Portâ€™s 4th, Graftonâ€™s 5th at conference indoor meet give both squads solid tune-ups for outdoor season
A team championship wasnâ€™t in the cards for either the Port Washington or Grafton boysâ€™ track and field squads during last weekâ€™s North Shore Conference indoor meet at Homestead High School.
However, that didnâ€™t mean either team was disappointed with its showing in a major tune-up for the outdoor season.
â€śWe did better than I was expecting us to,â€ť said Port coach Mark Pasten, whose squad rode its strength in middle and long-distance races to a fourth-place score of 36 points in the eight-team standings March 31.
â€śI was happy with finishing in the top half.â€ť
Grafton coach Kevin Kriegel was equally pleased with his young teamâ€™s fifth-place effort of 32 points, a marked improvement over last yearâ€™s last-place finish.
â€śIt was phenomenal,â€ť Kriegel said. â€śWeâ€™ve been in the cellar the past three or four years, so this was so much better.â€ť
Homestead used its depth to secure top honors. The Highlanders finished with 155.5 points, two more than runner-up Germantown in a two-team battle for first.
Whitefish Bay finished third with 66 points, followed by Port, Grafton, Nicolet (31), Cedarburg (23) and Milwaukee Lutheran (21).
Port was led by a pair of second-place finishes that both featured senior Jeff Bartow.
In addition to placing second in the 3,200-meter run in 10 minutes, 40.63 seconds, Bartow ran the third leg on a runner-up 3,200 relay team that also included Adam Prom, Steven Nelson and Justin Fote
The Piratesâ€™ other scoring finishes on the track were a fourth by the 640 relay of Eric Didier, Joe McIlree, Roman Bailey and Taylor Devenport (1:21.64); a fifth by Jared Sandlin in the 1,600 run (4:46.96); sixths by
Sandlin in the 800 run (2:11.11) and the 1,600 relay of Prom, McIlree, Nelson and Casey Karpin (3;52.83); a seventh by Michael Kolbach in the 3,200 run (11:15.05); and an eighth by Prom in the 400 dash (57.17).
Port also received a sixth from Trevor Swortwout in the pole vault (9 feet, 6 inches) and a seventh from McIlree in the long jump (20 feet).
Pasten singled out Bartow, who had the fastest split on the Piratesâ€™ 3,200 relay, as well as McIlree, Didier and Sandlin.
â€śWe had a lot of really good efforts,â€ť he said. â€śThere were quite a few personal-bests, including some that just missed out placing.â€ť
Grafton, which scored in eight events, was led by third-place finishes from sophomore Jason Zahn in the shot put (48-5) and the 640 relay of D. Foster, Willie McElligott, Jake Bronowski and Jason Karrels (1:19.5).
The Black Hawks also received a fourth from the 1,600 relay of Kevin Wegner, Ryan Grange, Sean Hanley and Justin Tomashek (3:49.8), fifths from McElligott in the 200 dash (25.06) and Ryan Rieboldt in the 800 run (2:10.9), a sixth from Michael Salm in the 1,600 run (4:47.07) and sevenths by Tomashek in the 400 dash (56.6), Grange in the high jump (5-10) and Alex Konop in the 800 run (2:11.65).
McElligottâ€™s effort in the 200 dash and Grangeâ€™s in the high jump were good for shares of their place finishes.
â€śIt was really exciting to see how our young team responded,â€ť said Kriegel, who noted that Zahn and McElligott, a freshman, exemplified the Hawksâ€™ overall showing.
â€śJason and Willie both had exceptional performances. They performed very well in a big-meet situation.â€ť
Local girls trail in standings
Grafton and Port brought up the rear of the standings in the girlsâ€™ portion of the meet, finishing seventh and eighth, respectively.
The Hawks, who improved one spot in the standings over last yearâ€™s indoor meet, scored 25.5 points. The Pirates had 23 points.
Leading Grafton was a third-place finish by Cathy Brunette in the 55 hurdles (9.61) and a fourth by the 640 relahy of Carrie Herian, Sara Grange, Emily Schreiner and Emily Van Langen (1:33.75).
The Hawks also received fifth-place finishes by Van Langen in the 55 dash (7.83), Jessica Lazzari in the 800 run (2:36.97) and Grange in the high jump (4-8) and sevenths by Van Langen in the 200 dash (29.23) and Schreiner in the 55 dash (7.9). Grangeâ€™s jump was good for a share of fifth.
â€śThe girls moved up one spot, so we improved, which was good,â€ť Kriegel said.
Kriegel singled out of the contributions of â€śa couple new facesâ€ť â€” freshmen Brunette and Grange.
Port was paced by junior Payton Greisch, who placed second in the 400 dash (1:03.18) and anchored the second-place 3,200 relay that also included Ashley Hilton, Bianca Benkley and Diana Seer (10:23.35).
The Piratesâ€™ other scoring finishes were a fifth by Benkley in the 1,600 run (5:35.49), a seventh by Claire Kinzer in the pole vault (8 feet) and an eighth by Hilton in the 3,200 run (12:27.94).
Port coach Joe Adamak said he didnâ€™t place a strong emphasis on the meet and limited his athletes to two events apiece.
â€śThe 4-by-800 relay team ran a great time, and then I kind of held the girls back,â€ť he said. â€śWe could have used some of the girls in more relays, but that wasnâ€™t going to be our approach.â€ťÂ Â Â
Homestead dominated the girlsâ€™ field with a first-place score of 118 points, well ahead of runner-up Milwaukee Lutheranâ€™s 87.5.
Rounding out the top six teams were Whitefish Bay (81.5), Germantown (71), Nicolet (59.5) and Cedarburg (56).
After being off this week for spring break, the Port and Grafton boys and girls will all return to the track Friday, April 16, in a 4 p.m. invitational meet at Shorewood.
The competition will feature only running events.
JEFF BARTOW handed the baton to Justin Fote during Port Washingtonâ€™s second-place finish in the 3,200-meter relay race at last weekâ€™s North Shore Conference indoor meet. Â Â Â Photo by Sam Arendt