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Behind Vicker's twin wins, Bay girls edge HHS in NSC indoor track

Savitch for HHS, Bronson for Nicolet stand out

April 1, 2011

With her back feeling much better than it did in an injury-riddled last year, North Shore track fans saw the real ability of one-time Whitefish Bay distance running state champ Kenzie Vicker.

And because Vicker was able to claim both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races, the Blue Dukes were able to edge out defending champion Homestead and claim the North Shore Conference Indoor title March 31.

"I'm feeling great," she said. "I'm staging a bit of a comeback this year. I'm getting good races in now after a rough year and I've been able to build up strength. ... This is awesome. I just wanted to let the horses out of the stable and run (laughs)!"

And Bay did just that, as the Blue Dukes held off the rebuilding but hardly unarmed Highlanders squad, 103-99, for the title, as Germantown tied for fifth (53.5) and Nicolet was seventh (41.5).

Star runner out with injury

The Blue Dukes won the title despite being without top distance runner Emma-Lisa Murphy (precautionary because of a slight injury) and that impressed coach Ben Van Male even more.

"You bet I am," he said. "Everyone contributed here, and it really helped that we were able to see the real Kenzie (Vicker) tonight. She's back, she's hungry to win and that gives us confidence."

Vicker ran away from a good field in the 1,600 to win in 5:24.14 and then used an impressive kick to claim the 3,200 (11:56.14). Vicker was state champion in the 3,200 in 2009.

Her 3,200 win, which was helped by Tenley Brown's sixth-place showing (13:20.92), put Bay ahead of Homestead for good.

Vicker got help in the distances from Ally Spiroff, who on just a couple of days practice because of her participation with the state-qualifying Blue Dukes girls basketball team, was part of the victorious 3,200 relay team that included Emily Garcia, Sara Coffey and Alana Blegen (10:38.19).

Spiroff then came back and took second to Homestead's Lauren Holtz in the 800. Holtz was clocked in 2:26.9 and Spiroff in 2:28.32. Bay also got help down the stretch when Mady Vicker took third in the 200 (28.6).

Also scoring a win for the Blue Dukes was Frankie Carroll in the high jump (5-0) while Sofie Yang was third in the 55 hurdles (9.72) as was Nawoo Kim in the pole vault (8-0). The Blue Dukes four-lap relay team also took second (1:31.14).

"I was really impressed with how we finished things out in the 800, the 200, the 3,200 and the four by four (1,600) relay," said Van Male. That final relay was fifth as Homestead took third.

Highlanders lose distance depth

The Highlanders, who lost a tremendous amount of distance depth to graduation, were led by state high hurdle record-holder Marissa Savitch, who was a triple winner, including setting a new league record in the 55 hurdles (8.34) and then coming back just moments later to win the 55 dash (7.56).

She also turned in an impressive state honor roll effort in taking the long jump (17-11 1/2 ).

"I really didn't like this race (her hurdle effort) so much, but so far, it's been going well," said the Wisconsin recruit. "We've all got a lot to look forward to this season. … And we have been doing well as a team even though we lost almost half the varsity to graduation.

"They're looking to me for a little more leadership and I'm going to try and provide it."

Alex Holtz was second in the 400 (1:05.74) and a third went to the 1,600 relay team.

"This was a good message that we sent," Homestead coach John Krueger said. "We have so many new kids facing the music (on varsity) this year and I thought they all performed exceptionally well.

"I just wasn't sure if we were going to finish first or fourth this meet. We were seeded about 30 points behind Bay so to finish this close was a great springboard into the outdoor season."

Bronson wants to keep going

Nicolet got two firsts this meet, as Kim Charles won the pole vault with an effort of 9-3, but it was the effort of Gaby Bronson that was the inspiring one to coach Brian Sommers.

Bronson was just five days removed from her keynote effort on the state champion Knights girls basketball team and scarcely had any track practice, but still managed to win the shot put with a toss of 35-2 1/2 . She got help from teammate Devon Peck in third (33-4 1/4 ).

"I love track," said Bronson. "I had a great season last year so when I got to the end of basketball I didn't want to rest. I just wanted to keep going." Bronson was 10th in the state shot put competition last season.

She was also third in the high jump (4-10) while Laura Lebrun was fourth (8-0) in the pole vault.

"What a great example she (Bronson) set for the rest of the team," said Knights coach Brian Sommers, whose sprint corps took a hit in the off-season with two major injuries.

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