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A different look but similar results for the Shorewood girls cross-country team.

Talented and eloquent all-stater Morgan Florsheim has taken her considerable talents to the Ivy League's Brown University, but don't look for the deep and determined Greyhounds to slip into mediocrity any time soon.

That case became abundantly clear Aug. 25, when the Greyhounds got a one-two individual effort from senior Micaela Gayner and freshman Felcity Hade to pull away with the victory in their own eight-team season-opening Early Bird Invite at Kern Park.

"Yes, it was a nice win," said coach Sarah Kopplin.  "This meet always provides a mental and physical challenge for our team as we face the harsh August heat and the looming threat of Big Bertha (a large hill) each lap around the park.

"The team was able to demonstrate great depth with our numbers today. Even though we had many girls not racing due to conflicts and illness or injury, the team was still very impressive in our competitive debut."

The Greyhounds scored 41 points for their win over a youthful Grafton squad (63), while DeForest was third with 70.

It indeed will be a new look for Shorewood without one-time state champ Florsheim, as the defending WIAA D2 state runner-up Greyhounds will rely more on the pack running that Kopplin referred to. Shorewood also lost two other runners from that state team but does return the likes of Gayner, who was the second runner on the team, along with juniors Lily Keane, Lydia Anshus and Zoe Brockhorst.

Others looking to make names for themselves this fall include juniors Mari Kessenich, Morgan Lock and Meredith Oechler.

"As a coach, I feel that this year's team can outshine last year's team due to a greater strength in pack running," Kopplin said. "We will be able to close gaps that we were unable to close last year."

She was very pleased with the one-two punch the Greyhounds were able to put forth at the Early Bird, as Gayner earned her first career win with a time of 21:16 on the 4,000-meter course. Kopplin was particularly pleased with her effort considering Gayner was coming back from a bad injury suffered at the end of last season.

"Her strength and experience showed through as she cruised to a victory in the last 800 meters with a very strong finish," Kopplin said of Gayner.

Hade showed veteran chops in outkicking two veteran runners down the stretch to earn second in 21:21.

Other scoring runners included Keane in sixth (22:07), Kessenich in ninth (22:22) and Lock in 23rd (23:38). Other runners included Oechler in 25th (23:55) and Anshus in 28th (24:00).

Kopplin also noted that many runners in the junior varsity race dramatically improved their times from this meet last season. Layna Wang had close to a four-minute improvement.

"We also had many runners show how hard they have worked from last season to improve their fitness and mental strength in a race," Kopplin said.

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