Grafton boys rally to earn share of their first championship at home invitational since 2004
A long, hard climb to the top ended for the Grafton boys’ track and field team last Friday.
Bolstered by six first-place finishes, coach Kevin Kriegel’s squad hustled to a share of top honors at home in the annual Black Hawk Invitational.
“It was really nice to have the boys finally win a big meet,” said Kriegel after Grafton rallied to tie West Bend East for first place in the 10-team standings.
“We had a few holes in events where we didn’t score, but we picked up some points in others. It was good to see.”
By winning the final event, the 1,600-meter relay, Grafton got 10 of its 117 points. East held a 111-107 lead entering the finale but only placed third in the race and lost sole possession of the overall title.
The Hawks pulled out the victory with a strong finish by the team of Kevin Wegner, Marcus Hill, Sean Hanley and Justin Tomashek, whose time of 3 minutes, 29.74 seconds was less than a second ahead of Port Washington (3:30.51).
Grafton’s comeback gave it the invitational title for the first time since 2004.
Rounding out the rest of the boys’ standings were Port in third with 97 points, followed by Whitefish Bay (83), Random Lake (52), Milwaukee Custer (30), Milwaukee Washington (24), James Madison Academy (15), Milwaukee Marshall (12) and St. Francis (2).
“We’ve had some lean years where our numbers were down, and it was tough going,” Kriegel said. “Now we’ve got a good group of guys who are working hard and doing well.”
The girls’ team title was won by Whitefish Bay with 120 points.
Grafton, posting its highest finish at the meet in at least 10 years, took second with 109.83 points, and Port was third with 78.
Random Lake finished fourth with 68.33 points, followed by West Bend East (62.5), Milwaukee Custer (37.33), Milwaukee Marshall (29), James Madison Academy (11), St. Francis (9) and Milwaukee Washington (4).
Jason Zahn set the pace individually for the Grafton boys by winning both weight events. The sophomore placed first in the discus with a toss of 158 feet, 7 inches, and took the shot-put crown (51-9-1/2).
Both distances were personal bests.
“That solidifies what Jason has been doing all season,” Kriegel said. “He’s been very consistent.”
The Hawks’ other first-place performances came from Sean Hanley in the 400-meter dash (54.9), Ryan Grange in the high jump (5-8) and the 3,200-meter relay team of Adam Kahmann, Hanley, Stefan Lundgren and Ryan Rieboldt (8:43.28).
Grafton got second-place finishes from Alex Konop in the 1,500 run (4:33.17), Rieboldt in the 800 run (2:07.0), Lundgren in the 3,200 run (10:32.6) and the 400 relay team of D. Foster, Hill, Jason Karrels and Willie McElligott (44.76) and thirds from Kahmann in the 800 run (2:11.85) and Foster in the 200 dash (23.89).
The Port boys were led by winning efforts from Jared Burris in the 800 run (2:06.64), Jake Verfuerth in the 3,200 run (10:29.76) and Adam Schoenfeld in the triple jump (40-7-1/2).
The Pirates received seconds from Trevor Swartwout in the pole vault (10-6), the 800 relay of Joe McIlree, Justin Fote, Jeff Bartow and Jared Sandlin (1:36.17) and 1,600 relay of Eric Didier, Steven Nelson, Adam Prom and McIlree (3:30.51) and thirds from Casey Karpin in the 1,500 run (4:34.76), Perry Schaefer in the pole vault (9-6) and the 3,200 relay of Verfuerth, Brandon Hinneberg, Sam Dean and Augie Yates (8:52.13).
“We had some good performances,” Port boys’ coach Mark Pasten said. “This was a meet where we mixed in some JV guys with our varsity regulars, and a lot of them did well.”
The Grafton girls’ runner-up finish was “a little bit of a surprise,” Kriegel said.
“They performed very well. It was nice to see that kind of payoff for their hard work.”
Leading the Hawks was freshman Cathy Brunette, who placed first in the 100 hurdles (16.2) and 300 hurdles (50.2).
