Harriers finish, eye states
November 02, 2011 - By Gabriel Ouzounian
Junior T.J. Carey led the pack once again. Photo submitted (click for larger version)
Review Staff Writer
The regular season is over for the harriers of Lake Orion, but the boys' team and one member of the girls' team are not quite done running.
These members qualified at the regional meet last month for the state competition in Brooklyn, Mich. on Saturday, Nov. 5.
The boys' team took third place at the regionals, behind Clarkson and Romeo by only one and two points, respectively.
"Anytime you get to the regional and qualify for states, it's good," said Head Coach Stan Ford. "We were only four points out of first place and, while it's not the fastest day we've had, we're glad to qualify."
Besides taking first place, the boys' team also took the individual champion title, with junior T.J. Carey leading the pack. Following Carey in fifth place was sophomore David Diaz. The other three top runners were seniors Ryan Singles, Aaron Kaufman and Justin Prawdzik.
The girls, meanwhile, came in fourth - just shy of qualifying for the state meet, though senior Ashley Bartreau finished thirteenth to qualify individually. Freshmen Danielle Carr and Erin Womack placed sixteenth and seventeenth, respectively, while juniors Kelsi Silliman and Molly Emerich took twenty-ninth and thirtieth place. Girls' Head Coach Debi McDonald said while missing top runner freshman Madz Ham hurt the team's chances, those that ran did with all their heart.
"We had three in the top 20 and we beat Rochester, who beat us last week at the OAA league meet," said McDonald. "After this, we're just finishing up the work with some speed. We just want to make sure Bartreau feels nice and ready without being physically tired when the state meet arrives."
Bartreau competed in the state match in 2010, as well. But the running grounds there, which according to McDonald and Ford are notoriously flat, proved too different for Bartreau. This year, however, McDonald said Bartreau is experienced and ready for the challenge.
"Last year was her first year at states and she didn't run as well as she could have, but now she knows the course," said McDonald. "They also warmed up too much last year, so we'll be doing things differently this year.
The goal is to get in the top 30 to become all-state titled. If Bartreau runs as well as she did last Saturday, she has a good shot."
Ford echoed the thoughts on the flat ground, describing the land as tricky when all the runners have dealt with throughout the season has been relatively hilly land. Because of the even ground, times will be even faster and runners have to gauge themselves from the beginning of the race as there are no easy or hard sections.
"It's so flat, fast and competitive," said Ford. "You run hard all the way, and it can take you out of your normal rate strategy. We have to get out about 16 to 17 minutes of flat running, and it's difficult to pace the first mile because it's so different than anything up here."
Four of Ford's seven runners that will participate ran the course the previous year.
Prior to the regional meet, both team competed in the OAA League championship, where the boys' captured first place and the league championship. Ford called the event the best Lake Orion's boys have had all year, with his top five runners "really putting it together," culminating with placing three runners ahead of Clarkston's third runner to assist Carey's lead position.
The girls finished seventh of eight teams. McDonald called it a tough day due to the rain.
"Everyone ran so well that day," she said. "We simply weren't able to catch anyone."
Nonetheless, with the state finals in their sights, both coaches said the meet was just business as usual.