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Seaholm nets another state championship WITH PHOTO GALLERY

  • Seaholm's state champions posed in the cold with Mary Sanders (from left), Julia Demko, Rachel McCardell, Audrey Belf, Patty Girardot, Audrey Ladd and Rachel DaDamio doing the honors.
  • Pontiac Notre Dame Prep had their Irish on as they get started in the race.
  • Lauren McGrath of Pontiac Notre Dame Prep fights the cold.
  • Claire Ford of Cranbrook-Kingswood makes the turn at the two-mile mark.
  • Natalie Baxter (right) of Cranbrook-Kingswood tries to keep ahead of the others.
  • Shirin Rangnick (left) and teammate Claire Ford try to recover moments after the finish of the Division 2 race.
  • Schirin Rangnick (left) and Claire Ford are in the tired zone.
  • Audrey Belf of Birmingham Seaholm wasn't messing around as she took the lead and kept it till the end.
  • Photo by Marvin Goodwin
  • Oak Park's Ersula Farrow (1223) manueers into position
  • Milford's Mallory Barrett (1085) held her head high during the race.
  • Seaholm's Audrey Ladd (1015) and Patty Girardot got the show on the road with teammates a few steps behind.
  • Was there something said between Mallory Barrett (left) of Milford and Brianna Mulrooney of Walled Lake Northern?
  • Oak Park's Ersula Farrow picks up the pace.
  • Audrey Belf was all alone again with no one in sight as she cruises to the finish line.
  • Cayla Eckenroth of Northville strides toward the finish.
  • Rachel DaDamio of Birmingham Seaholm stretches toward the finish line.
  • Farmington's Maddy Trevisan mastered the state meet with a 12th-place finish.
  • Clarkston's Lynsie Gram (left) battled ford position.
  • Nicole Grindling (left) of Milford stays ahead of Hailey Harris of Northville.
  • Madison Paquette is glad the race is almost over.
  • Alexis Munley of Waterford Mott tries to stay ahead of her pursuers.
  • That's Audrey Ladd, coming in for a landing at the finish line.
  • Katie Osika (1189) of Waterford Mott completes her first state meet.
  • Jackie Bredenberg of Birmingham Detroit Country Day strides along.
  • All types were at the state cross country championships.
  • Tessa Fornari of Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes is in the stretch run.
  • Tessa Fornari of Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes boldy went to the front in chilly conditions.l
  • Olivia Hankey (left) and Tessa Fornari of Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes contemplate their races.

Belf, DaDamio finish 1-2 as Maples rule again

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BROOKLYN Birmingham Seaholm's Rachel DaDamio had never taken first in a race all season and at Saturday's Division 1 stchampionships at Michigan International Speedway, she didn't as well.

But it didn't matter for the senior. Teammate, Audrey Belf, who had relegated DaDamio to second place all season, took first place again as the Maples won the state title for the second time in three years.

Belf, who was unbeaten this season, clocked 17:19, the fastest time among all girls races en route to her second straight state title as she continued a nine-year string of Oakland County runners winning the girls individual Division 1 state title. The Maples scored 88 points, Traverse City Central was second with 115 and Northville (135) and Milford (169) followed. Clarkston finished eighth with 272 points, Waterford Mott, led by Alexis Munley (26th) and Katie Osika (35th) placed 15th with 417 points and Rochester finished 18th with 467 points as Lauren Kaliszewski (30th) and Madison Payne (89th) led the Falcons.

A stiff wind and cold greeted runners in perhaps the toughest weather conditions of the season. But the Maples were ready.

Just as in all her races this season, the closest anyone was to her was in the first quarter mile or so. No one dared to match her pace.

"It was a little chilly, awkward temperatures, but I felt pretty good today," said Belf, who went immediately to the front when no one else pressed the pace. "I just had to fight through it. I'm proud of my team."

Indeed, DaDamio (second), Julia Demko (15th), Audrey Ladd (31st), Mary Sanders (39th), Patty Girardot (43rd) and Rachel McCardell (47th)

completed the finishers for Seaholm, which gauged a state-title run from the beginning of the season according to coach Jeff DeVantier.

DaDamio, in a cluster of two or three runners battling for second place, used all her reserves to outkick the final challenger, L'reuse North's Karenna Duffy, in the last quarter-mile, clocking 17:29 to help seal the deal for the Maples. "It was a lot of energy (but) it was awesome," said DaDamio, numb in the cold and exhausted from her effort.

"She (DaDamio) did not want to lose to anybody, except her own teammate," Devantier smiled. "She can accept that. This senior class has been phenomenal ... a picture perfect season."

To be sure, the Maples have tallied Oakland County, OAA Red and regional titles in clusters the past four years. They were unbeaten this season.

Milford placed fourth as Mallory Barrett (13th), Nicole Grindling (18th) and Madison Paquette (20th) led the charge for the Mavs, sticking

together like glue throughout the race. Barrett clocked 18:20, Grindling came in at 18:31 and Paquette was only two seconds behind.

Gabrielle Byndas (58th) and Emilie Kennedy (60th) were separated by only a second. "I felt if we could replicate what we did last week at

regionals (first place), we'd be competitive," Milford coach Brian Salyers said. "Our girls have done a great job getting better each week. I'm proud of the way we raced."

Defending state champion Northville had four runners in the top 25 among the team finishers as Cayla Eckenroth (eighth), Lexa Barrott (11th), Hailey Harris (19th) and Emma Herrmann (11th) led the Mustangs. None are seniors as all will return next season.

Clarkston's Lynsie Gram led the Wolves, placing 10th in 18:16 among team finishers while Nicole Hanson was 16th in 18:23. "They all stepped up," Clarkston coach Kevin Breen said. "(And) Lynsie had a blowout race."

Farmington's Maddy Trevisan continued her solid season by placing 12th in 18:12. "She had a tremendous race," Farmington coach Chip Bridges said. "I believe she'll only get better."

Among other top finishers, Oak Park's Ersula Farrow was sixth (17:57), Walled Lake Northern's Brianna Mulrooney was 14th in 18:20 among

team finishers and Novi's Hannah Lonergan was 21st in 18:21.

Danielle Carr placed 68th to lead Lake Orion to its 22nd place finish.

In Division 4, Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes' Tessa Fornari, who led for the first half-mile, settled for eighth place in 19:34 and teammate Oliva Hankey placed 23rd in 20:10.

Royal Oak Shrine placed 12th with 399 points as Gabby Schmidt (45th) and Halie Robinson (75th) led the Knights. Wixom St. Catherine, in its first year qualifying for state as a team, placed 16th with 427 points as Clare Brinkman (45th), Eleanor Dolowy (84th), Alex Worth (85th) and Genevieve Lilley (87th) led the squad.

In Division 2, Birmingham Detroit Country Day's Jackie Bredenberg placed 22nd in 19:07. Claire Nord placed 20th and teammates Schirin Rangnick (28th) and Natalie Baxter (35th) followed as Cranbrook-Kingswood placed 15th with 355 points. Lauren McGrath plaved 61st to lead Pontiac Notre Dame Prep to its 22nd place finish.

Last Updated: 11/2/2014 7:20:26 AM EST

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