Grafton’s other wins came from the 800 relay of Carrie Herian, Sara Grange, Rachel Aschenbrenner and Emily Van Langen (1:50.02) and the 400 relay of Herian, Grange, Samie McKee and Van Langen (52.02).
The Hawks received seconds from Lazzari in the 800 run (2:31.54), Aschenbrenner in the 200 dash (27.64), McKee in the high jump (4-10), the 400 relay of Katelyn Gallun, Volkmann, Brunette and Lazzari (4:30.16) and the 3,200 relay of Jamie Karrels, Britta Lahr, Emily Volkmann and Jessica Lazzari (10:52.26) and thirds from Van Langen in the 100 dash (13.2), Megan Pawlak in the 1,500 run (5;27.63) and Emily Schreiner in the 200 dash (28.41).
The Port girls had four first-place finishes — from Bianca Benkley in the 1,500 run (4:54.96), Payton Greisch in the 800 run (2:27.63), Marly Trier in the discus (121-9-1/2) and the 3,200 relay of Anna Bartlein, Jenny Roden, Diana Seer and Bonnie Allen (10:39.01).
“We had some good performances, but we limited some of our girls to one individual event,” Port girls’ coach Joe Adamak said. “We also didn’t enter any sprints.”
The Pirates’ other top finishes included a second by Hilton in the 1,500 run (5:11.08) and thirds from Seer in the 800 run (2:33.0), Claire Kinzer in the pole vault (7-6), Emma Shelander in the triple jump (30-11-1/2) and Trier in the shot put (32-7).
Benkley sets school mark at Falls Invite
A school-record performance by Benkley highlighted finishes by Port and Grafton teams at the rain-soaked Menomonee Falls Invitational on May 11.
The freshman broke her own mark in the 3,200 run with a runner-up time of 11:25.54, leading a 2-3-4 finish by the Port girls.
Benkley trailed only Sussex Hamilton’s Theresa Selestow, one of the state’s top distance runners, who was first in 11:01.33.
The Pirates’ Hilton placed third (11:51.37), and teammate Seer was fourth (12:20.16).
Menomonee Falls won the girls’ team title with 142.5 points, and Burlington was second with 108. Grafton took sixth with 69 points, and Port was seventh with 65.
Port’s other top-four finishes included firsts by Trier in the discus (109-2) and the 3,200 relay of Allen, Hilton, Benkley and Greisch (10:00.43); thirds by Greisch in the 400 dash (1:01.87) and Sarah Carini in the discus (92-6); and a fourth by Trier in the shot put (30-5).
The Grafton girls received a first-place finish from Brunette in the 100 hurdles (16.58); seconds by Van Langen in the 100 dash (13.09) and the 1,600 relay of Van Langen, Gallun, Grange and Lazzari (4;25.81); thirds by the 800 relay of Schreiner, Gallun, Lazzari and Herian (1:54.11) and 400 relay of Schreiner, Grange, Aschenbrenner and Herian (53.48); and a fourth by Brunette in the 300 hurdles (52.0)
In the boys’ meet, Brookfield East won with 199 points, well ahead of runner-up Menomonee Falls’ 134. Port placed sixth with 60 points, and Grafton was seventh with 44.
The Pirates received seconds from Bartow in the 3,200 run (10:10.34) and Schoenfeld in the triple jump (40-3) and fourths by Schoenfeld in the high jump (5-10) and long jump (19-6-3/4) and the 3,200 relay of Bartow, Karpin, Nelson and Sandlin (8:24.9).
Grafton was led by a victory from Zahn in the discus (156-4) and fourths from Tomashek in the 400 dash (52.54), the 800 relay of Jake Bronowski, Hill, Karrels and McElligott (1:34.88) and the 1,600 relay of Wegner, Bronowski, Hanley and Tomashek (3:35.09).
