April 11, 2012 - By Tahra Gribbin
The runners warm up in a variety of ways based on their preferences,. Photo by G. Ouzounian (click for larger version)
The Lake Orion Boy's Track Team began its season last week with a bang.
The dual meet season began with a bout against Adams High School. The Lake Orion boys won that meet 98-30, hinting towards a promising season for this year's track team. Along with the meet against Adams, the Lake Orion boys have had two unranked indoor meets that helped Coach Ford gage talent and give everyone a chance to start.
"The good thing about having the first indoor meets is that there's no score," said Ford. "That meant that boys who are not necessarily team captains got to start. It's a nice warm up for the season and a good way to ease the younger kids into the meets."
This year marks Ford's thirty-first year coaching the team. He got involved with boys track because of an interest and love of the sport which ran back to his school days. Ford ran both in high school and college so his career led him on the natural path of coaching the team.
"I ended up going into physical education and becoming a teacher," Ford said. "Coaching was a part of the teaching job that made sense for me to be involved in. When the position became available, I took it."
The Lake Orion boys placed second in the league last year and Ford hopes to improve upon that for this season. Many of the boys that Ford thinks will help lead the team to victory this year are the team captains. Alex and Michael Roberts are twins that run hurdles and are hoping to finish out their senior year leading the team to first place. Senior David Rossman is another captain the coach is counting on. He is a discus thrower and shot putter.
Senior Justin Prawdzik is a distance runner and senior Nick Balavich is a sprinter; both are team captains.
"Balavich had a very good year last year and is coming back again," said Ford. "Rossman is another captain to watch in particular because of his performance last year. There are some underclassmen who have stood out as well."
Out of the 120 total boys on the team, underclassmen Joe Denoe, TJ Carry, David Guiazz and Corey Ester have stood out in particular. There are also a lot of freshmen on the large team this year. Ford said this dynamic motivates the captains to perform to their fullest.
"The captains lead by example and performance," Ford said. "I told the captains the other day that this is their year - they've spent three years contributing to the success of other classes and everyone wants to run their best as a senior. They understand that they have to mold the freshmen to help them."
Ford expects the boys to give it their all this year. His prediction is that after last year's near success, this year's senior captains are going to go out with a bang.
"We will be the team to beat this year," said Ford. "We should be the favored in the league. There's no reason why this team shouldn't be league champs with the talent that we have."
Clarkston is the team that Ford believes will be the biggest competitors for Lake Orion. However, the focus for the Lake Orion boys this year will be on the league championship and the regional competitions. There were school records set last year during a couple of relays and Ford believes that the boys are capable of improving upon those records.
"We have some strengths and so does Clarkston," Ford said. "Last year, several individuals went to regionals and qualified for states, I want those same teams back for them to run again at the state meet."
The Lake Orion boy's second meet is today, April 11, against Rochester. The boys will begin running at 4:30 PM.