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X-country teams finish in top 5 at final Jamboree



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October 19, 2011 - Runners weren't the only fierce competitors for the varsity cross country teams Oct. 20 during the final OAA Red Jamboree at Bloomer Park in Rochester Hills.

Competitors got all they could handle thanks to wind and rain that turned the course into a soggy mess, complete with mud puddles and standing water.

"We got caught in a lot of mud, and everybody else was running in it too, and it's no different, but I think if affected us just a little bit more," varsity head coach Ray Sutherland said.

When the race was over, both varsity squads managed to come away with top five performances.

"We've had two races where even though we ran well, we didn't run as well as other teams, and that is exactly what caught us here," Sutherland said. "I thought we had good performances, but others were just a little more improved."

The girls finished fourth with 95 points, one point behind third place Rochester Adams. Birmingham Seaholm won the race with 73 points, capturing a league title in the process. Troy finished second with 74 points.

Sutherland called the Red division a "really tight league."

"Positions changed just a little bit throughout the league. Troy went ahead a couple, Adams went ahead a couple...it was very successful.

Junior Brooke Kovacic lead the pack for most of the race, but with less than a half-mile to go, Adams junior Jamie Morrissey tracked Kovacic down and passed her for the lead.

Morrissey finished in a time 18:51.8, while Kovacic finished in 18:56.6.

Overall, the Wildcats walked away with five runners winning medals for finishing inside the top forty.

Senior Chelsea Johnson (19:59.3) and fellow senior Brittany Johnson (20:07.5) finished 15th and 16th respectively, while sophomore Alora McCoy was 24th (20:26.6) and freshmen Jenna Feeney placed 38th (21:00.5).

The Wildcats two other starters for the jamboree, freshmen Sabrina Smith and sophomore Kristen Godwin, finished 44th and 48th respectively. Smith ran a time 21:25.8; Godwin finished in 21:33.8.

Meanwhile, the boys managed a fifth place finish, totaling 119 points. Lake Orion won the jamboree with 50 points, and in the process won the OAA Red boys division. Clarkston finished second (70 points), followed by Troy (106 points) and Rochester Adams (117 points).

Only two Wildcat runners managed to crack the top 20 - senior Alec Smith in eighth (17:10.5) and junior Ryan Gillespie in 12th (17:21.5).

However, four additional runners managed to place for Oxford. Junior Ross Champman finished 27th (17:50.7), followed by sophomores Noah Jenkins (35th; 18:00.9) and Joey Uffola (37th; 18:10.4) and freshmen Logan Bruni (39th; 18:15.6).

Senior Kyle Feeney rounded out the boys top seven with a finishing time of 18:20.0, good enough for 42nd.

Overall, both the girls and the boys finished third in the red division.

"It's definitely a tougher division and the boys and girls made a big improvement this year and showed well for themselves," Sutherland said. "I'm very, very proud of both the boys and the girls, they ran really hard." He added he loved competing in the OAA Red.

"That is where we wanted to be last year, and if you want to be good, you have to compete against the best...the red division, the large schools, that is where we want to compete," he said.

The Wildcats competed in the Rochester Invite for freshmen and sophomores on Monday before they took on the regional competition at Goodells Park in Algonac on Saturday, Oct. 29.

Sutherland said some minor improvement were needed before regionals, but if the boys and girls ran their race, they should be fine.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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