TRACK AND FIELD: Adams, Lake Orion emerge victorious at OAA Red-White Championships

| May 16, 2021 | Comments (0)



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ROCHESTER HILLS — It can’t be a surprise that Lake Orion captured another OAA league meet title Friday night? Can it?

Perhaps it was a surprise to everyone except the Lake Orion boys tracked field coaching staff.

For the ninth straight time — excluding last year’s cancelled 2020 season — Lake Orion won a league meet, dual meet league title or overall league championship by wracking up 125 points to take down favored host Rochester Adams, which amassed 112 points, at the OAA Red-White League Meet.

Rochester Stoney Creek was third (105, while Bloomfield Hills (68), Clarkston (54), Oxford (38), Troy Athens (36), Auburn Hills Avondale (33), Troy (31) and Rochester (22).

Adams defeated Lake Orion in a season-opening dual meet in early April. The Dragons have come a long ways.

“I think Adams is better built for a regional or county (meet), and they have those studs that will score at the state meet,” said Lake Orion. “When we lost to them in our first dual meet, I knew we still had a good team. We’re coming into our own and today was our day. We’re built for a meet like this with 10 teams. I went through the seeds and at the end we were ahead by four points. So we just had to maintain, maintain, maintain, and we ended up winning. We had some kids that set PRs and others that really stepped up. We got some points that we weren’t necessarily expecting.”

Meanwhile, the undefeated Adams girls compiled 125.5 points to win convincingly. With a 4-0 dual meet record and an OAA-Red title in hand, the Highlanders captured their fifth invitational-style meet of the season.

Bloomfield Hills was second at 109 points, followed by Oxford (80.5), Lake Orion (76), Troy (53.5), Rochester (51), Clarkston (49.5), Troy Athens (24) and Rochester Stoney Creek (16).

“We have a lot of girls that can score at big meets,” said Adams coach Eric Lohr. “We have some experience from two years ago and some nice sophomores and freshmen that have filled in. We haven’t lost yet and we’ve won a bunch of invitationals. We knew that in recent years that Clarkston and Lake Orion would be the biggest challengers (for a league crown). This year it was Oxford (in the division) and Bloomfield Hills and Oxford today. But there are so many good teams and athletes in the OAA that it’s tough. I thought the girls really stepped up today with some really good performances. They have (stepped up) all season.”

Amanda Soldan was a double winner for the Highlanders, taking the 800 (2:26.07) and 1,600 (5:16.69) crowns, overcoming a large deficit in the final 400 meters of the 1,600 to win by six seconds over Bloomfield Hills’ Kate Jenkins (5:22.97).

Kenzie Grifka won the 100 hurdles (15.32), while Destini Dorkins (47.24) and Samantha Deys (48.97) took the first two places in the 300 hurdles for Adams. Kate Lindquist, Liv Urbano, Kelsey Francis and Meerilees Craig teamed up for a win in the 3,200-meter relay (9:52.77) for the Highlanders.

Bloomfield Hills’ Kalyn Mullens won the 100 (13.04), Gabrielle Jeffries the 200 (25.38) and the long jump (17-8), and Grace Jenkins the 400 (59.97) for the Blackhawks.

The unit of Mullens, Julia Allen, Kate Jenkins and Jeffries combined for the winning effort in the 800 relay (1:45.31), while the same foursome joined forces to close the meet with a win in the 1,600 relay (4:05.42)

Lake Orion’s Sophie Novak, one of the state’s top distance runners, broke the Dragons’ school record in winning the 3,200 (10:58.17) in convincing fashion by over 30 seconds.

Troy Athens has its best core of sprinters in nearly three decades and came away with a win in the 400 relay (51.28). Erin Turnbach, Erin Swartz, Shreya Kalyan and Tristyn Philips comprised the winning foursome.

Rochester’s Brooke Gordon swept the throws, winning both the shot put (34-3.5) and discus (91-3), both in career-high efforts.

Oxford senior exchange student Federica Stella out-dueled Rochester’s Leah Stone in the high jump, with Stella clearing 5-6 and Stone 5-5. Both set school records in the process and are amongst the state leaders in the event.

Although not involved in OAA league scoring, Lake Orion’s Cate Leonhard won the pole vault the previous day with a 10-10 effort. Pole vault has never been a sanctioned event in OAA competition since the league was formed in 1994.

Lake Orion’s boys were scheduled to be a dominant force last season before the campaign was postponed and later cancelled altogether. The Dragons reloaded and re-tooled this year and appear to be rounding into championship-season form.

“We had some really good athletes that were seniors last year and there wasn’t a season unfortunately,” said Ford. “But we’ve had some guys that have come a long ways this season.”

Lake Orion won just three events but showcased balance across the board with a multitude of top-eight finishers in all events to win the meet.

Junior transfer Stephen Brown, who moved down from Grand Blanc last Christmas, won the 100 with a 10.95 clocking before coming back to take second in the 200 (22.22). Drew Knieper captured the discus (133-5) and sophomore Caleb Jones the long jump (20-10.25) for the Dragons

Adams won four events on the day, which led to its runner-up finish.

Michigan State-bound Gage Killewald won the 800 (2:00.55) and 1,600 (4:25.14), where he pulled away from the pack with a sizzling kick in the final 200 of the 1,600. Killewald anchored the winning meet-opening 3,200 relay unit along with Damarcus Rouse, Kaleb Price and Evan Votruba. That group clocked 8:10.42.

Armon Howard captured the 110 hurdles (15.40), while the unit of Zander LoPiccolo, Rouse, Votruba, and Donovan Hayward won the 1,600 relay (3:30.91).

Tristan Brandenburg (9:27.78) and Colin Hanson (9:40.80) led Stoney Creek to a 1-2 sweep in the 3,200. Brandenburg is amongst the state’s top 10 in that race. Stoney Creek senior Oswaldo Villafuerte, a recent converted hurdler, broke his school’s record in winning the 300 hurdles (39.99).

Avondale’s George Cage the 200 (22.08) and Troy’s Darius Whiteside II the 400 (51.76), giving those schools one victory apiece.

Bloomfield Hills’ David Adedapo, Kobe Reed, Bobby Wein and Evan Knox joined forces to win the 400 relay (43.57). Reed and Knox combined with Charles Dickerson and Derrick Lee for the victory in the 800 relay (1:30.83).

Clarkston’s Ben Haas is one of Michigan’s top shot putters and his 55-1 effort won the league title by over 12 feet.

Oxford sophomore Dylan Stone had a career-best showing in winning the high jump (6-4). Oxford’s Logan Hollingsworth took the exhibition pole vault (13-0).

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