BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Runners ruled their first OAA Red Jamboree as both the Clarkston Girls and Boys Varsity teams finished first in their races last Thursday.
“We did a pretty nice job,” said Larry Adams, coach for the boys team. “They ran well for their first real competitive 5K race. One of our team goals for the season is to win the OAA Red. We were down a varsity guy who was sick a few days ago. I rested him and wanted to make sure he was okay. They needed to step up a little bit, and the guys did a nice job of attacking the race early, hanging up front and holding their position pretty well enough that we could get scoring and win that first meet.”
“I was very happy with it,” said Kevin Breen, coach for the girls team. “We knew out of the group we probably had the deepest squad although we are battling through injuries and stuff like that as usual. We didn’t know with last year’s state champs Troy last year what they would be coming back. We knew Lake Orion would be coming back with a very strong front group with Allison Sherman and Sophie Novak plus they had some good freshmen in the 4×800 I saw last spring. Going into that we knew we had some challenges in front of us.”
The boys finished first with a total of 41 points. Troy and Oxford tied at second place with 63 points; Lake Orion, fourth, 81; Rochester Adams, fifth, 129; and Birmingham Seaholm, sixth, 162.
Senior Shawn Slater led the pack finishing in third place at the time of 16:24.3. Junior Nathan Sesti was close behind in fourth place, 16:38.9.
“Shawn and Nate did their job,” Adams said. “I will talk to them a little bit about strategy. They were up front and were sitting behind the leader, and they decided to go a little bit too soon. They got passed back again.”
Senior Mark Sprague finished in ninth place at 17:13.6 and junior Christian Collis was 11th at 17:29.
“Mark did a real nice job moving up,” Adams noted. “He has really worked hard this summer and it’s showing. He is more ahead than he was at this point last year which is nice for him because it shows hard work pays off.”
Sophomore Owen Kolean was the fifth runner to place for points for the boys as he finished in 14th place, 17:41.9.
“Owen stepped up and moved up two spots from the previous week,” Adams said. “It was nice he scored for us. The young guys are doing a nice job. The veterans are doing a good job leading them that way.”
The final four runners were senior Jeremy Cavallo in 16th place, 17:45.1; sophomore Bo Anderson, 25th, 18:13.4; senior Ryan Nicosia, 18:33.7; and junior Carson Brock, 38th, 18:34.8.
“Generally speaking, everyone for the most part is ahead than they were last year. it shows we are progressing the right way,” Adams said.
The Wolves finished in second place in the boys JV race with 43 points. Adams finished in first place with 41 points; Lake Orion, third, 52; Troy, fourth, 74; Oxford, fifth, 146; and Seaholm, sixth, 190.
Doug Olsen led the pack and the race, finishing in first place in the time of 18:33.9.
Scoring points for the Wolves were Andrew Sesti in third place, 18:52.2; Valen Kurmaniak, 12th, 19:09.7; Eric Raines, 13th, 19:11.7; and Luke Snudden, 14th, 19:12.4.
The girls finished in first place with 36 points. Lake Orion finished in second place with 57 points; Seaholm, third, 94; Oxford, fourth, 95; Troy, fifth, 108; Adams, sixth, 135.
Senior Grace Nolan led all the runners finishing in first place at 18:40.
“She was not only the front runner for our group but she won the race which was really impressive,” Breen added.
Scoring points for the girls were junior Mia Patria in sixth place, 19:48; senior Mallory Ferguson, seventh, 19:58.1; Sophomore Mattie Drennan, tenth, 20:12.5; and senior Emily Ferguson, 12th, 20:21.8.
“Mallory and Emily Ferguson are coming in pretty strong. Mallory didn’t have a great race, but she is one of the solid athletes on the team,” Breen said. “Mia was consistent as usual. Maddie Drennan probably had, besides Grace Nolan, the next most impressive of the race starting the season as strong as she did. She is making big improvements. We knew she would be up there from last year because she had a really good end of the season run.”
The final four runners were sophomore Shannon Billette in 14th place, 20:41.9; freshman Elyse Wilhelm, 15th, 20:43; sophomore Olivia Galio, 37th, 22:05.3; and senior Megan Ford, 43rd, 22:26.5.
The girls finished in third place in their JV race with 108 points. Oxford finished in first place with 25 points; Adams, second, 46; Troy, fourth, 109; Lake Orion, fifth, 122; and Seaholm, sixth, 140.
Mckenzie led Clarkston finishing in seventh place in the time of 22:40.7. The top five runners also included Ashleigh Strong in eighth place, 22:49.2; Madeline Forshey, 25th, 23:42.7; Jana Wilson, 64th, 25:34.8; and Kelsey Roth, 72nd, 25:58.6.
“The JV team really set us up for success, too,” Breen said. “When they came back to the tent after their race they had done so well they got the excitement going for the varsity team, too, knowing we could go out there on the course and run some good times.
Runners head to the Autumn Classic this Saturday at Bay Point Beach at Stony Creek Metropark.
Adams explained a combination of varsity and JV runners will be at the race.
“Brendan Favazza was out because he was sick so he will probably race to get a rac in,” Adams said. “A couple of other guys might race, too, just to keep them in the right direction.”
Breen added it allows them to concentrate more on the JV runners and making sure they are improving.
“As JV improves, varsity improves too because everyone pushed each other,” he said. “We are going to race JV and other runners who need more races.”
They head to the Jackson Invitational on Sept. 22, which is varsity only.
“It will be our first test to see where we are really at midpoint in the season,” Adams said. “They are looking forward to it.”
BY WENDI REARDON PRICE