GIRLS TRACK: Lake Orion seeking top five glory | North Oakland Sports

GIRLS TRACK: Lake Orion seeking top five glory

| May 23, 2018 | Comments (0)



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LAKE ORION — Due to renovations, Lake Orion does not have a home track this season to train upon thanks to stadium renovations.

That has not deterred the Dragons, who have aspirations high in the clouds in terms of success for the school’s girls track and field program. 

Lake Orion is in the midst of its best season to date and is currently one of the best teams in the state with a well-balanced and deep squad. The Dragons, 4-0 in dual meets, have captured five invitational titles entering the championship season, including the prestigious New Balance Invitational on May 5 at Farmington.

That championship included topping the 42-school field at New Balance with 78.5 points. Lake Orion also captured

the Ortonville Brandon/Tri-County Invitational (97 points), Oxford Elmer Ball Invitational (108 points) and Waterford Mott/Brennan Relays (81 points) so far this season. 

The Dragons also racked up 167 points to win the OAA Red Division league meet by over 70 points and are heavy favorites at the upcoming MHSAA Division 1 regional meet.

Lake Orion captured league and regional crowns last season, finished second at the county meet (62 points)   and tied for 24th at the Lower Peninsula Division 1 state meet (nine points). The Dragons are even better this season. 

“We definitely should be in the top 10 (at state) and maybe top five,” beamed Lake Orion coach Dave Hutson. “It’s really possible. We have several girls that are ranked in the top 10 in the state in their events and I truly feel we’ll score in a lot of them at the state meet. As long as we are healthy and don’t have (disqualifications) at the regional, we’ll be all right.”

The Dragons hope to tangle with Ann Arbor Pioneer, Oak Park, Rockford, East Kentwood, White Lake Lakeland, Wayne Memorial, Saline, Troy, East Lansing, Midland Dow and a host of others for top honors June 2 at East Kentwood.

Previously, Lake Orion’s best state-meet finish was eighth  place (22 points) back in 2010 with some scattered other top 25 state-meet finishes over the years.

Personal-wise, junior Madison Eaton (hurdles, 100, 200, 400-relays) and junior Melissa Symons (hurdles, 200, 400, relays) are two of Orion’s top performers. Freshman Sophie Novak (400, 800), who also plays soccer, has joined juniors Josie Arnold, Allison Sherman, Olivia Ames, senior Ciara Nolan, sophomores Emily Leipold and Abby Locke and freshman Isis Meech to form a quality middle and long distance crew.

Senior Peri Kiefer, juniors Shantel Stanley and Makayla Allen, sophomores Sarah Griffin and Rendia Smith and freshman Sierra Curtis add depth in the sprints.

Senior Colleen Campbell is one of the state’s top pole vaulters and also excels in the high jump and long jump. Sophomores Heather DeSamper, Erin Kurtycz  and the aforementioned Griffin have also scored their fair share of points in the jumps.

Senior Mary Smythe, junior Cassie Moreau, sophomore Madison Stankiewicz and freshman Kiera Tierney lead the throws. 

Nolan, one of five seniors on the roster, says that the team chemistry is through the roof and that they all push each other each and every day.

“I have a running partner, Josie Arnold, who really pushes me in practice and I push her. It’s like that with the whole team — everyone really pushing each other to do better,” said Nolan. “We have a strong senior class and our junior class is really amazing. Then we have some up-and-coming freshmen and sophomores who are getting better and better. I think Lake Orion will be really good again next year, too.” 

As for the here and now, Lake Orion has clearly emerged as a threat to compete at the highest levels. The Dragons should challenge Oak Park at the upcoming Oakland County Championships before taking on the state finals field in early June. 

“If we put together the right lineup at the county, we might have a chance. The county is very hard because there are so many schools — and Oak Park is very good” said Hutson. “We’ll see what we can do. With the right lineup, we might have a chance.

“As for the state meet, I think we’re all looking forward to it,” added Hutson. “We’re going to try to qualify as many girls as possible and hope for the best.”

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