East not settling on second place this year
Browne sparks Spartans to GMC cross country title
The Greater Metro Conference Boys Cross Country Championship was almost too close to call on Saturday at McCarty Park. When the dust had settled, though, Brookfield East and Marquette tied for the title and West Allis Hale was only one point behind.
"This had to be the closest conference results in history," East coach Randall Bucheger said. "We ended tied for the conference title and a point better than third. Pretty crazy.
"If you look at the results you will see how very close the race really was. Our fifth runner was a single place ahead of Marquette and two in front of West Allis Hale."
This was only the second conference title in school history and the first since 1966 some 46 years ago when 35-year veteran coach Larry Klarner was at East.
"East has finished second so many times in the history of the school but we could never get over that hump," Bucheger said. "It seemed we were always looking for a strong fifth runner."
The Spartans and Marquette tied for first with 61 points, just ahead of West Allis Hale's 62-point total.
"We have been running very well the last few weeks and the strength and threshold workouts are really starting to show in our races," Bucheger said. "Surprisingly, we had only three career personal bests, but all just off their best. The way the guys looked and raced we are a week away from really dropping a bigger race on our competition."
Another surprise was when East junior Stephen Browne beat out Brookfield Central sensation Carl Hirsch for the individual title, 16:09.18 to 16:10.
"One of the biggest surprises of the day was Stephen catching Carl in the final stretch and out leaning him for the win," Bucheger said. "Stephen is a great young man; he works extremely hard like the rest of the guys and is very competitive.
"Sometimes he doesn't get the respect that he deserves, which is good because it makes him feel like he has something to prove."
Senior Brad Johnson, usually the Spartans' top runner, ran a 16:18.7 for third place, giving East two of the top three runners.
Junior Andrew Pelto was 15th running in 16:53.1, followed by senior Trent Daniels at 20th (16.59.7) and sophomore Alex McTaggart at 17:05.2 beat put the Hilltoppers' fifth runner who finished 17:07. The fifth runner's time is the tie-breaker.
The Spartans' three other runners were seniors Nathan Dillon (39th, 17:45.48) and Kyriel Hansen (17:46.39) and junior Peter Kuenzle (18:07.85).
Bucheger had plenty of praise for his squad.
"Brad Johnson had a solid performance along with Andrew Pelto," he said. "I feel Andrew is about a week or so away from getting back to where he left off before his injury.
"When Trent Daniels races, the guys are a completely different team.
"He has such presence as a leader and his personality jells well with the rest of the guys.
"Trent is a great 800-meter runner from track and it really carries over to cross country."
GMC BOYS RESULTS
At McCarty Park
1. Brookfield East (61), 2. Marquette (61), 3. West Allis Hale (62), 4. Brookfield Central (95), 5. Wauwatosa East (99), 6. Menomonee Falls (131), 7. Sussex Hamilton (198), 8. West Allis Central (229).
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