TRACK: Oak Park puts on clinic to sweep Oakland County titles | North Oakland Sports

TRACK: Oak Park puts on clinic to sweep Oakland County titles

| May 23, 2015 | Comments (0)

Clarkston girls, St. Mary’s boys earn runner-up slots



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WATERFORD — Behind a mission to be one of the best track and field teams every assembled in Michigan history, Oak Park put on a clinic Friday night at the 56th Annual Oakland County Championships.

The Knights easily defended their county title, winning eight events and scoring a county-meet record 148 points. Oak Park finished 95 points ahead of its nearest competitor, runner-up Clarkston which had 53 points, in its final tune-up of the Division 1 state meet. The Knights are trying to defend their title and finish the season undefeated against Michigan schools.

Birmingham Seaholm finished third in the girls meet with 45 points, while Milford (41), Walled Lake Central (30), Walled Lake Northern (28), White Lake Lakeland (27), Farmington Harrison (27), Southfield (23) and Ortonville Brandon (20) followed suit in the team standings.

“We have a special collection of athletes,” noted Oak Park coach Brandon Jiles. “We are similar to some of those great teams of old, like (Detroit) Cass Tech and Ann Arbor Pioneer (in the 1980s and 1990s). We have so many kids that can do so many things that we can spread that we can spread them out so we can score in a lot of events. And what makes them special is that they are all coachable.

“It was a total team effort today,” added Jiles, also speaking for Oak Park head boys track coach Robert Lynch, who had to leave the meet early. “Some schools kind of backed down. But we didn’t. We used this meet to help us prepare for the state meet.”

Oak Park emerged from a pack of quality teams to win their first Oakland County boys track crown, scoring  73 points, some 16 points ahead of runner-up Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 57 points. Walled Lake Central was third (35.5), while Oxford (35), Auburn Hills Avondale (34), Waterford Kettering (31), Waterford Mott (31), Lake Orion (29), South Lyon (27) and defending champion Novi (24) rounded out the top 10 in a field where 37 schools reached the scoring column.

Oak Park’s Cameron Cooper pulled ahead from the pack to win the 800 (1:55.46), Domond Batten broke the tape in the 110 hurdles (14.64), and the unit of Bryce Pickett, Trenell Reed, Dakaryea Freeman and Cooper took the meet-ending 1,600 relay (3:23.28) crown to pace the Knights.

Blake Washington of Division 4 Southfield Christian scorched the track with a 48.95 clocking to win the 400.

“I think I had something to prove. A lot people forget about me because I come from a small school,” said Washington. “But I wanted to do well here to get ready for the state meet.”

Pontiac Notre Dame Prep’s Nathan Mylenek won in a near photo finish in the 1,600, edging Oak Park’s Cameron Cooper (4:19.11 to 4:19.15) in one of the day’s closest races.

“I gave it everything I had,” said Mylenek. “I was tired but just kept going. I knew I had to beat him.”

Avondale’s Joshuwa Holloman kept his unbeaten season in tact by winning the 100 meters (10.72) and 200 meters (21.91).

“This is a great preparation for the state meet. There’s so much competition here, a lot of (state qualifiers),” said Holloman, who will run track and play football at Cincinnati.

Birmingham Brother Rice’s foursome of Grant Perry, Chiebuka Onwuzurike, DeLano Madison and Riley Maher won the 400 relay with a 42.15 clocking.

St. Mary’s Richard Bowens won the 300 hurdles (38.14), Ross Moore, Ky’Ren Cunningham, Kahlee Hamler and Tyler Cochran the 800 relay (1:28.54), and Caron Eby, Harrison Coe, Augustine Lau and Joeseph Gallagher the 3,200 relay (7:58.04) to help the Eaglets soar to the runner-up slot.

Lakeland’s Cody Stemple won the high jump (6-7), while South Lyon’s Nick Burkhalter the pole vault (15-5) and teammate Jamaraqui Reid the long jump (21-7.75).

Oxford’s Conor Bandel captured both the shot put (59-6.5) and discus (182-8). The junior is seeded first in both events by sizable margins for the D-1 state meet.

The spotlight was on Oak Park’s girls, who left a red blazing trail en route to their second straight title.

Anna Jefferson and Tamea McKelvy took the top two slots in the 200 (24.78 and 26.26) and the Knights won all four relays to rack up points in 12 of 17 events.

Ersula Farrow (2:11.14) and Dorriann Coleman (2:13.67) captured the top two spaces in the 800, Jefferson won the 400 (55.48), Brianna Holloway broke the tape in the 300 hurdles (43.94) and finished second in the 100 hurdles.

Holloway, McKelvy, Jefferson and Kailsi Latta-Thompson joined forces to set the new county record in the 400 relay (48.10), smashing a mark that stood for 34 years. Carlita Taylor joined Holloway, Jefferson and McKelvy on the winning 800 relay (1:40.63).

Johnyce Powell, Jaya Fleming, Coleman and Taylor captured golf in the 1,600 relay (3:51.56), another county record, while Coleman, Fleming, Farrow and Lashae Bowens won the 3,200 relay (9:03.15), another county mark, to display the Knights’ incredible relay strength.

Harrison’s Maya Roberts won the 100 hurdles (14.86), while Birmingham Seaholm’s Rachel DaDamio the 1,600 (4:59.74) and Audrey Belf cruised to pole position in the 3,200 (10:19.54), as some of the state’s best shined on the biggest stage this side of the state finals.

Clarkston’s Megan Nicholson won the high jump (5-6), Ortonville Brandon’s Madison Pierce defended her county title in the pole vault (11-6) and also captured the long jump (18-3), Bloomfield Hills’ Amanda Sape had the best effort in the shot put (40-3) and Walled Lake Northern’s Riley Johnson was victorious in the discus (121-0) to round out the winners.

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