The plan was a basic one for the Homestead boys cross-country team at the WIAA sectional meet at Lincoln Park Golf Course in Glendale on Oct. 22.
"It was pretty simple," said senior Thomas Miller. "We knew we wanted to get out front of Milwaukee King and Germantown, so we decided to get out fast and hard and hold the lead from the start. We had come in from winning conference, and we knew there would be a lot of the same teams here, so we just needed to put pressure on people right away."
And just like last week at the North Shore Conference meet, individual runner-up Miller and meet champion Drew Bosley did just that as their one-two finish paced the Highlanders to an impressive victory in the 11-team sectional.
The victory sent Homestead back to the WIAA state meet at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids on Oct. 29 for the second year in a row. The D1 boys race will be at 1:10 p.m.
Coach Andy Bosley said the strategy was a necessary and practical one.
"It was an intense race because it was a deep field," he said. "There were four teams competing for those two state spots. We had to go out there and match the intensity of the other teams."
Sophomore Drew Bosley, whose seventh-place individual finish at state last season led the Highlanders to a ninth-place team slot, said the team itself is in a good spot as it prepares for the trip to Rapids.
"Guys like Noah (Cummisford) are really pulling it together," he said. "He and Messi (Elgin) have experience up at state. If you're not careful, you can get lost in the pack up there. It helps that we have guys going up there who know what to do."
Drew Bosley would love to earn a top-five finish against what promises to be a very deep individual field.
He and the Highlanders will be joined in Rapids by three-time girls state qualifier Allie Levin, who earned a berth back to state with her eighth-place sectional finish. The D1 girls race will get underway at 3:05 p.m.
Homestead's boys handled themselves well on the rolling hills of the two-loop 5,000-meter Lincoln Park course, which many had not seen before.
Bosley took control from the start and cruised to victory in 15:47, while Miller was second in 16:04.
Cummisford, one of the team co-captains, had a very strong race in taking 12th (16:57), while other scoring runners included Elgin in 20th (17:08) and Cooper Hunt in 30th (17:14).
"He's everything you want of a senior captain," said coach Bosley of Cummsiford.
Those efforts led the Highlanders to a 65-point effort, as North Shore rival Germantown claimed the other state team spot with 77 points.
Also running for Homestead were Jack Pfeifer in 38th (17:31) and Kai Newman in 43rd (17:36).
"I liked this course," Drew Bosley said. "It was slower than I expected because of all the hills, but it was still a nice challenge."
His dad, the coach, did too.
"We couldn't really preview it, but it was very, well marked out and set up," Andy Bosley said.
Levin in girls race
Levin earned her state berth with her 19:56 effort that led the Highlanders to a fifth-place finish with 146 points. The state berth puts a positive spin on what has been a disappointing season for the Homestead girls, who lost state-level competitor Zanelle Willemse for most of the campaign with a stress fracture. Willemse made her first appearance in quite some time at the sectional.
"This was actually a great race because I've been fighting a cold the last few weeks," said senior Levin. "It was a tough race, but I actually felt better. I think I'm getting back to where I was (at the beginning of the fall)."
Other scoring runners for the Highlanders included Thais Marques in 21st (20:37), Reilly Albert in 35th (21:02), Ava Wojnowski in 40th (21:14) and Grace Baden in 42nd (21:22). Also running were Willemse in 48th (21:34) and Kimberly Hartlieb in 53rd (22:00).
"It was definitely a hard season," Levin said, "but I'm very excited (about going back to state)."