Experience is a premium for Port cross country

PORT WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL’S cross country teams will rely on youth this season. The girls team returns (top photo, front row, from left) Mira Stimac, Clare Woods, (back row) Bethany Stacey, Anna Russell and Emma Goodman. Returning for the boys are (front row, from left) Michael Wegener, Mason Raasch, (back row) Ben Pasten and Gabe Pasten. Photos by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press staff

Coach Mark Pasten is going to see a different Port Washington High School cross country team between now and the end of the season.

The Pirates have two seniors and no juniors in their top seven runners.

“There’s going to be a lot of improvement as the year goes on,” Pasten predicted.

Port finished 10th with 307 points at the Milwaukee River Invitational last Thursday. Marquette won with 77 points.

Senior Ben Pasten, who qualified for state last year, is the Pirates’ top returning runner on paper. He took 30th at the invite in 18 minutes, 51 seconds.

“He put in some good work this summer. He’s earned that spot currently,” coach Pasten said.

Sophomore Mason Rausch, he said, could give Ben a run for his money by the end of the year. He was 53rd in 19:38.

Sophomore Gabe Pasten is much faster than last season and is managing to play soccer as well. His priority is cross country, his father said.

“We’re hopeful that he’ll keep progressing,” he said.

Gabe was 64th in 19:55, one minute faster than last season’s time.

Sophomore Nate Meeks has been a surprise after working hard during summer.

Coming off last season, Pasten said, he would have been surprised that Meeks would be in the top five this year, but he finished 78th in 20:31, more than four minutes faster than last year’s time at the invite.

Senior Michael Wegener, Port’s sixth or seventh runner last season, worked hard over summer to crack the top five. He was 82nd in 20:40.

Sophomore Austin Rinke was 90th in 21:30 and freshman Tanner Stacey was 99th in 22:08. Both are first-year runners.

Ben Pasten and Wegener are the team captains.

“A lot of leadership is going to fall on their shoulders given that we’re such a young team,” coach Pasten said.

The Pirates added a meet this season, the Bulldog Invite on Friday, Sept. 6, at McCarty Park in West Allis. That, Pasten said, is the site of this year’s sectional meet, so he wants his team to get acquainted with the course.

Pirate girls go without seniors this year

The Port girls’ team doesn’t have any seniors but it has talent at the top.

The girls finished fifth of 14 teams in the Milwaukee River Invite. Nationally ranked Muskego won with 42.

Junior Bethany Stacey, who qualified for the state meets in cross country and track and field last season, is nursing an injury and didn’t run but will be back soon, coach Joe Adamak said.

Junior Mira Stimac is back and took 18th in the invite in 21:34.

“Mira had a really good summer,” Adamak said.

Freshman Braeya Thomas was right behind her in 19th in 21:35.

“Given the conditions of the first meet (muggy, hot and windy), those first two runners ran excellent times,” Adamak said.

Sophomore Clare Woods was 40th in 23:19. Freshman Abby Lotz was 41st in 23:24. Junior Emma Goodman was 43rd in 23:34.

Freshman Emma Kasza-James was 54th in 24:11 and junior Anna Russell was 70th in 24:59.

“I think some of those other younger runners will develop with some experience,” Adamak said.

CG-Belgium gets running experience

The Cedar Grove-Belgium boys took 11th of 17 teams and girls took 13th of 14 teams in the Milwaukee River Invite.

The boys scored 316 points, led by sophomore Nathanael Bruhn’s 19:07.

Senior Ben Fleuchaus was 59th in 19:49. Junior Logan Ketterhagen was 67th in 19:59. Sophomore Alex Nett was 73rd in 20:17. Freshman Mason Hoopman was 79th in 20:35.

The girls scored 345 points. Freshman Faith Konzak took 38th in 23:10 and earned a medal for placing in the top 50.

Sophomore Lyndsay Sass was 69th in 24:54. Senior Anna Claerbaut was 72nd in 25:17. Junior Cheyenne Simonet was 82nd in 27:10. Junior Greta Beernink was 84th in 27:27.

“We always use the first meet as a low pressure competition, focusing on racing strategies and competing,” coach Brandon Langer said. “I don’t put too much stock into times, particularly this year with such a young team, as over 75% of the team has either zero or one year of high school running experience.”

Cedar Grove-Belgium was the smallest school at the meet. Most of the teams were from Division 1 and 2 schools.

The Rockets run in the Highlander Invite on Friday in Tendick Park in the Town of Saukville against many larger schools.

“If we want to improve, we need to race against good competition, and our first two meets definitely qualify,” Langer said.



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