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Muskego boys, girls sweep Southeast Conference titles

Cross country units set for sectional

Oct. 18, 2010

Muskego — For a coach who does not worry about or rarely even talks about winning conference titles with his athletes, Muskego girls cross country coach Rich Raney and his Warriors have been on an impressive run.

Since Raney took over the program in 2005, Muskego has won five Southeast Conference championships, including this year's title when the Warriors fended off Kenosha Tremper and Franklin at the league meet at Lake Denoon Middle School on Saturday.

"Every year, there are different challenges," Raney said. "We've got excellent, excellent teams in our conference. … It feels great to have that type of consistency, but we never, ever talk about winning a conference title or a sectional title. It's not about winning conference titles. Who doesn't want to win? But that's just a piece of the great philosophy of the program, trying to improve race by race, day by day, practice by practice."

With five top-17 runs, the Warriors finished with 42 points, nine better than runner-up Kenosha Tremper and 16 better than Franklin, which featured the individual champion, freshman Allie Fons, who set a conference record in 14 minutes, 25 seconds.

Muskego senior twins Taylor and Niki Drolshagen ran third and fourth in 15:29, separated by fractions of a second. Sophomore Amy Klaus turned in a solid seventh-place run of 15:59, freshman Sonja Ponzi shaved off 25 seconds to take 11th in 16:11 and junior Abby Wichgers placed 17th in 16:20.

"Did I expect this? Yes and no," Raney said. "I keep track of every runner in the conference. I know exactly where they are, what their PRs are, what their season averages are. But the girls ran great and you have to run the races. Rankings and what you've done in the past don't matter once the gun goes off. It's who wants it more."

The Muskego boys, who also posted five top-17 times, posted their third straight conference title with a 13-point win over runner-up Tremper, 49-62.

Muskego senior Mike O'Connor was second in 16:03, trailing only Tremper's Zach Hansen's 15:54.

Also running well for the Warriors were seniors Zac Hopp (seventh; 16:40), Austin Hackney (11th; 17:04) and Nick Rudd (12th; 17:05) and junior Sebastian Miller (17th; 17:19).

Up next for the Warriors is the South Milwaukee Sectional at Grant Park at 10:30 a.m. (boys) and 11:15 a.m. (girls) Saturday. The top two teams and the top five individuals not on those teams advance to the WIAA state meet, to be held in Wisconsin Rapids on Oct. 30. The girls team qualified for state in each of the last two seasons. The boys last qualified in 2008.

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