Blue Dukes boys top field at Kletzsch
Homestead's Routhier takes second; Nicolet's Greenberg fourth
Whitefish Bay cross country coach Mike Miller knows that somewhere in the ether, a jolly individual with great, round glasses, an easy manner and a hearty laugh, is smiling broadly.
He only wishes that the late Blue Dukes cross country guru Richard ("Van") Vanden Avond could have actually seen the happy results at Kletzsch Park, as the Bay boys won both the varsity and junior varsity titles.
"Yeah, I think he would have had fun today," said Miller with a hearty chuckle himself.
That's because the Blue Dukes put themselves solidly in the conversation of what is looking to be a very competitive North Shore Conference race on Oct. 16. And the Homestead boys, led by individual champion Nate Routhier, had their best overall meet finish in four years in taking second in the 14-team event.
"Even though it was a slower course, the kids came out of this race really excited," said Homestead boys coach Dan Claussen, "and we haven't been that way in a long time. Even with one of our top sophomores sick, every single person on the varsity turned in a PR (personal record)."
It was the best invitational finish in four years for Homestead.
Meanwhile, Nicolet, led by the fourth place of Joshua Greenberg, was eighth.
Bay has four top 15 finishers
Bay's boys won their event on the cool, cloudy, dry evening with 67 points as Homestead was second with 76, Cedarburg third with 125 and Nicolet eighth with 213.
Mike Camilleri led the Blue Dukes with a sixth place time of 16:59 on the woody and tight 5,000-meter Kletzsch Park layout. He got scoring help from Casey Easterday in eighth (17:04), Devon Lawler in 12th (117:26), Nate Gomoll in 15th (17:34) and Jordan Lester in 26th (17:59).
Also running for Bay were Cole Woodliff in 38th (18:18) and Bobby Rinka in 41st (18:19).
"We've made so many improvements in the last year," said Miller. "The kids have really come together and worked hard. This is an older, more mature team that ran a really smart race."
Routhier, as he is making a habit of, raced down Waukesha West's Ryan Worden for the title in 16:11. Official timing had the margin as less than a tenth of a second.
"With a couple of hundred yards to go, I didn't think there was any way (he'd win)," said Claussen. "Then he just put the hammer down."
Other scoring runners for Homestead included Mike Cronce in 16th (17:35), Kale Mason in 18th (17:41), Alex Vielmetti in 19th (17:42) and Eric Railsbeck in 22nd (17:50).
Claussen said that Cronce was the runner of the meet for the Highlanders.
Greenberg was timed in 16:54 for his spot in the race.
"He got a little separated (from the lead group)," said Knights coach Mike McKenna, "but he did a good job of running in space and holding off the trailing pack."
McKenna also praised Randy Grzybowski in 43rd (18:23), Jeff Pigg in 46th (18:31) and Mike Brennan in 52nd (18:46) for all turning in personal bests.
Meanwhile, Miller was pleased with how the whole day came off.
"Anytime you host a meet like this, there's a lot of work involved," he said, "and we had a great group of parent volunteers. … It was the best run meet we've had in quite awhile."
Providing still another reason for old coach "Van" to have been around.
IN CASE YOU DIDN't KNOW
Football coach Jim Tietjen wears many hats, including running his own landscaping company. He helped out with the cleanup of Kletzsch last year when asked by Athletic Director John Gustavson and just recently was asked again by Miller to help set up the course, which was beset by a number of fallen trees, including a 100-year old oak.
"We were getting ready for the Slinger game when Mike called and asked if I could help," said Tietjen. "Another one of my guys (in the landscaping company) was out shopping so we came by at about 6:30 (p.m.). It was a lot of work, but we got it done by about 9:30 with flashlights and a lot of mosquitoes in tow. Mike wanted to buy me a beer, but I told him I had to go back and watch film."
Tietjen got his "thank you" a week or so later when Miller publicly presented Tietjen with a gift certificate to Pandl's in front of the football team.
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