There was no more to be given by the state-bound Grafton girls cross-country team.
The Black Hawks completely maxed out their effort in the WIAA D2 sectional meet at Lake Park Golf Course in Glendale on Oct. 22, with a couple of runners staggering to the finish line in exhaustion but getting to it just in time to earn the team a runner-up finish and an elusive and coveted trip to Wisconsin Rapids on Oct. 29 for the WIAA state meet on The Ridges Golf Course.
Coach Kevin Kriegel could not have been more impressed.
"It was a final goal for us to get back to state as a team," he said. "We'd always had good individuals, but we'd always seem to run into really good Shorewood or Wisconsin Lutheran teams. We knew we had to keep building. We aimed at taking second, and we got it."
The Black Hawks also qualified junior Gordy Thompson and sophomore Zander Lichosik to the boys D2 state race, which made Kriegel even happier.
Grafton runners will toe the line on Saturday, Oct. 29, with the boys' D2 going off at 12:35 p.m. and the girls at 2:25 p.m.
Kriegel said the team will have a good time getting ready and participating.
"It'll be something like a party up there," he smiled. "This has been a long time coming for us."
The last Grafton girls team to qualify for state was in 2001, while the boys last went in 2002 and 2003.
As noted, the Grafton girls did not spare any effort getting there, as this incredibly young group (five freshmen and two sophomores) scored 61 points for their spot in the nine full-team sectional field. That score put them ahead of contenders New Berlin West in third (71) and Shorewood (85) in fourth. Wisconsin Lutheran dominated the meet with a winning total of just 28.
Sophomore Julia Wille in third (20:32) and freshman Anna Eifert in fifth (20:43) led the way for the Black Hawks on almost perfect day. Other scoring runners included freshman Natalie Cherella in 11th (20:59), freshman Ava Pedersen in 17th (21:18) and sophomore Elise Lueck in 25th (21:55). Also running were freshmen Chloe Chontos in 28th (22:04) and Grace Gasser in 40th (23:41).
The boys weren't far off from making it a two-for-two effort for the Black Hawks, as they took a strong third in the 10-team field with 73. Lutheran dominated again (29) and will be joined in the state team race by Shorewood (52).
This team is only a little bit older than the girls' squad, featuring four sophomores, two juniors and one senior. Thompson led the way, taking second in 16:31, as Lutheran's Matt OIson edged him out with a 16:29 clocking. Lichosik joined Thompson as an individual qualifier when he earned fifth (17:01).
Other scoring runners included junior Ben Weishan in 15th (17:47), senior McKenna Wolfe in 20th (17:57) and sophomore Thomas Volkmann in 31st (18:34). Also running were sophomores Luke Wolfe in 34th (18:49) and Jake Kempka in 38th (19:01).
All in all, it was a good day, Kriegel said.
"We were excited that we had this kind of shot," he said. "Really excited for the girls."