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Novi romps at South Lyon Invitational WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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Wildcats way ahead over everyone else; South Lyon girls place fourth

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BRIGHTON >> While Novi cross country coach Robert Smith was on his junket to Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic Games, there was some concern of how his absence would affect his athletes’ preparation for the season.

But there was no need to worry for the veteran coach, whose excursions at the Olympic Games were not as well-documented as those of Ryan Lochte.

In fact, his daughter, Samantha Hudson, the assistant coach, apparently had things well in hand as evidenced by Novi’s season-opening performance Saturday at the South Lyon Invitational at Island Lake Recreation Area.

The wily Wildcats, who shared the park with boaters, swimmers, cyclists and even sharpshooters, put seven runners among the top eight finishers to easily win the team title with 19 points. Livonia Franklin and Brighton were far behind with 96 and 97 points, respectively, and South Lyon East followed with 125.

Smith was taken aback by Novi’s effort. “We have high expectations, but we exceeded them a bit ... very, very pleased with what we did today,” said Smith.

Not that there weren’t any other expectations from the Wildcats, who last year won regional and Oakland County meet titles and placed third at the D1 state meet.

But each year is different with shifting personnel.

This year, Scott MacPherson led the Wildcat charge, overtaking Whitmore Lake’s Trey Cucuro in the last quarter-mile to win in 16:31 for the 5K course. John Landy was third in 16:44 and Aric Landy, Gabe Mudel, Trey Mullins and Nate Wood followed as the Wildcats kept coming.

“I didn’t have a great summer, but it’s better than most kids obviously,” said MacPherson, delighted with the victory. “It feels really good. I’d never won this before.”

Mudel, a returning all-stater who was nearly 50 seconds behind MacPherson, was a bit saddened with his performance. “I’ve been struggling with injuries,” he said, hopeful of improvement in the coming weeks, “but we’ll see.”

South Lyon East’s Xander Cronin placed 11th to lead the Lions.

On the girls side, Sylvania (Ohio) Northview won with 43 points, Plymouth was second with 70 and Livonia Franklin (75) and South Lyon (82) followed.

South Lyon’s Miranda Meyers, a freshman, placed third in 20:36 to lead the Lions. “I feel amazing,” beamed Meyers, “and tired.” Teammates Rylee McDermott (22nd) and Delaney McDermott (31st) followed."

Meanwhile, other South Lyon teammates were enjoying their new T-shirts, with the saying, “No one ever drowned in sweat” printed on the back. “We had a choice of five different quotes and we voted on them,” volunteered one team member.

Annie Bonds of Plymouth won in 20:14 Sydney Hess of Clay (Ohio) was second in 20:28.

Last Updated: 8/27/2016 4:01:32 PM EST

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