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Boys' Track gathers more than 100 members



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This group of runners go for a brisk run during tryouts. Photo by Gabriel Ouzounian (click for larger version)
March 23, 2011 - There will be no shortage of runners for the LO Track and Field team for the 2011 season.

Over 100 members have joined the ranks of sprinters, distance trekkers, and meter runners, and head coach Stan Ford said his returning captains have really helped in managing the kids.

"The captains have really proved themselves, and that's why they were voted in last year," said Ford. "These guys will really help me and the team out by taking a leading role.

"With such a big team, I often need a little assistance, so I'm going to count on these guys for sure."

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The captains, both seniors, are K.J. Ester, a sprinter, and Dominic Arnold, a 400 meter runner. In all, six seniors are returning to the team, which had a record of 5-0-1 last year. Adding to the experience of the seniors are talented newcomers David Diaz, Cory Ester, and Jacob Arnold. Ford said all three are shaping up to be dependable competitors.

Yet challenges still lie ahead, and one of the biggest for Ford and his team is the relative lack of pole vaulters and a vaulting coach.

"Distance has been our strength for a while now - we always do well in that category, but we'd really like to get a pole vaulting coach," said Ford. "The sport has gotten so technical that you really would like a coach for each event, and right now we don't contest in that one event.

"When you miss out on one event, you can do well in sprinting, distance running and other events and still come out behind."

Ford said another common problem for track and field teams has been transportation, but that Lake Orion has been fortunate enough to be one of the only districts that still has busses to transport his large team.

From a competitive standpoint, the team is looking at West Bloomfield, and Farmington, which is new to the Division One OAA league. Farmington, in particular, is largely "an unknown" for last year's Division One teams.

"West Bloomfield is always someone to keep an eye on, because they always do well in sprinting and field events," said Ford. "Farmington won their Division Two championship last year, and now that they're in our league, we should prepare for a tough new opponent.

"But I think our team knows the challenge, and we have time to get ready for them."

Ford is entering his 30th year coaching the Lake Orion Track and Field, but said compared to other coaches he's still "the young guy," citing one example as West Bloomfield's coach who has around 50 years of coaching under his belt.

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