Runners get footing in first meet

Clarkston News Sports Writer
Wolves opened the cross country season with the Milford Invite last Thursday.
“I was happy with the team performance,” said Clarkston Girls Cross Country Coach Kevin Breen. “Everyone went out there and put a good effort in. The majority of the team exceeded my expectations. I have a lot of new runners who just for them finishing the full 5K was a big step in the right direction. It shows me they want to become better and they want to challenge themselves. It was a solid first 5K performance especially on a tough course. The course is the same one we will see for the county championship, too. It’s good to see that course early on.”
He added the meet had a unique format as there wasn’t a team score and it’s also run different. The freshmen start, a minute later JV runners go and then varsity goes.
“There is a lot of passing,” Breen said. “Then, afterwards you have to do the math to see how everyone ran.”
Out of all the 145 runners at the Milford Invite, sophomore Alexandra Brigham finished in third place in the time of 20:26.82.
“Obviously she had to pass everyone to get up to where she was. She had a solid race,” said Breen.
Senior Mackenzie Montigano finished in 12th place in the time of 22:10.11.
“A big surprise was Mackenzie – she had a phenomenal performance,” Breen added. “It seemed like she got through the first mile and just started passing, passing and passing until the finish line. She was just moving up and gaining confidence with each mile of the race.”
Junior Cate Cotter finished in 14th place in the time of 22:21.72.
“Cate looks like she will be one of the top runners on the team,” Breen said. “She’s had some things to figure out. She’s definitely getting there and showing she has a lot of potential.
“We have a few kids who were just trying to get back into the groove,” he added. “Summer training is over. We are now training five to six days a week. There is a lot of adaptations they have to go through and there body has to get used to running that many days a week. With some of the kids it’s a balancing act of what’s enough and what’s too much, keeping them on the healthy side of things.”
The top ten finishes also included freshman Lily Miles in 16th place in the time of 22:55.76; junior Rebekah Wilson, 18th place, 23:04.68; sophomore Anna Reineck, 27th place, 23:34.88; sophomore Nora Miller, 32nd place, 23:39.59; sophomore Kennedy Mareches, 36th place, 23:44.90; senior Elise Wilhelm, 38th place, 23:51.43; and sophomore Claire Walker, 39th place, 23:51.51.
Breen added freshman Kendall Sieradski, who finished in the time of 24:21.92 in 47th place had a top performance.
“We learned something about her,” Breen said. “We haven’t really seen what she is capable of yet. I have only known her for a handful of weeks. I think she’s going to come out and do some pretty big things for us.”
He added the whole freshman squad did really well.
“Lily has been performing since sixth grade,” Breen said. “She’s been that crew’s best distance runner. She showed she is ready to take on a race on the varsity squad as well. She’s going to be a performer this year and she is just going to keep working herself up to be one of our top runners even by the end of the season.”
Senior Joey Taverna led the boys as he finished in sixth place in the time of 17:32.36 out of 189 runners.
The top ten runners also included junior Henry Poploskie in eighth place in the time of 17:41.87; sophomore Bryce Nowik, 15th place, 18:13.26; sophomore Andrew Floros, 29th place, 19:06.33; sophomore Matthew Boor, 37th place, 19:29.96; freshman Braden Waechter, 38th, 19:30.80; senior Hunter Bogar, 52nd place, 19:55.96; sophomore Zac Montgomery, 62nd place, 20:23.99; freshman Sam King, 64th place, 20:27.18; and freshman Jaxson Nowik, 69th place, 20:38.29.
The Wolves head to Rambling Rock XC Invitational at Willow Metropark in New Boston this Saturday.
“It’s going to be a big race,” Breen said, adding this is one of the biggest meets most of the squad has seen since there were limitations in the 2020 fall season due to the COVID pandemic. “It’s going to be an eye opener for a lot of kids. It’s also going to be a very competitive race with the best teams in the state.
“This group is ready for it,” Breen added. “These are all stepping stones to get to the final races of the season to get us to county, regionals and states to be able to see some of these teams early on and see how we stack up will be a good experience and give us some information on what we need to do as a group in order to make sure we are going to be one of those competitive teams at the end of the season making a run for a top finish.”
Clarkston competes in the first OAA Red Jamboree at Lake Orion on Tuesday.

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