For one day each year, West Allis becomes a focal point for area cross country competitors and enthusiasts.
Both West Allis Hale and West Allis Central host major meets, with the Huskies running their Leighton Betz Invitational at Greenfield Park and the Bulldogs holding their invite at McCarty Park.
This year, that date was Friday, and as usual, the teams put on a good show.
Both meets traditionally feature strong fields, and this year, the Betz included Muskego, Hartland Arrowhead, Cedarburg and Westosha Central, while the Bulldog drew Oshkosh West, Waukesha North, Brookfield Central and Arrowhead.
The Muskego boys won the Betz with 62 points, beating Arrowhead (123) and Cedarburg (137). On the girls side, Arrowhead won with 43 points, topping Westosha Central with 83.
In the Bulldog, the Oshkosh West boys prevailed with 54 points, defeating Waukesha North's 89, and the Brookfield Central girls tallied 50 points to beat Arrowhead's 61.
There is also plenty of local interest, with both Greenfield and Whitnall joining Hale and Central.
West Allis Hale
The highest local finish was posted by the Hale boys, who were fifth with 144 points.
"Our fifth place was pretty good," head coach Ron Kurtz said. "Cedarburg beat us by 134 points (a week earlier) and this week, by only seven.
"We beat Brookfield East, which is sixth in the area, and Westosha Central, ranked eighth. We were only four points behind Menomonee Falls, another conference rival."
Dan Nelson, who missed the Huskies' first meet, returned and led them with 15th place in 17 minutes, 38 seconds. Tony Lozano was right behind him in 16th at 17:42.
Bailey Keune took 31st (18:02); Aaron Wojtysiak 40th (18:20); Alec Krause, who also missed the first meet, 42nd (18:21); Tim Ebben 48th (18:33); and Kevin Reed 56th (18:54).
"It was good to get our projected first and fifth runners back (Nelson and Krause), and they finished in those spots," Kurtz said. "They exhibited a little rust but I'm sure they will be much better this week."
The Hale girls finished seventh with 197 points. Ellie Probst came in 16th (16:47), Madison Mihaljevic 17th (16:47), April Koshen 39th (17:21), Caroline Daniels 65th (18:03), Jenna Freund 73rd (18:21), Grace Kuzik 78th (19:01) and Cassie Whittier 82nd (19:27).
West Allis Central
The Bulldogs girls placed 11th in their invitational with 314 points.
Katie Wardinski led them with 15th place (personal best 16:02).
"Her rehab from last season's nagging injuries and a solid diet of summer running have given her a great focus on racing this season," head coach Mark Klobukowski said.
Alex Jonas placed 68th (19:24), Amanda Cieslinski 72nd (personal-best 19:34), Kirsten Donnerbauer 74th (personal best 19:37), Kristen Wolter 86th (personal-best 21:06), Hannah Pfister 87th (21:51) and Cayla Ruarke 88th (21:57).
"Kirsten has made some big strides already this season, and Kristen worked extremely hard this off-season," the coach said.
Klobukowski is optimistic about this season, adding, "We look much improved over last season. Each runner made vast improvements over last season's run (in the Bulldog meet)."
The Central boys came in 12th with 290 points.
Ruslan Steininger captured 43rd (18:23), Jack Rindahl 49th (18:41), Collin Borazo 55th (18:53), Josh Ostrenga 71st (20:05), Enrico Arduini 72nd (20:08), Joey Kleist 76th (20:39) and Kevin Baier 82nd (21:07).
The boys, who were coming off a victory in the Kettle Moraine Lutheran Invitational the previous week, placed eighth in the Bulldog meet with 173 points.
Casey Sabinash claimed 15th (17:24), Andy Sabinash 18th (17:32), Quinton Kufahl 40th (18:13), Dylan Kumbera 44th (18:26) and Tom Friedbacher 56th (18:55).
On Aug. 29, the Hustlin' Hawks tallied 49 points to win the Kettle Moraine Lutheran crown, their first meet championship in over 30 seasons.
Casey and Andy Sabinash finished first and second, respectively, giving the Hawks the top two spots in the meet for perhaps the first time in school history.
Kumbera came in seventh, Kufahl 13th and Brandon Dachowski 26th.
The Greenfield girls scored 340 points for 13th place in the Bulldog meet. Megan Theune-Baillargeon came in 57th (17:51), Leslie Hoffman 63rd (18:17), Nicole Hansen 81st (19:37), Maya Schroeter 82nd (19:41), Emma Frohna 86th (19:57) and Kaitlin McClanahan 92nd (21:00).
The Falcons boys finished 10th with 240 points in the Betz Invite. Alex Richardson came in sixth (17:01), Seth Nowak 47th (18:30), Matt Paruzynski 50th (18:41), Tyler Nape 59th (19:04), Paul Howard 78th (20:00) and Jon Homontowski 81st (20:14).
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