Whitefish Bay girls cross country team claims 14th straight North Shore title
Homestead second, Nicolet third
Sometimes it's good to be obnoxious.
Veteran Whitefish Bay girls cross country coach Mike Miller laughed when he was presented with that thought as his second-ranked in state Blue Dukes, who have owned the North Shore Conference title for the last 14 years, lapped their league brethren last Saturday several times by putting six of their runners in the top seven in the annual league test at Tendick Park in Saukville.
"We were a little quick (getting out)," said Miller, "but that's normal for the most part. The main goal this week was to just do the job and be in control. Not exert too much energy."
The Blue Dukes succeeded as they swept the first three spots, as freshman Camille Davre, senior Sara Coffey and sophomore Hannah Lyons led the way to a North Shore record total of 17 points as Homestead and Nicolet tied for a very distant second with 116 points.
"It's very comforting being able to do this," said Coffey as she put her arm jokingly on the shoulder of Davre. "We've all been working so hard and have had so many injuries along the way, but it is very nice to have this new little superstar (pointing to Davre and laughing) come along to help us out.
"We've come together nicely, everyone's improving and there's absolutely no reason to panic."
None at all.
The Blue Dukes, along with Nicolet and Homestead, return to Tendick at 11 a.m. Saturday with many of the same teams for the WIAA sectional meet. The Blue Dukes, who were a surprising sixth in the WIAA state meet last season, are an overwhelming favorite to win the meet. The top two teams and first five individuals not on those teams will advance to the state meet Nov. 2 in Wisconsin Rapids.
"Everything's feeling really good right now," Davre said.
It should as she, Coffey and Lyons were never challenged at the conference meet. It helped that one runner who could have broken up the trio, Germantown's Alyssa Goesch, was on a family vacation this past weekend.
Davre and Coffey hit the finish line virtually together, as Davre was clocked in at 15 minutes, 12 seconds on the 4,000-meter course. Coffey came in at 15:13. Lyons was third in 15:20.
"It was nice that we had a little pack like that," Lyons said. "We were all moving together well."
Three other Blue Duke runners earned first-team all-conference honors including Reilly Koch in fifth (15:49), Claire Hentzen in sixth (15:49) and Kylee Kennedy in seventh (15:50). Alana Blegen was second-team all-conference in 12th (16:18).
"I thought we worked our pace pretty well," Miller said. "We kept control."
Behind the second-place finish of Meghan Graham, the Blue Duke junior varsity took the second through eighth spots in cruising to the title. Homestead's Katie Wegmann won the individual JV crown with a 16:33 effort.
Homestead claimed the tiebreaker for second in the varsity race by virtue of a better sixth runner.
Anna Keller was 15th (16:31) earning second-team all-conference honors in the process, while Grace Karegeannes was third-team in 23rd (16:43). Other scoring runners including Allie Levin in 25th (16:53), Abby Claussen 26th (16:55) and Elizabeth Balistreri 27th (17:04).
Also running were Larissa Clopton in 30th (17:09) and Katie Gebhardt 40th (17:31).
Though he was happy with the second, Highlanders coach Victor Vilar would have liked a little more out of his girls.
"We had two all-conference runners," he said, "but we would have liked to have had five or six and we weren't all that far away from doing that. Still, the girls gutted it out and used what they had. Keller was not feeling very well and she really toughed it out for us. Her goal was second-team all-conference and she got it.
"Right now, our goal is (the) sectional."
Nicolet coach Mike McKenna, whose team has been coming on in recent weeks, was also a little disappointed in the effort.
The Knights were led by second-team all-conference runners Nora McGuire in 11th (16:12) and Katie Novak's 14th place (16:26). Rylee Callahan was third-team in 21st (16:41), while other scoring runners included Elizabeth Mowers in 34th (17:21) and Michelle Pigg 36th (17:23).
Also running were Madeline Maurer in 39th (17:31) and Hilary Miller in 43rd (17:56). The Knights ran one junior. The remaining runners were all freshmen and sophomores.
"We had our fourth and fifth runners get passed right at the (finish) line," McKenna said. "We just needed one or two people to be a little better (to get second). This was not one of our best days and still we were right there (for second)."
McKenna said the team may have had the edge taken off it because of the bomb threat at Nicolet last week that cost everyone a day of school.
"It was traumatic for everybody," he said. "But this might be a good lesson for a team so young."
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