This week, the Port and Grafton teams were scheduled to participate in the North Shore Conference outdoor meet at Whitefish Bay on Tuesday.
On May 24, Port will take part in a WIAA Division 1 regional meet in Plymouth at 3 p.m., and Grafton will host a Division 1 regional at 3:30 p.m.
Cedar Grove-Belgium boys take runnerup honors for 2nd straight year in CLC after battle with Howards
For the second straight year, the Cedar Grove-Belgium boys’ track team grabbed runner-up honors at the Central Lakeshore Conference outdoor meet.
The host Rockets scored 142 points in Monday’s competition, again trailing only Howards Grove (158.5).
Rounding out the rest of the boys’ standings were Random Lake in third place with 96 points, followed by Kohler (75), Oostburg (62), Ozaukee (45.5), Sheboygan Lutheran (42) and Elkhart Lake (24).
Cedar Grove-Belgium got a pair of individual wins from junior Joel Merritt, who placed first in the 800-meter run (with a season-best time of 2 minutes, 4.1 seconds) and the 1,600 run (4:37.4).
The Rockets’ other victories came from Josh Mulloy in the 3,200 run (a season-best 10:13.6), Zac Garza in the 400 dash (53.7), Jesse Anderson in the high jump (5 feet, 8 inches) and the 1,600 relay team of Tyler Garcia, Matt Bornheimer, Spencer Jacque and T.J. DuMez (3:41.1).
Cedar Grove-Belgium’s 800 relay raced to an apparent win but was disqualified for passing the baton outside the zone.
Placing second for the Rockets were Zach Lyons in the triple jump (41-7), Garza in the 200 dash (23.2) and the 400 relay of Kyle Kirst, Andrew Leick, Christian O’Donnell and Jacque (48.2).
The Ozaukee boys were led by second-place finishes from the 800 relay of Brandon Turenne, Noah Stahl, Jason Gensrick and Doug Grimm (1;41.56) and the 1,600 relay of Turenne, Stahl, Dustin Richter and Gensrick (3:47.65).
Random Lake won the girls’ team title with 193 points, well ahead of runner-up Oostburg, which had 139.5.
Rounding out the girls’ field were Sheboygan Lutheran in third place with 92 points, followed by Kohler (74), Cedar Grove-Belgium (62), Ozaukee (56.5), Howards Grove (23) and Elkhart Lake (8).
The Cedar Grove-Belgium girls were paced by junior Marina Paul, who won the 1,600 run (with a season-best 5:36.12) and the 3,200 run (12:30.21).
Placing third for the Rockets were Erika Meinen in the 400 dash (1:07.33) and the 3,200 relay of Jessica Meinen, Erika Meinen, Kiera Depies and Kelly Del Ponte (10:36.31)
For Ozaukee, Hillary Johnson took second in the 200 dash (28.19) and third in the 100 dash (13.6). Caitlin Siesco was third in the 800 run (2:33.95).
Both Cedar Grove-Belgium teams are now preparing for a WIAA Division 2 regional meet at 3:30 p.m. May 24 at Wisconsin Lutheran College, followed by a sectional meet May 27 in Whitewater.
With his squads bumped up to Division 2 this season, Cedar Grove-Belgium coach Steve Moore knows qualifying will be tougher than last year.
Most of the other teams will be from schools two or three times the size of Cedar Grove-Belgium.
On top of that, Moore said his team is headed for “probably the toughest Division 2 regional in state.”
“If you can qualify out of the Whitewater Sectional, you have a pretty good chance at getting on the podium (at state),” Moore said.
Ozaukee’s teams will participate in a Division 3 regional meet in Kohler at 4 p.m. May 24, followed by a sectional meet May 27 in Princeton.
GRAFTON’S CATHY BRUNETTE had clear sailing as she raced to first-place finishes in the 100 and 300-meter hurdle events during last Friday’s Black Hawk Invitational. The freshman helped host Grafton to runner-up honors in the girls‘ portion of the meet. Photo by Sam Arendt