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Ready for a run at finals



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October 30, 2013 - After losing four of their top seven runners last year, the Clarkston Girls Cross Country planned this season as a rebuilding year.

Instead they raced through cold and wet conditions to place second at the MHSAA Regional on Saturday, six points shy of first place, and are heading to the state finals.

"This is great to be where we are at," said Coach Kevin Breen. "Losing those runners was tough. The younger runners stepped up. I was very happy. Going into it we were ranking in fifth and six teams were battling for the top three spots. We went into the meet with a positive attitude knowing that if anyone slipped up we could take that third spot. It is pretty exciting."

Nicole Hanson led the team, finishing in fourth place at 19:12.15. Lynsie Gram finished in 14th; Sage Beauregard, 17; Kaitlyn Cavallo, 25; Helen Jeffers, 30; Alex Gladding, 36; and Mackenzie Proper, 47.

Midland Dow took first place with 84 points; Clarkston, second with 90 points and Bay City West, third with 126 points.

The boys took fourth place, missing a trip to the finals by 23 points. They will be sending two runners to the finals after they finished in the top 15 individual.

Dan Billette finished in 12th place in 16:24.60 and Grant Henley took 13th place at 16:27.47.

"The team ran really well," said Mike Taylor, coach for Clarkston Boys Cross Country team. "They did a really good job. We had a lot of PRs. A lot of the guys ran their best times of the season. We just weren't one of the top three teams. The right teams went and kudos to them Saginaw Heritage, Grand Blanc and Holly."

Finishing for the boys were Tyler Dunn in 23rd place; Nathan Heierman, 25; Derrick Egli, 56; William Eisert, 64; and Luke Oldford, 71.

"Our regional was pretty tough," Taylor said, adding the state meet will be tough as well for Billette and Henly. "I would like to focus on what we can run and get under 16:10. The course is 16:20. They will both run well at the state meet. We will see how everyone runs. This is a good year for cross country. The league was tougher than I have seen in a long time."

Breen added he will talk to the Lady Wolves this week as they make their goal for the finals.

"Hopefully we will get out there and race well," he said. "Hopefully we will have a few surprises and sneak ourselves into the top 15.

The state finals is held this Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.

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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