PHS girls earn sectional title, state berth


GABRIELLE MELLA of Plymouth is on her way to finishing seventh in Saturday’s sectional cross country meet. – Photo by Mary Bolich GABRIELLE MELLA of Plymouth is on her way to finishing seventh in Saturday’s sectional cross country meet. – Photo by Mary Bolich CEDAR GROVE – The Plymouth Panthers qualified for the Division 2 girls state cross country meet after winning the sectional championship here Saturday.

Senior Sophie Bolich led the way for the Panthers’ strong team effort with a first-place finish in 20 minutes, 13.03 seconds on the 3.1- mile course. Bolich will be competing in her fourth straight state meet.

The Panthers edged East Central Conference rival and runnerup Berlin, 47-52, in the final point standings. Berlin and PHS finished 1-2, respectively, a week earlier in the ECC Meet.

The first two teams and the top-five runners from the rest of the sectional competition in the girls and boys meets advance to the state run at Wisconsin Rapids Saturday.

PHS finished third in the boys meet with 98 points. The champion was Cedar Grove-Belgium with 61, followed by Omro at 65.


IAN MCCONNAHA (129) of Plymouth competes in Saturday’s sectional cross country meet. McConnaha placed a team-best 10th. – Photo by Mary Bolich IAN MCCONNAHA (129) of Plymouth competes in Saturday’s sectional cross country meet. McConnaha placed a team-best 10th. – Photo by Mary Bolich Junior Clark Otte of Sheboygan Falls won the 3.1-mile boys race in 16:44.99 and qualified for state. The Panthers were paced by senior Ian McConnah who earned 10th in 17:26.47.

Plymouth’s girls squad placed its first-five runners in the top 15 overall. Freshman Gabrielle Mella captured seventh, followed by fellow freshmen Lauren Rabe at 11th, Amanda Triebensee, 13th and Allie Gruttner who was 15th.

“We’re very excited to win the sectional. We knew it would be a battle to do so,” said Panther head coach Jay Grosshuesch.

“The girls really attacked the course today, as they got out strong and really finished the race with some guts. We are very proud of them and hope to represent PHS well in Wisconsin Rapids.

“The girls ran great. I was walking the course with them before the meet and Sophie and Olivia [Jankowski, a senior] were leading them in such positive ways and pumping them up that I knew we were going to race well,” said Grosshuesch.

“Sophie took the lead earlier and extended it as the race progressed. She looked real good. Gabi [Mella] came on strong and ran a personal record for a fantastic seventh-place finish.

“We had a very strong sectional meet for both teams. Both groups competed well and left their full effort out on the course. As coaches we are very proud of the focused and gutsy performance by our runners.

“Our boys came up short but we finished the year with a real solid meet. Ian ran real well. He came up just short as he was the first finisher who was a nonstate qualifier,” said the coach.


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