BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
The Wolves finished top in the state in the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 1 Cross Country State Finals at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday.
The boys team finished in third place with 189 points.
“The top finish we ran was exciting,” said Larry Adams, coach for the boys team. “They ran very well. Our goal was to be better than they were last year for that we were very pleased.”
Senior Brendan Favazza led the pack, finishing in second place at 15:06, breaking the school record by five seconds.
Senior Nathan Sesti finished in 26th place for All-State honors, at the time of 16:02. The top five runners also included senior Christian Collis in 42nd place, 16:15.4; sophomore Andrew Sesti, 63rd, 16:26.9; and sophomore Joey Taverna, 144th, 16:58.8.
“The seniors led the way with the younger guys filling in,” said Adams. “They did a nice job.”
He added the underclassmen are already talking about next season and what they have to do to get back to the state finals.
“Two of my top five are sophomores so they are already looking to take on that leadership role so we can get back there again. They are excited and fired up,” he said.
The top five teams were Brighton in first place with 138 points; Dexter, second, 155; Saline, fourth, 192; and Traverse City Central, fifth, 208.
The girls team finished in 11th place with 375 points.
“I couldn’t be happier,” said Kevin Breen, coach for the girls team. “I was pretty much blown away by their performance. The girls ran really well and all came out to compete.”
Clarkston was ranked in the mid-20s going into the race.
“I was hoping we would crack into the top 20, but to be up at 11th place is crazy,” Breen said. “It wasn’t until the girls really started becoming a team and thinking like a team they had the big improvements they were successful. I am very proud of the team effort we had on Saturday and the last two races.”
He added all of the girls had a great day.
“We do pride ourselves on running in adverse conditions – rain, snow, sleet, high winds, muddy courses – we are just a tough team. This is one of my tougher teams I have ever had as far as consistency goes they always go out there and nothing seems to bother them.”
Senior Mia Patria led the team as she finished in sixth place in the time of 18:10.1.
“Mia’s performance was just phenomenal,” said Breen. “She is just such an athlete going out there and to be sixth fastest runner in Division 1 is very impressive.”
The top five runners also included junior Mattie Drennan in 49th place, 19:15.8; sophomore Elise Wilhelm, 115th, 19:57; sophomore Mackenzie Montigano, 180th, 20:36.3; and junior Maya Bergman, 204th, 21:05.2.
“The person who stepped up the biggest for us was Maya,” said Breen, adding she had a stress fracture and didn’t start racing until the end of September. “For her to go from almost 24 minutes to work her way down, she has come so far. Without that performance I think things would have been different. She really stepped up for us.”
The top five teams at state finals were Ann Arbor Pioneer in first place with 80 points; Traverse City Central, second, 113; Saline, third, 182; Brighton, fourth, 197; and Bay City Western, fifth, 213.