Runners split in first meet against Highlanders

Clarkston News Sports Writer
The weather was back to warm and sunny at the Clarkston Girls Cross Country team won their first dual meet of the season over Rochester Adams at Bloomer Park last Friday.
The girls won it by just two points as they finished with 27 points and the Highlanders finished with 29.
“Adams beat us last year in the league championship so I knew it was going to be a bit challenging,” said Coach Kevin Breen. “The girls did really well. I knew going into it that our chances to win were pretty good just from what I had seen in practice. They have a really talented team.”
Senior Maya Bergman led the pack, finishing in second place at the time of 20:20.60.

Maya Bergman emerges from the woods at Bloomer Park to finish in second place. Photo by Wendi Reardon Price

“Maya has had some struggle over the past three years with injury,” Breen said. “I don’t think we have had a season where you could say she had a full season’s worth of training under her belt. For Maya to come out here and taking second place by only four seconds that was a tremendous performance for her to see her after three years of struggle and in the first race she is already the No. 2 runner for the whole race. I think that’s pretty impressive.”
Freshman Alexandra Brigham finished in third place, 20:32.60.
“Alex did a nice job,” said Breen. “It really showed what kind of talent and what kind of capability she has.”
Senior Mattie Drennan finished in fifth place, 20:42.36 and freshman Ava Tereau was close behind at sixth at 20:43.95.
“I was very impressed by Ava,” said Breen. “She has impressed me in practice. You see where people belong in our practices. She was in the middle of the group, then working into the top ten, and now she just finished as our fourth runner a few seconds behind Mattie. It was pretty impressive performance by her. She also is the one in the last quarter mile of the race who won the race for us. She passed multiple Rochester Adams runners in the last 400 meters, and that’s what made the two point difference in the last couple minutes of the race. Round of applause for Ava, she did awesome.”
Junior Elise Wilhelm finished in 11th place, 21:32.04, with three other Wolves closely behind. Freshman Kennedy Mareches finished in 12th place, 21:36.39; sophomore Rebekah Wilson, 13th place, 21:48.86; and sophomore Cate Cotter, 14th place, 21:48.91.
“Our depth is incredible,” said Breen. “We have eight more girls in the 23 minutes or below for speed. It’s not the deepest team I have had but it’s pretty darn close. There’s a lot of talent on the team which is helping drive us to push to be better and faster.”
The boys lost to Rochester Adams in the dual meet, 20-37.
Junior Andrew Sesti took the top spot at first place, finishing in the time of 16:41.39.
The top five runners also included sophomore Henry Poploskie, seventh plae, 17:45.02; junior Joey Taverna, eighth, 17:47.29; senior Owen Kolean, ninth, 17:47.88; senior Bo Anderson, 18th, 19:00.12; and senior Valen Kurmaniak, 19th, 19:01.23.
The Wolves host Troy this Friday.
“Troy is going to be tough,” said Breen. “I have already scored it out. It’s going to be super tight. It really is a difference of two seconds for either a win or a loss for us. It’s going to be interesting the times that we have run. The comparison is tricky because it’s not the same courses and scenario. It will be really important we run smart and we have race plans and that we match up with their runners and we don’t give them any room to run away with us.”
The race is at Clintonwood Park, where the teams have been practicing.
“The course is awesome,” said Breen. “I do want to thank Clintonwood Park and Independence Township for doing a great job. Roger Belcher and Larry Hess have done an excellent job in helping us out. Hopefully we have scratched their back to in cleaning up different areas of the backwoods. Our goal is to have one of the best cross country courses in lower Michigan with their help.”

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