A marriage made in sweat and effort: Saber boys and girls both claim CC crowns
Fyock leads boys, Schindel the girls
They married on a summer's day right on the cusp of the start of the cross country season.
And exactly two months later on Saturday, Oct. 13, Franklin girls coach Regina Schindel and boys coach Tyler Fyock celebrated their two-month anniversary in grand style as first one, then the other led their respective teams to Southeast Conference championships at Grant Park.
And in sweet, newlywed fashion, each tried to give the other the credit as the girls successfully defended their crown and the boys won their first league title since 1999.
"Tyler and I were very excited to have both our teams win, it was a nice 2-month anniversary present," said Schindel. "We joked that the boys had less points so he won against me. We are competitive with each other a bit, so it was funny to have our teams both win, he pointed out he thought his boys won in a more commanding fashion and I disagree (laughs)."
"It was fantastic that both the girls and boys teams were able to capture the team titles," said Fyock. "I don't think either of us wanted to go home with one coach happy and the other disappointed. Going into the meet we both felt strongly that if we had a good day it was possible we could take home the title and all the credit goes to the kids for having their best performances of the year."
"…(She) has given me a great blue print for hard work and how to grow a team by getting kids to buy into cross country as a sport and a lifestyle. It's been a lot of fun having success together.
The pair will now try to lead their charges onto bigger and better things, as they will take part in the WIAA sectional meet back at Grant Park on Saturday. The boys race is at 10:45 a.m. and the girls are at 11:30 a.m.
The top two teams and first five individuals not on those teams will advance to the WIAA State Meet in Wisconsin Rapids on Oct. 27. Schindel, with the now injured two-time state individual champion Alex Fons leading the way, advanced to state as a team last season, while Fyock was able to have team leader Nikolai Grabowski earn an individual slot on the starting line.
Husband and wife both see what happened at conference as a stepping stone to better things. Schindel has been slowly building behind Fons and others for a few years ago and she's ecstatic that her husband has now been able to achieve something great.
"I know Tyler is working really hard to increase the numbers and too make cross country a dominate men's sport at Franklin and this will be a huge stepping stone," she said. "It would be nice to see kids choosing this sport because they are good at running instead of 'sitting on the bench' (in another sport). A varsity letter in cross country is extremely prestigious…."
Her husband is delighted to have someone close by to show the way.
"…(She) has given me a great blue print for hard work and how to grow a team by getting kids to buy into cross country as a sport and a lifestyle," he said. "It's been a lot of fun having success together."
Schindel's efforts are even more gratifying because of the loss of Fons. Her girls put three runners in the top 10 at the Southeast meet and coasted into the finish line with 52 points as Oak Creek was second with 71.
Freshman Jensen Ritzow continues to turn in spectacular efforts, as she is now third on the all-time aschool list and only six seconds behind Fons, as she took second on the 4,000-meter Grant layout with a 14:49 effort.
She got help from junior Katherine Carlino in seventh (15:38) and sophomore Melanie Hansen in 10th (16:13). Also scoring for the Sabers were senior Katelyn Salzburger in 13th (16:24) and junior Monica Sweet in 20th (16:39).
Also competing for Franklin were freshman Brenda Sweet in 24th (16:50) and junior Madeline Gierach in 26th (17:02).
Ritzow is now the sixth-fastest freshman in the state, said Schindel. She and Carlino (personal best time) both earned first-team all-league honors, while Hansen (a minute faster than last year) and Salzburger (season best), both earned second-team accolades.
"It was a great day, being back to back conference champions is such a testament to how hard these girls have worked all year," said Schindel. "…It was (also) the icing on the cake to have the JV girls win and record a perfect score no less (the first five spots and then seven and eight)."
Senior Emma Klein won the junior varsity race.
Grabowski led the way for the boys' surprising title, as he took second on the 5,000-meter course in 16:42 while fellow senior Evan Watters also earned first team all-conference honors in fifth (16:56).
Other scoring runners included sophomores Sam Harmeyer in 11th (17:20) and Zach Lee in 14th (17:23). Both were second-team all-conference. The final scoring runner was freshman Max Fassbender in 19th (17:52).
Junior Ben Alt was 26th (18:09) and senior Joseph Jensen was 52nd (19:09).
Fyock was impressed with the effort as Franklin scored 51 points, wel;l ahead of Kenosha Tremper (70) in second.
"When you haven't won conference in 12 years, every year that you think you have a chance builds more pressure," he said. "I was very impressed with how the guys handled that pressure. JV to Varsity, every single day, each and every guy on this team has done everything they have been asked. Their hard work is what made this happen and I'm so proud of all these guys."
He praised almost every runner and especially cited Grabowski and Watters for their leadership roles.
And then caught up in his happiness and remembering his lovely bride, he added the following, if obvious statement:
"A great day for Franklin cross country!"
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