By Rich Palzewic, Correspondent
SUAMICO – The Bay Port girls cross country team will be hard-pressed to make it to team state, but they still have one of the best runners around.
Senior Savannah Huben will be looking to end her career with another state appearance in Wisconsin Rapids after finishing second at the Fox River Classic Conference meet and winning sectionals a year ago.
“We didn’t qualify as a team last year, but it was still really cool for me because a lot of my teammates came and watched me at state,” said Huben, who is a two-time state qualifier and finished 14th in Rapids last season. “I would really like to get on the medal stand this year (top ten), but I know it will be a big challenge.”
Huben is one of three stellar runners in the FRCC, with Pulaski’s Annika Linzmeier (6th place at state) and Ashwaubenon’s Sage Wagner (11th) pushing one another to be the best they can be.
“For our team, it’s a difficult thing to do, but we focus more on the end of the year,” added Huben. “Although I would like to be a conference champ, it’s not as big a deal to me because I try to peak for sectionals and state. It’s hard to keep that in mind when my competitors are beating me early in the season.
“It’s kind of weird, but as a freshman I remember looking up to all the other girls on the team, but now they’re gone. Now I have to be a leader for the younger girls on this team to look up to.”
Besides Huben, juniors Rachel Hoffman and Natalie Shulstad return, both of who had varsity meet experience a season ago. Also expect seniors Cora Klemme, Bailey Cisar and Jenna Hoffman; junior Erin Whitman and freshman Eden Witt to make an impact.
“We’ve had a great run with athletes here at Bay Port,” said head coach Mike Jameson. “Girls cross country has improved a lot in the last decade as a whole. You look for the ‘diamonds in the rough’ to see who can help your team. After the first few meets, we will know more about our lineup. There are some really talented girls in our conference.
“I’m excited for another season – it’s a great group of young athletes that I get lucky to work with. Hopefully all their hard work pays off. I never have any issues with these kids, both here and in school. It’s a great bunch.”
Lost to graduation were Maddie Re (now playing basketball at Truman State), Jadyn Gentz, Gabby Every and Natalia Draghicchio.
Jameson said Pulaski, Notre Dame, De Pere and Ashwaubenon should be the Pirates’ stiffest competition.
Notes: for a full schedule, visit foxriverclassicconference.com, click on the Bay Port link and then navigate your way to the cross country schedule… the Lady Pirates haven’t won a FRCC title since 2011, which was the last of seven consecutive championships dating back to 2005.