Whitefish Bay - Putting on display all its usual traditions and trends, the youthful Whitefish Bay girls cross country team cruised to the WIAA sectional championship at Washington Park in Milwaukee on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Bay boys team leader Nate Gomoll tries to earn all-state status as the WIAA celebrates its 100th annual state cross country meet at the Tidges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday.
"It was exciting to see all the blue (of the Bay uniforms) up front," Bay coach Mike Miller said. "It's just a great sight. I love it when they pack run like that. They showed great effort.
"… It's just too bad though. The kids always want to run a fast time at the end of the season and that course (Washington) is just always slow. I'm not sure what to tell them. It's a challenging course and the footing is a bit rough. My guys were about 30 seconds off their best times."
Deep boys field
Gomoll, who was 19th at state last season, runs at 12:20 p.m. in the boys Division 1 race. Miller said that Gomoll could run an absolutely fantastic race and still finish out of the top 10.
"This is just going to be one of the deepest and fastest individual races at the state meet that we have seen in a long, long time," Miller said. "If the conditions are right, you could get at least 10 or 12 guys under 16 minutes (for 5,000-meters). … I'm confident that Nate will have a good day."
For the girls, who will run at 2:20 p.m., Miller is hoping for a top 10 finish (20 schools will run) for his no-senior squad. Alana Blegen, who ran at state last year, will likely take the place of AFS student Lina Schaefer, who has run well this fall, but who is also battling a leg problem.
The Blue Dukes will likely not skip a beat because of that, as they scored just 24 points for their title in the nine full-team sectional as DSHA claimed the second state team berth with 64.
Hannah Lyons continues to impress, taking second on the 4,000-meter layout in 15:48.
She had a lot of company closely following her, as Reilly Koch, who had missed the conference race with an injury, was fourth (15:59), Sara Coffey fifth (16:01), Haleigh Morton sixth (16:01) and Claire Hentzen seventh (16:12).
Also running were Jessica O'Neill in 19th (16:51) and Schaefer was 25th (17:12).
Miller was impressed with all the efforts.
"We went out a slightly faster pace," Miller said. "The kids felt comfortable running with their teammates and they had a very good finish. This was a nice step up."
Coffey provides leadership
Lyons was praised for her efforts in staying close to race winner Natalie Schudrowitz of Wauwatosa East (15:40) and again praised Coffey for her leadership.
"She's a very calming influence," Miller said of Coffey.
For the boys, Gomoll ran a comfortable race, taking second to Wauwatosa West's Patrick Campbell, as Campbell turned in a time of 15:59 on the 5,000-meter layout and Gomoll 16:20.
"It was a decision made about the two-mile mark," Miller said. "If we were in the team hunt, then we would have let Nate try to chase down Campbell, but we saw then that Marquette and Hale were pretty much in control so we backed him off."
Bay was a distant third in the 12-team boys field with 90 as Marquette (53) and West Allis Hale (57) earned the state team berths.
Other scoring runners for Bay included Andrew Searles in 16th (17:45), Nick Hotz in 21st (18:01), Carson Schier in 24th (18:11) and Alex Hotz in 27th (18:15). Also running were Eddie Pencak in 31st (18:28) and George Papajohn in 36th (18:32).
Miller thought the boys ran a solid team race.
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