With all five runners in its scoring lineup earning all-conference, the Wauwatosa East boys cross-country team put forth its best-ever performance at the Greater Metro Conference Championships.
Despite being down a few runners due to injury, the Red Raiders took second place at the conference meet for the fourth straight year, taking down 19th-ranked Marquette by 11 points and finishing 15 points behind Sussex Hamilton on Oct. 15 at Washington Park in Milwaukee.
"I can’t say enough about how well the boys handled this course and the pressure of being short two runners from the squad," Wauwatosa East boys cross-country coach Mackenzie Laska said. "The goal was to win, but Hamilton has an incredibly strong team that is ranked in the state and was just too much for our slightly banged-up squad, but I couldn’t be more proud of the effort and performances today by these six boys to finish second for the fourth year in a row."
Senior Jack Sveum matched his personal record of 17:10 to take eighth place and grab first team all-conference honors.
The rest of Wauwatosa East's scoring lineup earned second team all-conference. Sophomore Henry Wellenstein took ninth in 17:11, junior Ian Tyre was 11th in 17:16, junior Jacob Odrzywolski came in 14th in 17:19 and senior Faisal Bartlett claimed 16th in 17:23. Senior Eli Werner ran to a 26th-place finish in 17:39.
"Sveum has been very consistent over the last three races and was a solid first man as he passed his teammate Wellenstein in the final sprint to the finish to earn the last spot on the first all-conference team," Laska said. "Tyre had another great race and finished just three seconds off his PR.
"Odrzywolski ran a PR by 12 seconds and finished well ahead of guys that had been beating him all season. Bartlett had one of the best last miles on the team as he moved from 25th at the two-mile mark to take 16th by the finish line in only his second race of the season due to an injury during the summer. Werner was also solid in his first race back in three weeks due to injury and was only six seconds away from his PR."
The Red Raiders were missing Jacob Collison due to a foot injury and Nate Blischke due to illness.
"Washington Park is a challenging course with rough footing and a challenging third mile that has a long gradual uphill at one of the toughest parts of the race that can make or break your race," Laska said. "We were conservative in the first mile, moved into position in the second mile and raced with heart over the last 1.1 of the course."
Wauwatosa East's next challenge will be to qualify for the WIAA state meet for the first time since 2014. The Red Raiders will run in the Milwaukee King sectional at Lincoln Park Golf Course on Oct. 22. The top two finishing teams earn berths to state, as do the top five individuals from nonqualfiying teams.