Port Washington's Abeba Sullivan simply enjoys the experience of running, and she had a lot of fun in a WIAA Division 1 sectional meet on Oct. 22 at Lincoln Park.
Sullivan, a senior, came in sixth with 19 minutes, 32 seconds in the sectional, earning the third individual qualifying spot for the state meet this weekend in Wisconsin Rapids.
She was actually in the middle of a group of five runners from the North Shore Conference who snared individual spots at state, including Abbey Kuborn of Cedarburg.
They will all run in the state meet Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Ridges Golf Course.
Loves to race
"Besides being very talented," Port coach Joe Adamak said, "Abeba's big asset is how much fun she has. She really likes to race."
Adamak said Sullivan is also a good teammate.
"She really appreciates every one of her teammates," he said. "She really likes her team and wants everyone to do well. She is the first on the team to finish and the last one at the finish line waiting for all the varsity and junior varsity runners to finish, so that she can cheer them on."
A couple of her teammates nearly grabbed state spots themselves. Alexis Reichardt came in 12th with 20:14, trailing the final qualifier, Nora McGuire of Nicolet, by three seconds. Brenna Kautz was 14th (20:22), missing qualifying by three spots.
The other runners were Emma Meyer in 25th (20:50), Jill Cavanaugh 29th (20:57), Clare Goodman 37th (21:06) and Katie Erlandson 44th (21:25). Cavanaugh, Goodman and Erlandson all posted season bests in the sectional.
Adamak said the Pirates are a close team.
"All of the varsity girls train hard together and work hard to improve," he said. "They are around each other all year; they go to running camps together and compete in track and field together."
The Pirates tallied 86 points for third place in the team standings, missing qualifying as a team by one spot. Whitefish Bay won the meet with 47 points, and Menomonee Falls was second with 61 points.
Adamak said Port is significantly smaller as a school with 810 students, compared to Bay with 995 and Falls 1,455. He added that his team beat fourth-place Germantown (1,408 students) and fifth-place Homestead (1,302).
The Port boys team had a bit of bad luck itself, with Miles Stimac running 10th with 16:56, just one spot out of state qualifying. He trailed Henry Wellenstein of Wauwatosa East (16:55).
Fraser Toal came in 22nd (17:08), followed by Brett Grisar 23rd (17:09), Ben Claas 25th (17:10), Isaiah Holland 34th (17:28) and Jonny Bischoff 46th (17:37).
Port finished fifth as a team with 114 points, trailing North Shore rivals Homestead (first) and Germantown (second) but beating Whitefish Bay (sixth) and Nicolet (seventh). Bay and Nicolet had beaten the Pirates in the conference meet the previous week.
"This was by far our best team performance of the year," coach Mark Pasten said, "with all six finishers running to their best times of the year."
Claas and Bischoff are the lone seniors for the Port boys team.