Runners hang together for win at OAA meet

BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Clarkston runners continue to dominate the league as they finished in first place in the second OAA Red Jamboree at Lake Orion, Sept. 25.
The Clarkston Girls Cross Country varsity runners finished in first place with 29 points and the boys won their race with 42 points.
“It was good,” said Kevin Breen, coach for the girls team. “We had some surprises when we got there. We pulled two of our top runners out of the top group there, but the race played out in our favor.”
“We ran very well for our first time all together,” added Larry Adams, boys coach.
Grace Nolan led the girls, finishing in first place at 19:07.4.
“Grace had a great race,” said Breen. “Her directive was just to go out there and just do her thing. For the rest of them the goal was to group up – which a beautiful moment coming out of the mile mark all the girls popped out of the woods and they were all together. They held their positions, held their spots. They all came through the finish line relatively close.”

Grace Nolan, left, closes in on Lake Orion’s Sophie Novak at the OAA Jamboree No. 2. Nolan finished the race in first place at 19:07.4, 20 seconds ahead of Novak. Photo by Wendi Reardon Price

Elizabeth Dalrymple finished in fifth place at 20:19.2; Mattie Drennan, sixth, 20:22.5; Emily Ferguson, eighth, 20:35.7; Elyse Wilhelm, ninth, 20:49.9; Shannon Billette, 26th, 21:55.1; and Ashleigh Strong, 35th, 22:24.6.
Lake Orion finished in second place with 44 points; Troy, third, 67; Oxford, fourth, 84; Birmingham Seaholm, fifth, 125; and Rochester Adams, sixth, 135.
Nathan Sesti led the boys as he finished in third place at 16:35.1. The top seven runners for the Wolves also included Brendan Favazza, fourth, 16:41.3; Shawn Slater, 16:44.8; Mark Sprague, 14th, 17:55.1; Christian Collis, 16th, 18:02.1; Jeremy Cavallo, 22nd, 18:17.4; and Carson Brock, 27th, 18:26.5.
Troy and Oxford tied for second place, both with 76 points; Lake Orion, fourth, 91; Seaholm, fifth, 99; and Rochester Adams, sixth, 131.
“Brendan was in the race for the first time with the rest of the guys,” said Adams. “They challenge themselves. We really tried to team race a little bit on Tuesday. Our goal was pack it up in a couple of different packs. My second pack did a little better job, but that’s because the front pack guys from other schools push our front pack guys to do a better job. They ran controlled and relaxed and they all ran tighter.”
The final league race is at Clintonwood Park, Oct. 18.
Both teams finished in first place at the Waterford Mott Fall Classic on Friday, both scoring 28 points.
The top five runners for the boys varsity race were Favazza, first, 15:44.4; Sesti, fourth, 16:33.3; Slater, fifth, 16:36.2; Sprague, seventh, 16:58.2; and Collis, 12th, 17:11.7.
The top five runners for the girls varsity race were Mia Patria, third, 19:22.5; Dalrymple, fourth, 19:40.2; Mallory Ferguson, sixth, 19:56.4; Drenna, eighth, 20:01.5; Nolan, tenth, 20:09.8; and Emily Ferguson, 11th, 20:14.8.
The Wolves prepare for the Oakland County Meet this Saturday at Kensington Metropark in Milford.
“Both of our goals is to win the county meet,” Adams said, adding the boys won it in 1999. “They are getting there and we are pretty healthy for the most part.”
“Hopefully if everyone remains healthy we can make a run for it this year,” Breen said, adding the girls hadn’t won it since the early 2000s but have finished as runner-up.
“I told the boys be proud,” Adams said. “Our two programs combined are the best combined programs in the state where you rank right now. On and off the field you have to represent.”