The Wauwatosa East boys cross country team had its team banquet Monday and handed out its 2012 season-ending awards.
Steffen Uhrich was named the Most Valuable Runner and the Most Improved Award was shared by Tanner Rutkowski and Jack Mouradian.
The Red Raiders, fueled by having qualified for state in 2011 and nine returning letter winners, were ranked in the top 10 in the state rankings.
But this year's team was challenged from as early as the week before the season started due to injuries to several key runners that altered the outlook for the team.
Jonah Meidl was set to return but was sidelined with a season-ending foot injury and Dan Gagne went down with a stress fracture and Clayton Ristow's Achilles flared up.
"To the credit of the experienced upper class runners and an emerging, competitive core of younger runners, the team rebounded and competed well in most of the remaining meets," Tosa East coach Tom Rehberger said.
Some of the team highlights included the varsity and JV winning the South Milwaukee Rocket Invitational; a third-place finish at the Cudahy Purgold Invitational and a fifth-place finish in the highly competitive WISCO Viking Invitational.
The JV team competed well this year and placed in the top three in all but one race and earned an overall winning percentage of .921.
Several significant milestones were achieved including running for 28 PRs in a single race at the WISCO Viking Invitational and having eight underclass runners break 18 minutes, two of which broke 17 minutes.
Individual achievements included placing Gagne (school record 15:44- 2nd), RJ Salmon (16:23- tied for 21st) and Uhrich (16:27-tied for 24th) on the all-time PR list.
Three freshmen also ran their way onto the Freshman All-Time PR list.
Sam Potter ran a 17:09 setting a new freshman record, while Sam Stelloh ran a 18:41 placing him 31st and Tony Busalacchi ran a 18:43, placing him 35th on the All-Time list.
"The emergence of the younger runners gives us a strong core of eight returning runners under 18 minutes, three of which are under 17 minutes," Rehberger said. "We thought 2013 would be a rebuilding season given the loss of many key senior runners but the outlook has changed considerably and we look forward to being highly competitive."
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