Soggy terrain puts cross country to the test at Oakland County meet

Clarkston News Sports Writer
Runners were ready to take on the hills at Kensington Metropark for the Oakland County Cross Country Championships but the mud from all the rain created a new challenge on Saturday.
“Kensington is a tough course and yesterday was one of the tougher times I had seen it just because it has rained so much,” said Clarkston Girls Cross Country Coach Kevin Breen. “The hills are one thing. It’s something we always talk about. We try to mentally prepare to run the hills. We know everyone else has to run the hills, too. We’ve always as a team at Clarkston have been aware of the challenges and we have been ready for it. On top of it you throw on really soggy, squishy ground and then the course becomes quite a bit more challenging.”
Clarkston Boys Cross Country Coach Larry Adams added the course was also used the day before for the county open race.
Despite the wet course, the boys finished in fifth place in the varsity race with 153 points out of 37 teams.
“I thought we ran pretty well,” said Adams, adding they are just getting their full line up back and it was only the second varsity race with the full line up.
“We were pretty close in the group between second and fifh, all within ten points of each other,” he said.
Seniors Joey Taverna and Andrew Sesti medaled, as Taverna finished in tenth place in the time of 17:05.3 and Sesti finished in 16th place, 17:15.8.
The top five runners also included sophomore Bryce Nowik, 37th place, 17:55; junior Henry Poploskie, 44th place, 18:01.4; and sophomore Andrew Floros, 46th, 18:04.6.
“Bryce did a nice job, led the group,” said Adams, “Him, Henry and Andrew are pack runners. Those guys will move up even more by the end of the season. The two seniors will lead the way. As long as they stay together like that and move up we will do some good things by the end of the season.”
Lake Orion finished in first place with 75 points.
“Lake Orion is pretty tough. They are all seniors,” Adams said. “I’ve got two seniors in my top five then junior and two sophomores. Those guys are still learning to run at the varsity level. I thought they did a good job.”
Milford took second place with 143 points; Walled Lake Northern, third, 145; Detroit Catholic Central, fourth, 146; Novi, sixth, 153; Farmington, seventh, 198; Oxford, eighth, 225; Stoney Creek, ninth, 247; and Royal Oak, tenth, 305.
The boys finished the reserve race in third place with 114 points.
The top five runners for Clarkston were freshman Sam King in 14th place in the time of 19:24.4; sophomore Zac Montgomery, 19th, 19:29.5; freshman Cayden DeGrendel, 20th, 19:31. 2; freshman Braden Waechter, 27th, 19:42.1; and freshman Evan Savoie, 38th, 20:00.9.
The top five teams included Lake Orion in first place with 27 points; Detroit Catholic Central, second, 58; Stoney Creek, fourth, 139; and Walled Lake Northern, fifth, 142.
The girls finished in seventh place in the varsity race with 263 points.
“It went pretty well,” Breen said for both races. “We had some good performances across the board. Our freshman class is coming along nice and strong. There were some good takeaways we can take from it. I don’t think we have reached our potential yet. There is room for development, room for improvement.”
Sophomore Alexandra Brigham led the Wolves finishing in eighth place in the time of 19:47.5. The top five also included freshman Lily Miles in 51st place, 21:27; senior Mackenzie Montigano, 63rd, 21:44.9; junior Cate Cotter, 68th, 21:54.7; and junior Rebekah Wilson, 89th, 22:31.4.
“Alex had a solid race,” Breen said. “Lily is really showing she’s got a lot of potential. she will be a pivotal part of our future.”
Breen added sophomore Claire Walker had a solid race, finishing in the time of 22:58.6.
“She performed pretty well,” he said adding most of the runners improved from the last time they ran at Kensington at the Milford Invite, Sept. 2.
The top ten teams were Oxford in first place with 111 points; Walled Lake Northern, second, 116; South Lyon East, third, 125; Troy, fourth, 173; Rochester, fifth, 243; Stoney Creek, sixth, 244; Milford, eighth, 273; Walled Lake Western, ninth, 274; and Bloomfield Hills, tenth, 301.
The girls finished in third place in the reserves race with 51 points. The top five runners for Clarkston were sophomore Anna Reineck in second place in the time of 21:50.3; senior Crysta Gasiorowski, ninth, 22:57.1; freshman Kendall Sieradski, tenth, 22:58.5; freshman Lauren Williams, 12th, 23:07.1; and senior Elise Wilhelm, 19th, 23:25.6.
“Anna really showed she has the qualities we are looking for in a varsity runner,” Breen added. “Between now and the end of the season we will probably see more of her on the varsity team. Also in that race were Kendall and Lauren – solid races there, too.”
The top five teams were Walled Lake Northern in first place with 40 points; Oxford, second, 46; Lake Orion, fourth, 187; and Rochester Adams, fifth, 191.
The runners compete in the Oxford Invitational at Friendship Park in Lake Orion on Friday. Then, they host the third and final OAA Red Jamboree at Clintonwood Park on Thursday, Oct. 21.
“Moving forward we are going to take the positives we can from the races and try to building that mental toughness, that positive attitude,” Breen said. “Hopefully at leagues we can have a good solid race. The goal is to get to leagues and see what our team is made of.”

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