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Waterford Mott's Corsairs were a proud group after nabbing the team trophy. (The Oakland Press/MARVIN GOODWIN)
CROSS COUNTRY: Waterford Mott captures first Oakland County title WITH TOUT VIDEOS
Birmingham Seaholm girls notch third straight crown
The title trophies kept coming for Birmingham Seaholm's girls. (The Oakland Press/MARVIN GOODWIN)
Brian Kettle of Milford took his familiar position at first place for the Mavs. (For the Oakland Press/JOSE JUAREZ)
Audrey Belf of Birmingham Seaholm took the race from the start and couldn't be caught. (For the Oakland Press/JOSE JUAREZ)
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MILFORD — The list of past champions of the 54th annual Oakland County cross country championship never included Waterford Mott, until Saturday.
For the first time in school history, the Corsairs added their name to the schools of champions as they captured the meet title and halted Milford’s winning streak in the process.
Mott scored 88 points, Milford, who had won the last two county titles, was second with 114, Lake Orion was third with 179 and Birmingham Brother Rice (181), Novi Detroit Catholic Central (201) and Holly (203) followed in one of the state’s most competitive meets.
The Corsairs were second the past two seasons and were fourth in 2010. But they reached the top this time with a group hardened by tough losses of the past.
“It feels pretty darn good, it’s a great feeling,” said Mott coach Ryan Robinson Sr., in his 11th year at the helm. “We’ve been at this a long time, trying to crack this nut and we finally got it.”
Teamwork and camaraderie has been a key factor in the Corsairs’ surge the last few years, according to Robinson. “It really has been a group, group, group mentality,” he said. “That group has been running so long, I leave it up to them. I said, go out and have fun.”
But they had to solve a seasoned Milford squad to do it. Kevin Black was eighth and Jeff Field was 20th as the Mavs were still in contention during the race, despite missing starter Clint Caddell, who has been ill.
The Corsairs, though, wouldn’t let the opportunity escape them.
Sam Albaugh was third in 16:15, Ryan Robinson Jr. was fifth in 16:21 and Kyler Bush was 15th in 16:53 to lead the Corsairs, who had support from Luke Peterson, Simon Albaugh and Tommy Osika. None, though, could catch Milford’s Brian Kettle, who won his second straight county title and clocked 15:55, winning comfortably over runnerup Ben Hill of Royal Oak, who clocked 16:09.
Most were in a front lead pack of five or so runners deep into the race. “Looking back on it, I didn’t think anyone felt pressured to lead so I figured if everyone else was going to stay right there I figured maybe I should too,” said Kettle, who separated himself from others in the last mile. “I tried to stay patient as long as I could. I knew I’d have a chance to make a move later in the race.”
Troy’s Kunal Tangri was fourth, Brother Rice’s John Penington was sixth, Royal Oak’s Calum Ahmed finished seventh and Holly’s Nate Frazier (ninth) and Walled Lake Western’s Mitchell Dennis (10th) rounded out the top 10.
Meanwhile, Birmingham Seaholm’s Audrey Belf made her move from the beginning of the race, going to the front and extending her lead with each stride as she won the individual title and helped the Maples capture their third straight championship. Seaholm scored 39 points, the third lowest point total in meet history, outdistancing runnerup Milford, who scored 96, and surging Walled Lake Northern, who achieved its highest Oakland County meet finish ever by placing third with 179 points. Rochester (181), Oxford (226) and Lake Orion (242) followed.
Belf, who clocked 17:58 and won by more than a minute, joined Megan Goethals (Rochester) and Erin Finn (West Bloomfield) as the only county meet runners to dip under 18 minutes on the course. “I’m really excited, finally getting under 18 minutes here,” said Belf, who hasn’t lost a race this season. “(It was) a little wet ... (but) it was a good race overall. Our team repeated again for the third year in a row so that was great.”
Marissa Dobry was second in 18:59 and Jackie Bredenberg of Detroit Country Day was third in 19:11, just ahead of fourth-place finisher Danielle Bentzley of Seaholm (19:19).
The Maples, who had six finishers in the top 20, were not at full strength — starter Rachel DaDamio was on the sidelines — but their depth paid off.
“Over the last two or three meets, that depth is starting to show,” Seaholm coach Jeff Devantier said. “They work hard all the time. It’s a nice luxury to have. That’s the only way to continue to do what we’re doing.”
“It’s really great,” said Patty Girardot, who finished 20th. “We had a good time and we were honored to win this whole meet.”
Rachel Barrett placed sixth to lead Milford, Brianna Mulrooney led Walled Lake Northern by placing seventh and Jessica Goethals led Rochester with her fifth-place finish.
Nicole Kowalchick of Stoney Creek was eighth in 19:49 and Tessa Fornari of Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes was ninth in 19:51, a few steps ahead of 10th-place finisher Elizabeth Jenkins of Bloomfield Hills and 11th-place finisher Alexis Munley of Waterford Mott. All were under 20 minutes on the course.
“We felt we were in the mix in both genders and we have a lot to build on today,” said Milford coach Brian Salyers. “I was very excited the way we raced (and it was) our best race of the year for the girls.”
For the boys, Hill, Penington, Tangri, Robinson, Albaugh, Frasier and Kettle were a tight lead pack for about two miles when the separation, spurred by Kettle, occured.
“He got me on the hill,” said Hill, also contending with minor injuries this season. “I just give all the credit to him because he’s a smart runner. (But) I feel like I’m climbing, there’s a lot of room for improvement.”
Hill, who had teammate Max Benoit as a running mate last season, has now picked up another in Ahmed, who has improved dramatically since last season. “He came out of the woodwork this year,” Hill said.
