Bay's Gomoll earns seventh in WIAA state CC boys race
Girls overachieve and take sixth as a team
Whitefish Bay - Nate Gomoll didn't get on the podium at the 100th annual WIAA State Cross Country Meet in Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday.
The Whitefish Bay senior ace missed out by a lousy 0.18 of a second to Green Bay East's Armando Torres, but the tenacious competitor entered a realm where only a handful of storied Blue Dukes runners have gone, as he took seventh out of 190 competitors in the Division 1 race and is almost certain to earn first-team all-state honors.
"Such a great day for him, such a competitor," Blue Dukes coach Mike Miller said. "One thing about Nate, every year, he's gotten better and every state meet he rises to the occasion. Here it was, the deepest field in years, and he turns in this very impressive race. The guy (from East) slips (in) for a top six (podium) spot but he turns in a personal best.
"How can you be disappointed?"
In recent years, only Steve Markson, who was 10th for the 2005 state team champions and Sal Impellitteri, who was individual runner-up in 1998, have broached the top 10 for Bay.
In fact, Gomoll's time of 15:45.06 on the 5,000-meter Ridges Golf Course was just off Impellitteri's 15:44 run on the same course.
Gomoll's effort was part of a spectacular day for the D1 boys field on the sunny and cool day in Rapids, as a total of 13 runners broke 16 minutes for the 5,000-meter distance, led by Hudson's Ryan Kromer, who won by 10 seconds in 15:27.17.
Madison West won the boys' team race with 80 points.
And Gomoll served as a good warm-up for the all-underclassmen girls squad, which far exceeded expectations in taking sixth out of 20 teams in the Division 1 girls race.
"We were very excited," Miller said. "We had four new girls out there who had never seen the course. I think the excitement of watching Nate's race and seeing the course for the first time really helped them."
The Blue Dukes scored 204 points for their spot as Arrowhead dominated the event with 41.
Freshman Hannah Lyons continued to impress, taking 13th in the 190-runner field (25th overall) in 15:07 for the 4,000-meter course, while sophomore Reilly Koch used a fast finish to take 26th (47th) in 15:32.
Team leader, junior Sara Coffey was 33rd (61st) in 15:38, while freshman Claire Hentzen was 42nd (71st) in 15:42 while junior Alana Blegen fought a season of illness to finish as Bay's fifth scoring in 90th (135th) in a season best of 16:14.
Also running were sophomore Jessica O'Neill in 103rd (149th) in 16:20 and sophomore Haleigh Morton in 106th (152nd) in 16:22.
"We had a lot of great performances, and we jumped some teams that we had lost to earlier this season (Muskego and Brookfield Central)," Miller said. "Everyone ran great. It was terrific, all these newbies adjusted so well. They were well-prepared and showed a lot of maturity."
The strong ending finished another excellent year for Bay as the Blue Dukes again defended their North Shore Conference title and won a WIAA sectional championship.
Miller said one of his very best moments at state was just watching the team's German AFS student Lina Schaefer go around the grounds. Schaefer ran at last week's sectional but due to a leg injury could not compete at state, but she seemed to be the happiest person up in Rapids.
"She was so excited," Miller said. "She was looking around, taking lots of pictures and really soaking in the atmosphere and excitement. It was so festive and she was taking it all in."
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