Motivated and ready, multi-time Whitefish Bay WIAA girls state track champion Camille Davre is ready for her senior year and ready to take a run at her first state cross-country title
She prepped for the event with an impressive title in the Marshfield Columbus Invitational on Sept. 3, which led the multi-time North Shore Conference champion and WIAA state meet qualifying Blue Dukes to a strong third place finish in a field that included many strong Minnesota teams.
"Cami is probably in the best shape of her life," said veteran coach Mike Miller. 'She worked extremely hard this past summer and her fitness level is amazing. I would like to see if there is anyone in as good a shape as she is in. She's good enough to run on the boys team."
To prove that point, Miller held a co-ed intra-squad test race recently and Davre finished third overall.
Davre will lead a Bay team that will have a different look this year as, aside from a handful of runners, it lacks the serious upperclassman leadership that has been its trademark over the last two decades.
Aside from Davre, others looking to make a name for themselves on varsity off the 30-person team include freshman Maggie Keiper, senior Josie Helf, junior Julia Hall, freshman Alexa Bartschat, freshman Zoe Styler, junior Patricia Mathu, freshman Anika Horowitz and senior Ellie Hall. Miller said that Keiper has great potential.
"We have a lot of upside," he said, "and hopefully we'll get better as the season goes along. We don't have the veterans, so it'll be a different team, a different make-up to us. I do like watching the younger kids develop though."
All led by the calm, incredibly impressive leader. Davre was second in the WIAA state meet last year to the graduated Aubrey Roberts of Eau Claire Memorial, making her this season's favorite. The Blue Dukes were seventh as a team in 2015. Bay graduated four of the first seven off that squad.
They will get a serious test on Thursday, Sept. 8, when they take part in the flat and fast Arrowhead Invitational.
"We're just going try and keep her focused and smart," said Miller of Davre. "She had an outstanding year last year. Now she she just needs to go out and have some fun."
Davre won the Marshfield race by six seconds over a Minnesota Washburn sophomore. She was clocked on the 5,000-meter course in 18:34. Keiper was seventh (20:03) while Helf was 14th (21:18), Juila Hall 18th (21:41) and Bartschat 26th (22:01). Those efforts led Bay to a a 66-point total as Washburn won with 31 and DSHA was second with 52.
The Blue Duke boys will also be young and they will be led by junior returning state qualifier David Potter, who was a solid 35th in the WIAA race last season.
Miller was very impressed by the Potter-led efforts of the boys team at Columbus, as he said all the returning runners averaged at least a minute faster than they ran on the same course last season.
"We went out conservatively, but we had very even splits," said Miller. "We had very good pack running. Kids can take a right or wrong way at this point in the season, but I believe the team is in a better place. We have a good nucleus of sophomores and a good group of freshmen."
Potter was 19th to lead the way for the Blues in 17:39 while most of the remaining Bay runners were packed together, including sophomores Eli Dryer in 30th (18:10), Noal Basil in 31st (18:13), Julian McCurdy in 32nd (18:14), Nathan Ebersole in 33rd (18:15) and freshman Thomas Gonzales in 34th (18:20). Senior Joe Pencak was 39th (18:30).
Miller was happy with the effort of the 34-man team, which finished fourth overall
"They put together some very nice pack work and moved up well," he said. "I thought there were some exceptional efforts."