BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
The Wolves return to Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn after qualifying for the cross country state finals.
The Clarkston Boys Cross Country team finished as champions with 52 points in the MHSAA Division 1, Region 7 race at Springfield Oaks on Saturday.
“They did a real nice job of running a controlled race, but aggressive when they needed to be,” said Coach Larry Adams. “We probably had one of our better races of the year continuing to close that gap between runners two and five.”
Brendan Favazza finished in first place in the time of 15:26.9. The top five runners also included Nathan Sesti in seventh place, 16:13.9; Andrew Sesti, eighth, 16:14.7; Christian Collis, 14th, 16:32.6; and Joey Taverna, 22nd, 16:53.4.
Adams added Taverna, Collis and Andrew ran their best times of the year on a tough course.
“It gives me a positive hope going into this week,” he continued. “There are a lot of fast times out there but you aren’t going to run crazy, fast times at Springfield Oaks. Hopefully we are peaking at the right time. They did a real nice job of executing their race plan.”
Hartland finished in second place, 84; and Walled Lake Central in third place, 101, to join Clarkston at the finals.
“There are 6-7 teams that could be in the top two,” Adams said going into the finals. “Brighton has a little bit of an edge on everyone just on their numbers of what they have been running all year. We and everybody else match up with each other very well. It’s who has a good day and who can handle the weather.”
The Clarkston girls team finished in second place with 113 points as Bloomfield Hills finished in first, 76, and Milford took third, 118.
“They did a real nice job for the numbers of new kids we had running varsity this year,” Adams said. “They really did a nice job of not being overwhelmed by the competition and racing hard. They really did a nice job of attacking the race and the field, and moving up and picking up places. At the mile mark, we definitely weren’t in the top three teams. We moved up through the last two miles into that second spot. These young kids definitely learned some valuable racing lessons on Saturday.”
Mia Patria led the race as she finished in first place in the time of 18:40.9. The top five runners also included Mattie Drennan in fifth place, 19:34.4; Elise Wilhelm, 27th, 20:36; Cate Cotter, 39th, 21:01.5; and Mackenzie Montigano, 45th, 21:06.6.
“Mia ran a very good race to win as well as Brendan,” said Adams. “They ran the races we talked about the day before, which is nice. They listened to the advice and followed the race plan. Yes, we wanted them to be able to win, but we wanted them to have something left for this week. They both followed the plan to the ‘T.’ It couldn’t have worked out any better.”
The girls run at 2:10 p.m. on Saturday and the boys run at 3:30 p.m. in the Division 1 races. Awards and presentations are at 4 p.m. Admission is $8 at Michigan International Speedway.