“It was a real slow pace (and) I didn’t want to take the lead,” said Robinson Jr., who was pensive after the race as he contends with a sore hip and ponders the next few weeks. “I spent the (last) week in the pool. Hopefully its just a minor thing, (but) I wasn’t going to let the team down. They (Milford) were a little banged up and we’re a little banged up. But we know it’s (victory) a good first test.”
Oakland County Cross Country Meet
(Saturday at Kensington Metropark)
TEAMS — 1. Birmingham Seaholm 39; 2. Milford 96; 3. Walled Lake Northern 179; 4. Rochester 181; 5. Oxford 226; 6. Lake Orion 242; 7. Bloomfield Hills 246; 8. Waterford Mott 253; 9. Novi 335; 10. Troy 338; 11. Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 381; 12. Clarkston 417; 13. Royal Oak 422; 14. Berkley 453; 15. Farmington 457; 16. Farmington Our Lady of Mercy 478; 17. Stoney Creek 482; 18. Birmingham Detroit Coun try Day 485; 19. Ortonville Brandon 515; 20. Cranbrook Kingswood 526; 21. Rochester Adams 527; 22. Birmingham Groves 558; 23. Lakleland 561; 24. Walled Lake Central 571; 25. Walled Lake Western 675.
INDIVIDUALS — 1. Audrey Belf (Birmingham Seaholm) 17:58, 2. Marissa Dobry (Birmingham Seaholm) 18:59, 3. Jackie Bredenberg (Detroit Country Day) 19:11, 4. Danielle Bentzley (Birmingham Seaholm) 19:19, 5. Jessica Goethals (Rochester) 19:28, 6. Rachel Barrett (Milford) 19:37, 7. Brianna Mulrooney (Walled Lake Northern) 19:45, 8. Nicole Kowalchick (Stoney Creek) 19:49, 9. Tessa Fornari (Wateford Our Lady of Lakes) 19:51, 10. Elizabeth Jenkins (Bloomfield Hills) 19:54, 11. Alexis Munley (Waterford Mott) 19:57, 12. Abby Green (Troy) 20:03, 13. Madz Ham (Lake Orion) 20:08, 14. Julia Demko (Birmingham Seaholm) 20:13, 15. Alyssa Byndas (Milford) 20:15, 16. Katlyn Pizzo (Clawson) 20:15, 17. Mallory Barrett (Milford) 20:16, 18. Delaney O’Brien (Birmingham Seaholm) 20:17, 19. Maddy Paquette (Milford) 20:20, 20. Patty Girardot (Birmingham Seaholm) 20:23, 21. Lauren McGrath (Pontiac Notre Dame Prep) 20:23, 22. Claire Ford (Cranbrook Kingswood) 20:25, 23. Lauren Kaliszewski (Rochester) 20:25, 24. Jenny Rogers (Farmington) 20:27, 25. Amanda Lewis (Rochester) 20:39, 26. Danielle Carr (Lake Orion) 20:39, 27. Sarah Hale (Waterford Mott) 20:41, 28. Alyse Dietz (Walled Lake Northern) 20:43, 29. Allyson Eads (Farmington Mercy) 20:45, 30. Paige Arney (Ortonville Brandon) 20:46.
Oakland County Cross Country Meet
(Saturday at Kensington Metropark)
TEAMS — 1. Waterford Mott 88; 2. Milford 114; 3. Lake Orion 179; 4. Birmingham Brother Rice 181; 5. Novi Detroit Catholic Central 201; 6. Holly 203; 7. Rochester 260; 8. Oxford 274; 9. Novi 297; 10. Birmingham Seaholm 301; 11. Walled Lake Northern 347; 12. Walled Lake Western 355; 13. Rochester Adams 383; 14. Royal Oak 429; 15. Stoney Creek 449; 16. Lakeland 453; 17. Walled Lake Central 468; 18. West Bloomfield 488; 19. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 503; 20. Bloomfield Hills 506; 21. Clarkston 527; 22. Troy 545; 23. Ortonville Brandon 577; 24. South Lyon 607; 25. Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 621; 26. Berkley 668; 27. Troy Athens 817.
INDIVIDUALS — 1. Brian Kettle (Milford) 15:55, 2. Ben Hill (Royal Oak) 16:09, 3. Sam Albaugh (Waterford Mott) 16:15, 4. Kunal Tangri (Troy) 16:18, 5. Ryan Robinson (Waterford Mott) 16:21, 6. John Penington (Brother Rice) 16:23, 7. Calum Ahmed (Royal Oak) 16:32, 8. Kevin Black (Milford) 16:37, 9. Nate Frasier (Holly) 16:41, 10. Mitch Dennis (Walled Lake Western) 16:44, 11. Brian Barnes (Novi) 16:47, 12. Kyle Repetto (Rochester) 16:48, 13. Andrew Thomas (South Lyon) 16:52, 13. Dilan Lemond (Holly) 16:52, 15. Kyler Bush (Waterford Mott) 16:53, 16. Kirk Hansen (Lake Orion) 16:54, 17. James Schuler (Rochester) 16:55, 18. Grant Henley (Clarkston) 16:57, 19. Ryan Mooney (Troy Athens) 17:02, 20. Jeff Field (Milford) 17:03, 21. Andrew Lorant (Lake Orion) 17:05, 22. Sean Noone (Milford) 17:06, 23. Will Markley (Brother Rice) 17:06, 24. Eric Boyle (Stoney Creek) 17:06, 25. Jackson Gryzmkowski (Lakeland) 17:08, 26. Al Girardot (Brother Rice) 17:08, 27. Gabe Hogan (Oxford) 17:08, 28. Dillon Smith (Rochester) 17:09, 29. Vincent Cantu (Holly) 17:10, 30. Scott Smith (Novi Detroit Catholic Central) 17:10.