Boys, girls cross country finish in state top 20
November 09, 2011 - Senior Natalie Smith and junior Sam Tanielian led their teams to finish in the top 20 in the state on Saturday afternoon at Michigan International Speedway.
The Varsity Boys and Girls Cross Country teams at finals. Photo provided (click for larger version)
The Boys Varsity Cross Country finished in 14th place at the MHSAA Division 1 State Finals while the girls team took 16th place.
"I was pleased," said Clarkston Boys Cross Country Coach Mike Taylor. "We thought we would be between 10 and 15 and we were 14th."
"They did excellent," added Kevin Breen, coach for the Girls Cross Country team. "It was an excellent performance for our varsity runners.They ran a really smart race. We were ranked 21st going into it after looking at all the results and ranked us out against all the other teams. We ended up exceeding those expectations and taking 16th."
Both Smith and Tanielian took All-State honors after finishing in the top 30. Tanielian finished in 12th place, 15:54.8; as Smith took 13th place, 18:35.3.
"Natalie really raised the bar," added Breen. "She stepped it up to make All-State."
The Lady Wolves had five runners finish in under 20 minutes and the top six ran their personal record times for the season.
Junior Erin Billette finished as the second fastest runner for the team,19:47.5; junior Kaitlin Catania, third at 19:52.4; freshman Lynsie Gram, fourth at 19:52.8; sophomore Kylie Knavish, fifth at 19:57.4; sophomore Sage Beauregard, sixth at 20:02.1. Junior Molly Jeffers finished at 21:37.5, seventh for the team.
"Everyone really stepped it up," said Breen. "They ended up dropping time. A part of it is the hype of the race. Once you get there it is knowing what to do when you get there. They ran smart in the first mile ran comfortably and efficiently. We passed a lot of the girls in the second mile. If you put it all out there you never know what will happen."
Five runners from the boys team finished with their personal times for the season.
Senior Adam Bruderick was the second fastest runner for the team,16:39.6; senior Michael Culver, third at 16:42.4; senior Daniel Byrne, fourth at 16:52.6; senior Ian Brennan fifth at 16:58.2; and junior Nick Moore, sixth at 17:03.3.
The program loses Smith, Bruderick, Culver, Byrne and Brennan.
"I really attribute a lot to Natalie and the other girls for what we did this season and my development as a coach," said Breen. "Next year is looking very promising (with returners and new runners.)
"The seniors have been together since seventh grade," said Taylor. "They are the heart and core of the team. A lot of the younger guys look up to them and they are good athletes."
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.