State champ Fons returns to lead Franklin CC team, as Sabers win own invite
Had been out several months
Franklin - Two-time state champion Alexandria Fons was back in the fold and all was right again in the world for the Franklin girls cross country team as she led the Sabers to a victory in their own invitational last Friday.
"It was a great day," said Sabers' girls coach Regina Schindel. "…Last week's varsity race didn't go as well as the team expected, so they were very determined this week. We had two really good workout days, and with Allie joining in on the workouts, the others push a little more. Her tenacity and determination rubs off on the team."
Fons, who has been out with a leg injury since late in last spring's track season, finished a cautious and smart fourth as the girls ran a rarely contested 5,000-meter distance.
"Allie's first race back was solid and probably ranks top 15 in the state which is amazing considering how few weeks of running she has compared to most of the competition (who had all track and all summer as a base)," said Schindel. "Her spirit is really high right now. She has no pain right now which is goal No. 1."
Franklin scored 65 points for its victory in the 11-team field as Beaver Dam was a distant second with 95 and Verona third with 97. The Saber boys were an encouraging fourth.
Fons was clocked in 19 minutes, 49 seconds for the hilly 5,000-meter high school based layout, as Oconomowoc's Marlee Houston won in 19:25.
Fons got support from Jensen Ritzow in sixth (20:13), Katherine Carlino in 11th (20:35), Katelyn Salzburger in 19th (21:01) and Melanie Hansen in 25th (21:12). Also running were Abby Schreiter in 47th (22;29) and Jennifer Eickhorst in 54th (22:44).
Schindel said that not everyone in the field was happy to run a 5,000-meter race, as opposed to the normal 4,000-meter, but said that her girls were excited to try it out as they frequently run the distance during the summer.
"Jensen, Katie and Katelyn all had great races which sealed the win for us," said Schindel. "We were third at the mile but the girls all moved up. They knew who the competition was and raced to beat them. Jensen (Ritzow) is really progressing nicely. She is a front runner and her competitive spirit is hard to rival."
Hansen, Carlino, and Salzburger all turned in personal bests for 5,000-meters too, and Salzburger was very impressive, passing 12 runners in the last two miles.
"We also got Monica Sweet back from an injury and she was our third or fourth runner last season," said Schindel. "…We are very deep this year, the top five are close to each other and then we have seven girls fighting for the last two varsity spots.
"This is the best dynamic to have because then the girls get a little more practice being competitive at practice and take workouts more seriously."
For the boys, coach Tyler Fyock saw his team turn in its best race of the year with a 118-point effort in the 13-school field as Westosha Central edged Oconomowoc, 46-47, for the title.
"Encouraging indeed," said Fyock. "I have been waiting a couple weeks now for us to be near full strength and it finally started to come together Friday. I was pleased how the boys worked together within their groups."
Evan Watters led the team on the 5,000-meter layout with a 5,000-meter clocking of 17:28, while Zach Lee in 12th (17:31) and Nikolai Grabowski in 15th (17:46) were close behind.
Other scoring runners included Sam Harmeyer in 23rd (17:58) and Ben Alt in 57th (19:07). Also running were Matthew Piotter in 61st (19:14) and Joseph Jensen in 62nd (19:16).
"Right now I have four guys, (Watters, Lee, Grabowski and Harmeyer) leading the team and they are running great as a lead pack," said Fyock. "Trying to close the gap and bring that valuable fifth scoring runner closer to those top four is another large group that have been doing a great job working together at meets and at practice (Piotter, Jensen, Alt, Henry Klein and freshman Max Fassbender).
"I was very pleased with the team work as both groups used the knowledge of our course to perfection moving up beautifully after the first mile. The Franklin 5k course is extremely challenging. …Confidence is running sky high right now and team and individual confidence is a team's most powerful weapon come race day. Most importantly, you get the sense that the kids are really starting to believe."
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