Shorewood - Funny thing about polls and chat rooms and blogs.
They can often be wrong.
Just like the Shorewood boys cross country proved on Friday, when the second-ranked Greyhounds knocked off top-ranked Wisconsin Lutheran in the WIAA sectional the Greyhounds hosted at Kern Park.
"I think a lot of people thought that Lutheran would run away with this meet and the state meet," Shorewood third runner Jacob Goldberg said, "but we knew that we could compete with them."
And now that sets up an interesting dynamic for this Saturday's WIAA State Division 2 boys cross country meet on the Ridges' Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids at 11:40 a.m. The Greyhound boys will be caught in a challenging race again with Lutheran while Freedom, with whom the Greyhounds have flipped for second or third in state polls this fall, will also play a large role.
"This is a big accomplishment (winning the sectional)," Shorewood coach Dominic Newman said, "but it was just one meet, just one day. The Lutheran coach is excellent and he knows how to get his team ready, but so do we. … Our kids are hungry and they see this as just a steppingstone."
The Greyhounds will be joined at state by the Shorewood girls, who were also impressive in claiming their sectional title at Kern.
"Yesterday the team really reached their full potential in terms of pack running," coach Sarah Kopplin said. "All season long we have not been able to close the gap between our third and fourth runners and we did a much better job of this on Friday. The times do not reflect how well our runners raced because our course is so challenging but to beat that Wisco (Lutheran) team head to head really demonstrates that we raced to our potential."
The girls state D2 race will be held on the Ridges at 1:40 p.m.
Shorewood's boys were very impressive in claiming the sectional title, putting four runners in the top 10 and scoring only 36 points as Lutheran claimed the other state team slot out of the 10-team sectional with 53 points. It's the Greyhounds 14th straight trip to state.
As usual, Charles Stahl led the way on the 5,000-meter course, taking second in 16:18. Others in the top 10 included Sam Kuhlmann in sixth (17:01), Jacob Goldberg in eighth (17:04) and Alex MacKowski in ninth (17:05). The final scoring runner was John Papke in 11th (17:13).
Also running were Thomas Treacy in 12th (17:14) and Jack Mauer 14th (17:19).
"Yeah, this was a nice race," Stahl said. "We're confident, but not satisfied. Especially after last year (when the Greyhounds took third at state). … This year, things have come around more slowly. The conference race (on Oct. 12) was a big step forward. We know we're all pretty close in ability so we can really push each other to do our best."
Which will be important come state.
"I have a feeling that it's going to be about a 10 or 15 point meet with about three or four teams separated by just a few points," Newman said. "It'll all come down to who will have a great day."
If successful, it would be the Greyhounds' eighth state title in the storied program's history.
Such grand goals are not quite in the girls forecast, but Kopplin is very pleased to have the team getting healthier and stronger as it approaches state.
The Greyhounds scored 45 points for their winning effort while Lutheran edged Grafton, 54-56, for the second state team berth in the 11-school field.
As usual, Shorewood used up-top strength to advance, as freshman Morgan Florsheim won the 4,000-meter race easily in 15:04 while teammate Abby Pech was second in 15:26.
Other scoring runners included Haley Florsheim in fifth (16:02) while Madee Ferone was 18th (16:45) and Laura Gould in 19th (16:56). Also running were Haley Holan in 21st (16:59) and Angela Sperry in 25th (17:04).
Kopplin said that Morgan Florsheim ran "with conviction from start to finish" in her wire-to-wire win.
But she also noted that the meet was not without its moments of drama.
"Abby (Pech) had a true scare seconds into the team warm-up run and rolled her ankle on a discarded water bottle on the sidewalk which sent ripples of concern through the team," she said. "She walked it off and then ran unphased by the pain in her ankle to her season's best time."
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