Cross Country teams rebuilding

With top runners gone, a repeat of last year’s record success is unlikely for Port boys and girls
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

The team that finished third place in the boys’ Division 2 cross country meet last season is mostly gone.

Port Washington High School’s Miles Stimac, Fraser Toal and Zach Miller graduated, and senior Isaiah Holland didn’t go out for cross country this year.

Those were four of the Pirates’ top five runners.

“Our goal was to get back to state and do well up there,” coach Mark Pasten said.

“But then top returner Isaiah Holland did not come back out. We’ve kind of got to change our expectations to maybe we can qualify for state. We’re going to have to really make some big improvements from now to the end of the year.”

Senior Brett Grisar, who finished 25th at state last year — second on the team — is back to lead the Pirates.

He is joined by junior Ben Pasten and senior Zach Gephart, who were Port’s sixth and seventh runners, respectively, at state last year.

Port’s other top runner is Joe Burke. Others in the mix include Jacob Deheck, Michael Wegner and Gabe Pasten

Now in a rebuilding mode, Pasten said the Pirates realistically could qualify some individuals for the state meet.

Two strong teams are in Port’s sectional from last season — Shorewood and Wisconsin Lutheran.

The Pirates scored 255 points and placed 10th of 21 teams at the Milwaukee River Invitational in Glendale last Thursday. Of the Division 2 schools, Port was third behind University School and Shorewood, two teams in the Pirates’ sectional.

“It was an eye-opener for us,” Pasten said.

Grisar finished 14th in 17 minutes, 52 seconds.

“Brett had a solid race. He’s a little ahead of where he was last year at this time,” Pasten said.

Gephart was 26th in 18:16, a personal best time and 1:44 faster than last year.

“He did an outstanding job,” Pasten said.

Ben Pasten was 49th in 18:49, 25 seconds faster than last year, which was a solid start to the season, his father and coach said.

Burke finished 69th in 19:30, a personal record and 1:44 faster than last year.

“He stepped up big time for the team,” Pasten said.

Deheck finished 97th in 20:36. The senior has struggled with injuries throughout high school, Pasten said, and it’s an accomplishment to be on the varsity team.

Port’s sixth runner was Wegner, who was 98th in 20:37. The junior made the jump to varsity from junior varsity this year.

The seventh runner was Gabe Pasten, a freshman who finished 103rd in 20:52. Coach Pasten said it was a solid start and he hopes he jumps up as the year goes on.

Whitefish Bay won the meet with 83 points.

Grafton finished in 11th with 279 points, led by Zander Lichosik’s 11th in 17:37. Nathan Baker was 38th in 18:37, Thomas Volkman was 74th in 19:38, Jake Neperud was 75th in 19:38 and Hunter Bartelt was 81st in 19:51.

Port’s girls team graduated its top three runners — Payton Hurley, Alexis Reichardt and Emma Meyer — and its eighth runner moved, coach Joe Adamak said.

The team tied for sixth at state last year. This season and its Nos. 4 through 7 runners return.

Back are Mira Stima, Bethany Stacey, Jill Cavanaugh, Emma Goodman and Katie Erlandson.

“The other girls are doing well keeping up with them,” Adamak said.

He hopes to add some more quality runners to that list by the end of the season.

“We just have to develop some of the younger kids,” he said.

On Saturday, the girls finished with 174 points, seventh place out of 17 teams.

Stacey was 19th in 21:19. Stimac was 24th in 21:40 and Cavanaugh was 27th in 21:56. Erlandson was 47th in 22:35, and Goodman was 57th in 23:11.

Grafton’s girls took fourth. Julia Wille was 13th in 21:07, Maddy Wille was 28th in 21:56, Anna Eifert was 30th in 21:58, Ava Pederson was 31st in 22:00 and Morgan Ruona was 37th in 22:59.

The Pirates boys and girls next run Saturday, Sept. 1, at Minooka Park in Waukesha.

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