Menomonee Falls opens cross county season on good note with Rotary Park meet
Shannon takes over both programs
It was that rare day for the Menomonee Falls Coaches Classic season-opening cross country meet on Aug. 28 at Rotary Park.
Not too hot and not too cool, with a little cloud cover to make it really comfortable, and the Falls' boys and girls' squads took advantage as they look to make names for themselves this fall.
"It was a great day," said Falls program coach Tom Shannon. "A very nice first meet, and the weather really cooperated, which was a huge help."
Shannon, who is in his fourth year of coaching the boys' program, has been appointed to take control of both teams this fall.
On the boys side, he inherits a veteran team that was fourth in a very deep Greater Metro Conference won by Marquette. The Indians also finished in the top four of every meet they entered last season except one.
WIAA sectional veterans include seniors Jake McMahon, Josh Hindman, Dom Carini and Brandon Schinker, all of whom had successful track seasons for the powerhouse Indian squad last spring. Also returning is junior Jayce Kolinski.
Others expected to help are senior Cooper Dozzi; juniors Kevin Larkin and Owen Stegner; sophomore Tyler Smalley; and freshmen Tom Goihl and Devin Hoferitza.
Overall, the Indians have about 36 runners out, including 12 or 13 freshmen.
"It's one of the deepest (freshmen) classes we've had in awhile," Shannon said.
In the developmental Coaches' Classic, the Indians did well in the junior-senior race, as McMahon was sixth on the 5,000-meter course in 17 minutes, 4 seconds. Shannon said McMahon wasn't feeling well but still competed hard.
Schinker followed closely in 10th (17:39) while Carini was 12th (17:58), Kolinski was 14th (18:02) and Hindman 24th (18:14). There were 134 runners in the race.
In the freshmen-sophomore event, Smalley competed well, taking seventh of 123 with a clocking of 18:31, while Goihl was 16th (18:57) and Hoferitza 18th (19:04). Goihl and Hoferitza were the first two freshmen in the race.
"We're going to have a lot of interchangeable parts this year, more depth," said Shannon. 'We're hoping to get the program back to where it was (in the past)."
For the girls program, the long rebuilding process continues. Shannon is working with 22 athletes including veterans junior Tessa Estock and senior Juliette Schefelker. A freshman of note is Ashton Longazel.
"They're working hard, but we all know that we have a lot more to do (to get competitive)," said Shannon.
This will be the first year the girls will run 5,000 meters — the same distance as the boys. The distance will be contested in WIAA meets and in some invitationals, while other invitationals will choose to stay at the traditional 4,000-meter length.
The Falls meet was one of those latter events.
"But we will be training for the 5,000-meter distance," Shannon said.
Estock was 17th of 101 in the junior-senior race with a 16:55 clocking, while Schefelker was 29th in the same race (17:46). In the frosh-soph event, Longazel was 24th (17:52).
Falls will be at the Homestead Invitational on Friday, Sept. 5 at Tendick Park in Saukville.
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