefer in the pole vault (11-0).
“It went about like I expected,” Port coach Mark Pasten said of his team’s performance.
“I thought we would finish fifth, with a shot at fourth, and that’s how it turned out.”
Pasten praised Haley’s vault victory, which included a personal-best effort. Haley was awarded first based on fewer misses than runner-up Tyler Baran of Germantown, who also cleared 12-6.
Marhal also earned a nod from his coach for a strong finish in the 3,200 race that left him just 5.21 seconds behind winner Nate Gomoll of Bay.
“That was a great effort on Jason’s part. That was our highlight in the running events,” Pasten said.
Local teams are off this week due to spring break.
Both Grafton squads will return to competition at the Owl Invitational in Slinger on Wednesday, April 18.
The next meet for Port teams will be the Viking Invitational at Wisconsin Lutheran on Saturday, April 21.
Image Information: GRAFTON FRESHMAN Hannah Weber cleared a hurdle during a 55-meter race at the North Shore Conference girls indoor track and field meet last week in Cedarburg. Teammate Cathy Brunette won the event, giving the Black Hawks one of five first-place finishes on the way to their first North Shore indoor team title. Photo by Sam Arendt