October 23, 2013 - Runners are preparing for tough competition as they head to the MHSSA Cross Country Regionals this Saturday.
"It looks pretty good," said Kevin Breen, coach for the Clarkston Girls Cross Country team. "We are looking forward to regionals and squeezing out a third place finish. Maybe if things go well we can surprise the No. 2 team."
He added there will be a battle for third place as Midland Dow, Bay City Western, Midland, Davison and Flushing are up there with Clarkston.
"Everyone is pretty much neck and neck when you look at times," Breen said. "It will be who can come up with the least amount of points at the finish line."
Nicole Hanson, Sage Beauregard, Lynsie Gram, Alex Gladding, Kaitlyn Cavallo, Helen Jeffers and Mackenzie Proper are the top runners to help the team make it to states.
"Consistency is going to help out," Breen said, "making sure we get those runners in the times we know and expect them to run. When they get into a big meet like regionals they pull out that next gear. They are able to drop times."
Coach Mike Taylor said the boys team is an underdog with Saginaw Heritage, Holly, Bay City Western, Grand Blanc and Davison are the teams they need to get past.
"I have some individuals who look good getting out of regionals," he said, adding they are Grant Henley, Dan Billette, Tyler Dunn, and Nathan Heierman.
"We have been a little inconsistent and the competition we are seeing are new guys and fast times," Taylor said. "But that area of Michigan they run flat courses more than we do. I am looking forward to the regional. I am excited to see how it is going to play out."
The teams competed in their last OAA Red Jamboree of the season last Thursday.
The Lady Wolves finished in fifth place with 107 points. Coming out as All-League were Hanson, finishing in third place, 18:58; and Beauregard in 15th, 19:51.
"We have been battling injuries this season and not even run related injuries," said Breen. "Times really dropped."
Gladding and Cavallo finished in the top 100, Gladding at 45th place and Cavallo, 73rd place.
The boys finished in sixth place at the jamboree with 126 points. Henley led the team, finishing in eighth place and All-League at 16:42.8.
"We ran better than we have all season," Taylor added. "We are improving. Our team motivation is good. Guys are talking about running their best time and are excited about competing."
Finishing in the top 50 were Billette, 20th place; Heierman, 21st place; Dunn, 35rd place; Derrick Egli, 42nd place; Gavin Eisert, 44th place; and Luke Oldford, 46th place.
Bay City Western hosts MHSAA Regionals at Delta College in Bay City. The girls begin at 9:30 a.m., boys are at 11 a.m.
The top three teams and top 15 individual finishers move on to the state finals, Nov. 2.
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.