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CROSS COUNTRY: County champ Romeo adds MAC Red meet title

Lakeview, Roseville also capture boys championships

The individual winner of the MAC Red Division meet was Romeo's Alec Toreki. (The Macomb Daily/DAVID DALTON)

Romeo's Alec Toreki and Jacob Domagalski were so far ahead of the rest of the pack at Saturday's Macomb Area Conference Red Division cross country meet that they were stunned to find out what was happening behind them.

"I had no idea how well our team did until it was over," said Toreki who was the overall winner when he covered the Lake St. Clair Metropark course in 15:36, beating Domagalski by four seconds.

"Somebody said we were all under 17 minutes. I said, 'no. You mean all under 18?'

They said, 'no, under 17.' That's phenomenal. I'm really proud of our guys."

It was good enough to give the Bulldogs the division meet championship to go along with their undefeated dual meet season. Romeo finished with 36 points to 61 for second-place Dakota.

The rest of the divisions held to form, too, as the undefeated dual meet champions -- Lakeview in the Blue, Roseville in the Gold and St. Clair in the White -- also won the division meet.

"Today was much better than last week (when Romeo won the Macomb County Invitational) because my top five all year were on today, especially my No. 3 guy (Mitch O'Hair)," said Bulldogs coach Mike Buslepp. "He ran 1:45 faster this week than last week."

Toreki and Domagalski came on strong at the end to finish 1-2 overall in the boys race.

"I was nice and comfortable," Toreki said. "It was too tough a pace for a lot of the runners to maintain. I held a comfortable pace for a mile and as soon as I hit that mile, I kicked it up a notch. I had a negative split in the second mile and as soon as I hit the second mile I kicked it up another notch and caught the (Port Huron) Northern kid (Matt Thomas) with 800 meters left. I knew I had to gap him because he's really fast, so I really brought it home the last 400 meters."

Domagalski changed his strategy from other big races and it paid off.

"I wanted to go out slower today, like Alec does," Domagalski said. "I usually go out too fast and I can't finish it at the end. He usually goes out in a 5:05 (first mile) and I'd go out in 4:55 and he'd catch me.

"He likes coming up on people and moving up on the pack. It was weird today with all those runners ahead of me and moving up on them."

Buslepp liked the way Domagalski ran his race.

"He got a little over-zealous last week chasing down Mickey (De La Salle's Mickey Davey)," Buslepp said. "Our team's not built to go out hard. We want to be consistent across the board and close out that final mile."

Domagalski and Toreki have a friendly competition.

"It's nice having him to run with," Domagalski said. "He's one of the best in the state so it's good to have that kind of competition every race."

They also push each other in workouts.

"They do all their training runs together," Buslepp said. "They work hard in practice We're lucky to have an assistant coach, John Rock, who can train with them and push them. He was a top five runner in the state."

Lakeview has been achieving things that haven't been done in years and the Huskies, who finished third in the county meet for the first time since 1975, would like to continue that in next week's regional.

"That's our ultimate goal, to win the regional," said coach Megan Zimmerman.

Lakeview took first in the Blue last year, nosing out Marine City by three points, but the Huskies ran away from the rest of the division this season scoring 21 points to 71 for runner-up Sterling Heights.

"Everyone has stepped up and done much better than last year," Zimmerman said. "Times have dropped a ton. We had four boys under 17 today (Everett Ottoy, Timmy Martin, Tyler Walters and Jordan Walters). Last year there was nobody under 17."

Zimmerman said it was the hard work that has carried the Huskies to new heights.

"They work hard every practice, every run, mileage, speed work, hill work, whatever it is, they work hard," she said. "They're all friends, too, and take care of each other. They have a lot of fun and they're fun to coach."

Roseville graduated six seniors from last year's Gold Division champions, but the Panthers never skipped a beat.

"We've done what we needed to do," said coach Dan O'Sullivan. "We graduated six guys so we had to plug some holes. We got a couple first-year seniors who took a liking to the sport and that really helped."

Roseville had several top performances in the meet, including the best time of the year from Maleek Thomas, the individual winner in the Gold race.

"We had a lot of PRs," O'Sullivan said. "Chad (Radford) ran his best race of the year; so did Jordan (Levy) and Julio (Rosario). Anthony (Moss) ran a good race. Tristan (Sparks), our sixth guy, had a PR. Joe (Manfreda) has been fighting an injury and he ran one of his best times."

Roseville finished with 32 points to 60 for second-place Lake Shore.

"They came together on the right day," O'Sullivan said. "Chad latched on to Anthony and ran a really good race. Jordan and Julio did the same, latching on to each other."

St. Clair, the defending state Division 2 champion, dominated the White Division with seven runners in the top 12. The Saints had 23 points to Port Huron Northern's 41.

Last Updated: 10/21/2013 7:46:39 PM EST

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