CROSS COUNTRY: State powers to converge at prestigious Oakland County meet

| September 26, 2014 | Comments (0)

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MILFORD TWP — Birmingham Seaholm will look to join some elite company this Saturday morning at Kensington Metropark.

The Maples girls cross-country program will look to become only the second girls team to win four straight Oakland County Championships during the past two decades when nearly 50 programs from across talent-rich Oakland County hit the trails at picturesque Kensington Possom Hollow Course.

This course has hosted the prestigious meet since 1995, the same course which saw Clarkston win four straight title from 2001 to 2004.

“We’re going for four in a row. That hasn’t happened too many times over the years,” said Seaholm girls coach Jeff Devantier, who is in 26th season coaching cross-country. “So far this season we have run really well. We have great depth as well. We have several girls who can break 19 and a couple that can go under 18.”

Seaholm, the 2012 D-1 state champion, has so much depth that its junior varsity is also expected to run away with the meet title. The program has eight girls who can break 20 minutes and several others under the 21-minute barrier and improving rapidly. No other team in the county is close to that.

Defending individual champion Audrey Belf of Seaholm, who is undefeated this season as well as her junior campaign, is expected the run away with the title.

“I am going to go out there and try to break Megan Goethals record,” exclaimed Belf, who ran 17:02 last season at a meet in Brighton and clocked 17:58 at the county last October. The county record of 17:40 was set by eventual nation champion Megan Goethals of Rochester in 2009, while West Bloomfield’s Erin Finn clocked 17:41 in 2012.

“If we all run well, I think we have a great shot at winning (the title),” continued Belf. “This is one of our goals this season.”


Schools from the same league as Seaholm, the OAA Red Division, will be amongst the teams fighting for the runner-up trophy, including Clarkston, Rochester, Oxford, Lake Orion and Rochester Adams. Oak Park, Walled Lake Northern, Waterford Mott, Novi, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep, Bloomfield Hills and Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood will also be factors for top 10 spots in the girls team standings.

In the girls individual race, Oak Park’s Ersula Farrow, a transfer from Grosse Pointe South, is hoping to give Belf some company in her first Oakland County meet. Birmingham Detroit Country Day’s Jackie Bradenberg, Season’s Rachel DaDamio and Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes’ Tessa Fornari will also compete for spots in the top five.

Other top runners in the girls meet include Seaholm’s Julia Demko, Ashley Ladd, Patty Giradot, Mary Sanders, Rachel McCardell  and Delaney O’Brien, Rochester’s Laura Kaliszewski, Allison Skelcy, Madison Payne and Amanda Lewis, Clarkston’s Nicole Hanson, Lynsie Graham and Audrey Huhtassari, Farmington’s Maddy Trevison, Mott’s Alexis Munley and Katie Osika, Milford’s Madison Paquette and Mallory Barnett, Notre Dame Prep’s Lauren McGrath, Rochester Adams’ Jordyn Houle and Hannah Champine, Lakeland’s Marisa Saikus and Olivia Klymer, Oxford’s Heather Czarnecki and Hannah Long, Holly’s Maggie Schneider, Novi’s Hanah Lonergan, Hadley Peterson and Jacalyn Schubring, Walled Lake Northern’s Brianna Mulrooney and Sofanit Fisher, Walled Lake Central’s Jenna Hill and Haley Chinerman, Farmington Hills Mercy’s Alyssa Eads, Lake Orion’s Danielle Carr and Emily Florent, Cranbrook Kingswood’s Claire Ford, Natalie Baxter and Schirin Rangnik, WOLL’s Olivia Hansky, Madison Heights Bishop Foley’s Mary Pennington, Royal Oak’s Grace Cutler, Walled Lake Western’s Sydney Clark, Walled Lake Northern’s Darcy Kimberlin, Birmingham Groves’ Emma Lucken, Clawson’s Katlyn Pizzo, Bloomfield Hills’ Giovanna Leone and Berkley’s Aniela Crayton amongst the top tier performers.

On the boys side, Waterford Mott owns the No. 1 spot in the state’s Division 1 rankings. The Corsairs captured their first title last season, edging eventual state champion Milford.

Milford is going through a rebuilding year but could still be a factor. Holly, ranked fifth in Division 1, White Lake Lakeland, Novi, Lake Orion, Rochester Adams, Oxford, Rochester, Birmingham Seaholm, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Novi Detroit Catholic Central and Walled Lake Northern will also vie for spots in the top 10.

On the individual side, Royal Oak’s Ben Hill, a three-time all-stater in both cross-country and track, is the favorite, although he’ll have a host of challengers for spots in the medals positions, which is the top 30 finishers.

Lakeland’s Brian McComas, injured last season, will join Waterford Mott’s Ryan Robinson and Sam Albaugh, Troy’s Kunal Tangri, Holly’s Nate Frasier, Birmingham Brother Rice’s John Pennington, Lake Orion’s Andrew Lorant and Novi’s Joost Plaetlinick in the front pack.

Also expected to shine are Mott’s Kyler Bush, Luke Peterson, Blake Borowski and Simon Albugh, Holly’s Dillon Lemond, Kurtis Cooley and Zac Felix, Adams’ Matt Schram and Adam Beck, Rochester’s Kyle Repetto and Kyle Johnson, Milford’s Sean Noone and Kevin Bradster, Clarkston’s Danielle Billette and Grant Henley, Oxford’s Gabe Hogan and Logan Bruni, Lakeland’s Jackson Grzymkowski, Kyle Garboulis, Zack Werth and Trevor Learmont, Catholic Central’s Scott Smith and Bailey Hobson, Novi’s Nathan Hall, Cameron Misko and Scott McPherson, Seaholm’s Jack Haplin, Farmington Harrison’s James Weekley, Bloomfield Hills’ Cooper Bellinson and Michael Tremonti, Berkley’s Andrew Bill, Troy Athens’ Ryan Mooney, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep’s Nathan Mylenek and Brendan Fraser, St. Mary’s Joe Gallagher and Carson Eby, Walled Lake Central’s Tristan Fackleman, Rochester Stoney Creek’s Casey Neal and Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood’s Eli Tukel, among others.

The open race is at 9:15 a.m. followed by the varsity boys (10 a.m.), varsity girls (10:30 a.m.), junior varsity boys (11 a.m.), junior varsity girls (11:30 a.m.) and medals presentation (12:45 p.m.).

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