Port Washington girls race to sectional title

City of Seven Hills sends seven runners to state cross country meet
Ozaukee Press staff

The Port Washington High School girls’ cross country team knew it could win the Portage Division 2 sectional last Saturday, but actually taking full advantage of the opportunity was a different animal.

The Pirates did it.

Port scored 59 points, edging Kewaskum and Winneconne, which each scored 70 in the 14-team meet, and advance to Saturday’s state meet in Wisconsin Rapids.

The Pirates had four runners in the top 13, led by senior Abbey Lotz, who ran the 5,000-meter course in 20 minutes, 6 seconds, good for third of 97 runners.

Senior Braeya Thomas wasn’t far behind, taking eighth in 20:44.

“We knew that if we all just raced as ourselves we’d have a chance,” Lotz said.

Coach Joe Adamak did some quick math and figured there was a possibility that Port won, but the team didn’t know until places were announced.

“It was pretty awesome,” Lotz said.

“It was pretty cool,” Thomas said.

Freshman Payton Wysocki was 12th in 21:17, and sophomore Madison Myers was 13th in 21:20. They earned 11 and 12 points, respectively, among runners on full teams.

The pair wanted to pull through for the two fastest runners on the team.

“I was really excited because running with Abbey and Braeya the past couple of years has been really nice and fun, and I love them. So knowing that we get to go another race with them was really exciting,” Myers said.

“I was also pretty excited. I knew how big of a deal it was to our seniors,” Wysocki said.

Sophomore Reagan Jerome was 26th (25th) in 22:00.

Freshman Mia Blum was 38th (37th) in 22:39, and freshman Avery Newell was 46th (45th) in 23:10.

Port’s competitors had looked impressive in other meets compared to the Pirates, but Adamak said those were on flatter and easier courses.

“It was just a matter of us showing up,” he said of the sectional title. “We work hard. That helps.”

Local geography is also advantageous.

Port’s home course is the hilly Tendick Park in the Town of Saukville, and there’s no break when the team runs through the streets of Port. It’s known as the City of Seven Hills.

“I think living in Port helps,” Myers said.

“Every day they’re running up and down hills. They don’t have much choice there,” Adamak said. “They still don’t like it.”

The heat was another element to tackle on Saturday. Temperatures were unseasonably warm and about 20 degrees higher than the week before. Most runners prefer cooler weather — not as cold as two weeks ago, but cooler than Saturday.

The surface was another story.

“The terrain was a sandy-type soil, but everybody’s running under the same conditions,” Adamak said.

“It tires you out when you can’t get good footing. It was a narrower course with a lot of turns. It was very challenging. They performed very well under those conditions.”

The state course has hills, but the temperature is supposed to be more ideal for running — in the mid-50s.

“The goal is to be who we are. And if they are, we’re going to be just fine. We’re going to be right in the mix of things,” Adamak said. “Just go up there and give it the best effort and be happy with that.”

Lotz and Thomas went to state as freshmen and are the only ones with experience there. That will help the rest of the team.

“They’ll have the seniors to lean on, which they’ve been doing all year anyway. It’s been Abbey and Braeya  keeping them all together,” Adamak said.

The goal, Lotz said, is “just to have fun and enjoy it. We just want to race as ourselves again and see what we can do.”

Grafton girls send two to state

Grafton finished sixth with 164 points at the Portage sectional and qualified Callie Faust and Evelyn Schmit.

Faust was sixth in 20:40, and Schmit was ninth in 21:03.

“Callie and Evelyn ran strong and smart races, resulting in them being third and fifth qualifiers for state,” co-coach Celia Shaughnessy said.

Josie Gehrke was 50th (48th) in 23:27. Mia McKinnis was 52nd (50th) in 23:43, and Ava McLaughlin was 53rd (51st) in 23:45. Josstyn Durst was 58th (56th) in 24:02, and Kate Sarbacker was 65th (63rd) in 24:23.

Anwenter advances for Port boys

The Pirate boys were 10 points from second place and a team trip to state. Alex Anwenter qualified by himself, finishing seventh in 17:17.84 in the 96-runner field.

“Alex did a great job of getting out hard and putting himself in a good position in the first 200 meters. From there he was able to move up into the top 10 and then hold on to that position,” coach Mark Pasten said.

Port scored 91 points and finished third.

Gino Feciskonin was 16th in 18:09.99. Jameson Parulski was 21st in 18:31.02. Bryce Grant was 23rd in 18:35.52. Pete Lotz was 24th with a personal record of 18:37.93. Finn Ritter was 35th in 19:01.75, working with Lotz throughout the race, Pasten said. Alexis Lunas was 55th in 19:53.11.

Pasten said Feciskonin got tripped up just before the two-mile mark but bounced up without losing too many positions.

Parulski struggled with a side stitch but ran a strong final 800 meters, Pasten said.

Grant’s time was a season best.

“Bryce has battled through a leg injury most of the season, so I was pleased to see him end his season on a good note,” Pasten said.

Winneconne won the 14-team meet with 54 points. Kettle Moraine Lutheran had 81. After Port, Campbellsport had 122 and Grafton had 140.

Black Hawk Gabe Mietkowski was 12th in a personal-record 17:42.34. Tyler Swenson was 30th in 18:52.06. Vikram Bangalore was 31st in a personal-record 18:52.61. Trevor Nauta was 33rd in 19:01.9. Keegan Vaculik was 34th in 19:01.4. Luke Hanson was 38th in 19:02.97, and Luke Olson was 58th in 19:57.2.

“Gabe is one of our seniors whose goal was to make it to state. He ended up being seventh overall (of individuals not on teams advancing to state), and while he did not make it to state, he had his career PR and we couldn’t be prouder,” Shaughnessy said.



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