BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
The course and weather were perfect as the Lady Wolves won the Algonac Muskrat Classic taking the first place with 32 points out of 12 teams on Saturday. Rochester Adams and Berkley tied for second with 76 points each.
“It was refreshing,” said Kevin Breen, head coach for Clarkston Girls Cross Country. “It was nice because we went out there without knowing any runners. We didn’t know who was out there, and we got to set goals for ourselves. Our big goal was to work on our team running a little bit better and pack up and run with our practice partners.”
The Lady Wolves had all six runners finish in the top 20 with three in the top five spots in the varsity race.
Junior Elizabeth Dalrymple won the race finishing at 18:19 and junior Mallory Ferguson finished in second place, 18:34.
“They had another girl with them from Port Huron, and she was able to stay with them,” said Breen.” With Lizzie and Mallory working together, by the third mile had dropped the other girl. When they entered the track it was all out for the finish. The partner running helped them out quite a bit. They ran a little faster than they usually get out, but they had each other to rely on. Going into the third mile, they were looking strong. They had the two sprints they had seen at the mile mark and 2-mile mark to know they were on track to hit their personal best, and by the end of the run they had two new school records. Mallory had broken 19 minutes for the first time. They were really excited.”
Sophomore Mia Patria finished in fourth place, 19:17; freshman Shannon Billette, ninth, 19:55; senior Emily Gustafson, 16th, 20:22; and freshman Mattie Drennan, 18th, 20:27.
“The whole team did amazing,” Breen said. “Shannon is really coming on strong – she broke 20 minutes. Emily Gustafson came along really nicely and ran her best time of the season. Maddie is really starting to come into her own and realize what she is capable of and starting to believe in herself more. Seeing everyone out there running I think all of them did well. All the hard work they put in over the summer is starting to pay off as well.”
The girls finished in second place in the JV race with 37 points, close to Rochester Adams who finished first with 32 points.
Three runners dominated the top three spots as junior Grace Nolan finished first, 20:27; junior Megan Ford, second, 20:30; and senior Hailey Catania, third, 20:39.
“They took turns up front which was exciting to see,” Breen said. “Grace and Megan ran their best races ever, and Hailey had the best race of her season.”
Senior Jilllian Haas finished in 15th place at 22:07 and freshman Maya Bergman finished in 16th, 22:15 to round off the top five runners for the JV team.
The Wolves varsity runners finished the Algonac Muskrat Classic in second place with 50 points out of 15 teams.
“Our purpose of going there is it’s where our regional meet is at the end of October,” said Larry Adams, head coach for Clarkston Boys Cross Country. “We hadn’t been to course before so decided to go to it so they could see the competition. It’s a flat course so they ran some fast times they haven’t run before. They won’t run that fast again until October because we are going to run courses with a little more hill, roll to them. It will be good for us when we go back – they know the course and will be in better shape.”
Sophomore Nate Sesti led the pack with a third place finish and setting a personal record at 15:55.
“Nate broke 16 minutes, that was his career best,” said Adams. “Nate is getting into shape and he got a lot of experience last fall and last spring.”
Junior Shawn Slater finished in fifth place, 16:02; sophomore Brendan Favazza, sixth, 16:04; sophomore Christian Collis, 14th, 16:56; junior Jeremy Cavallo, 22nd, 17:30.5; junior Ryan Nicosia, 31st, 17:36; and freshman Bo Anderson, 37th, 17:49.
“The nice thing is Nate, Shawn and Brendan all ran and controlled the first part of the race,” said Adams, adding it was part of their plan. “By doing that and feeding off of each other it helped them run their best times they have ever run. All of my top seven did their career best – flat course and great conditions. We were 7-for-7 and the goal is to do the same in October.”
Grosse Pointe North won the race with 39 points and Berkley finished third with 149 points.
“They were good, very tough, very deep and a little more experienced than we were – that was the difference,” Adams said about GPN.
The boys finished second in the JV race with 64 points and Grosse Pointe South took the first spot with 42 points.
The top five runners for Clarkston were freshman Owen Kolean, fifth, 17:50; junior Thomas Seaman, ninth, 18:16; junior Eric Raines, 13th, 18:25; senior Ben Allen, 18th, 18:34′ and sophomore Carson Brock, 19th, 18:35.
The Wolves finished in second place during the first OAA Red Jamboree of the season with 58 points at Bloomer Park on September 6.
Favazza led the Clarkston Boys Varsity Cross Country runners, finishing in fourth place, Slater were close behind. Sesti finished in fifth, 16:45.1; and Slater finished in 16:50.9. Collis and Cavallo rounded off the top five runners with Collis in 18th place, 17:43; and Cavallo in 25th place, 17:57.3.
Oxford finished first with 52 points. Troy was in third with 74; Lake Orion, fourth, 78; Rochester Adams, fifth, 135; Birmingham Seaholm, sixth, 149; Rochester, seventh, 160.
“We weren’t sure how we would go into the first jamboree,” said Adams. “We finished second in a close race to Oxford. I was pretty please with it. It puts us into a good position as we go into the next two jamborees to have a shot to defend our title from last year.”
The JV runners tied first place with Lake Orion, scoring 49 points.
Allen led the runners as he finished in first place, 18:32.5. Kolean finished in second place, 18:43.6; sophomore Alex Byrd, eighth, 19:04.6; Brock, 14th, 19:14; sophomore Luke Snudden, 26th, 19:39.4; and freshman Andrew Ferguson, 27th, 19:42.6.
The Lady Wolves finished in second place with 61 points during their first league meet.
“We got to see a lot of what we are capable of and got to see everyone get out there and run,” said Breen. “We are a little banged up. We held Emily Ferguson out. It was a tester to see what we are capable of. We matched up real well with Troy who is a little bit mature team. They are one of the top teams in the state right now. Going there and matching up really well against them was exciting to see.”
Mallory Ferguson led the Clarkston Girls Varsity Cross Country runners finishing in second place, 19:10.6. Dalrymple finished in fifth place, 19:22.2; Patria, eighth, 19:44.2; Billette, 18th, 20:29.8; and Gustafson, 28th, 21:06.6.
Troy finished in first place during the meet with 42 points. Birmingham Seaholm finished in third place, 70; Lake Orion, fourth, 96; Oxford, fifth, 141; Rochester, sixth, 142; Rochester Adams, 168.
The Lady Wolves finished in third place in the JV race with 71 points.
Haas led the pack as she finished in seventh place, 22:54. Finishing the top five for Clarkston were Bergman, ninth, 23:02.1; freshman Olivia Galio, tenth, 23:07.5; junior Olivia Thomas, 15th, 23:18.3; and senior Heather Burrum, 30th, 24:08.8.
Runners head to to Stony Creek Metropark for the Autumn Classic this Saturday. The girls race at 10 a.m. and the boys follow at 10:45 a.m.
Coaches added it is a great race since there are two races and it’s not separated by varsity and JV.
“Everyone has an opportunity to win a medal,” Adams said.
Varsity runners gear up for the Jackson Invitational on Sept. 23.
“What we do now is we regroup , continue working with our training partners, and putting a solid of two weeks into our training with our varsity group to better them to get them ready for a tough Jackson invite in two weeks,” said Breen.