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Track team hopes to lead the pack this year



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Track team runners train at Clarkston High School. Photo by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)
April 13, 2011 - The Wolves are ready to win their first OAA Red league match this Wednesday after weeks of training.

"We are looking good and have bright spots," said John Bennink, head coach for the Clarkston High School Boys Varsity Track. "Some of our returners in the distance are really good and a couple of field event guys are going to do well."

The distance and mid-distance events are led by junior Adam Bruderick, who finished 16th overall in the state last year.

"He was the highest finishing sophomore in the state," said Bennink. "We are looking forward to seeing him lead the group."

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Others Bennink mentioned making a good push for the team are senior Mike McCord and juniors Spenser Pawlik, Daniel Byrne and Ian Brennan.

For hurdles, junior Travis Smith is returning after finishing second last year in the conference. Seniors Brent Cousino and Nick Pike are expected to shine in the hurdles, too.

Senior Brian Benway is back for the long jump event.

"He will give us a good effort along with Connor Wiseman and Chris Scott."

Junior CJ Gozdor returns after being injured last season and will compete in the high jump.

"He had a really good winter indoor," said Bennink. "He will challenge for the top of the league along with some new guys."

Bennink also anticipates a lot from his throwers with a good group returning.

"We had young guys last year that did some nice things. They are primed to do good," he added. "We have three strong throwers - Matt Wright, Colin Kupper and Travis Hargett - which is nice."

The focus for the season is to win as many league meets they can, starting with their meet against Troy on Wednesday and have boys qualify for the state meet.

"We had a couple of guys who should have gone last year but did have a great regional meet," said Bennink. "The boys are older this year and hopefully we can get them all through. I would like to see them have success at this stage.

The girls varsity team also has a lot of returners coming back and are ready to beat their first league opponents.

Returners include senior Caitlyn Post, a two-time named Most Valuable Player and junior Natalie Smith, an All-Stater.

Smith, joined by senior Lindsey Fantin will get points for the team in the distance events.

Junior Anna Manilla is returning in the field events along with hurdles and the 400-meter run.

Junior Kayle Sherwood will throw.

"She will be one of the better throwers in the league," said John Yorke, head coach for the girls varsity team.

"We have a good bunch of freshmen that are going to help us this year, too," he continued. "We should be pretty deep as a team."

Some athletes continued their training through spring break in anticipation for their meet against Troy.

"I think we will do pretty well against them," said Yorke. "Troy is a good team. They are usually good and right on top of the league. They will be pretty tough. But it is hard to say it depends on how many girls they bring back."

The league meet against Troy begins at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the Clarkston High School stadium.

Both teams head to Birmingham Groves High School on Saturday for an invitational beginning at 9 a.m. The event is at 20500 W. 13 Mile Road, Beverly Hills, Michigan.

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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