The Wauwatosa East boys cross country team successfully defended their South Milwaukee Rocket Invitational championship with a great team performance on Saturday at Grant Park.
The Red Raiders scored 83 points to runaway with the championship, well ahead of second-place Oshkosh West (110).
"We came into the meet a little tired as the training week was intense and we were still missing our No. 4 runner as Johan Meidl has been out with a bruised foot," coach Tom Rehberger said.
Dan Gagne led the team with a strong second-place finish and broke 16 minutes (15 minutes, 52.9 seconds) for the second time.
"A great race for Dan and confirming him as one of the top runners in the state," Rehberger said "Steffen Uhrich (eighth, 16:34.7) and RJ Salmon (17th, 17:07.9) both ran well ran well and gave us the buffer we needed for the team championship."
But perhaps the key to the win was the performance of Tanner Rutkowski and Jack Mouradian.
"Of all the runners however, it was the outstanding performance of Tanner and Jack that proved to be the difference for the win," Rehberger said. "Tanner improved his PR by 1-minute and finished with a 17:18 while Jack improved is PR by 30 seconds and finished in 17:30.4.
"These were remarkable races given that neither of these runners had broken 18 minutes before Saturday. What a great time to excel and support the team.
"This will be important support for the varsity as any injury or illness was sure to be a significant risk for this team to return to the state meet but now that both Tanner and Jack are closing in on 17 minutes we have the depth needed for a state-meet run."
Jack Lockhart (45th, 17:46.3), Clayton Ristow (53rd, 18:05.6) and Meidl (18:20.6) were the rest of the lineup.
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