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Keeping the lead in cross country



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The Clarkston Boys Cross Country team. Photo by Visual Sports Network (click for larger version)
August 29, 2012 - Runners are warming up for an eventful fall season.

"We will be pretty competitive in the league," said Clarkston Boys Cross Country Coach Mike Taylor. "We lost some important people from last year but we have young guys that are talented. I think we have enough talent that I hope we are blessed with good health."

Leaders for this year's team are returning seniors Austin Draving, Nick Moore, Jake Streng and Sam Tanielian, who finished as All-State last fall, junior Nathan Heierman Draving and Tanielian should both qualify for state finals this year.

"Nick had a lot of injuries during cross country season and the year," said Taylor. "He is talented and understand the sport enough to be helpful. Natw Heierman also had a lot of injuries but has shown us he can run competivitively. Jake Streng was one of our better JV runner last year."

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He added another JV runner who will be important is sophomore Sam Lanker. Lanker received his varsity letter for breaking 18 minutes last year.

"We have really a handful of other characters who have the potential to pitch in at one time or another and help the team out," said Taylor. "The more we practice I feel like we have more depth than I thought initially. With some improvement I could see us be a really good team."

The team's next run is at the West Bloomfield/Brother Rice Invitation at Kensington Metropark in Milford on Sept. 8. Then, they head into their first OAA league meet at Bloomer Park, Sept. 11.

"Lake Orion is the team to beat in our league," Taylor said. "They have some excellent athletes returning and they had an excellent JV team last year."

Taylor added it won't stop the boys from being competitive.

"We have some good individuals," he said. "It will be an interesting year. It will be new names and new faces. If people work hard and we get lucky on health issues we can be a pretty darn good team."

The main goal of the season is to keep everyone healthy.

"I want everyone healthy at the same time," Taylor added. "Our key is to stay focused and don't get discouraged by the short term things."

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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