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Heat and humidity make for rough running



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September 07, 2011 - By Gabriel Ouzounian

Review Staff Writer

The runners of Lake Orion's cross country team started their season last Friday, baking in the Oakland University Invitational.

The competition, held on sun-soaked campus, was a proving ground for the Dragon runners. Both Lake Orion coaches said the heat made their performances difficult to judge.

"Going into this meet I had higher expectations, but with this level of heat you have to lower those," said girls' Head Coach Debbie McDonald. "It's affecting them all equally and I am not pushing them hard today - I'm just glad they're finishing the race at this point."

The 3.1 mile (5 km) race took the runners through small sections of woods but most of the course was over open ground where temperatures rose significantly during the morning. MHSAA rules dictate runners may not have water during the run itself as this would be aiding them and may not be equally administered. As a result, a small number succumbed to the heat, including one runner from Lake Orion.

Boys Head Coach Stan Ford saw the heat as a problem, too, but refused to blame the weather for any performance detriments.

"You can use the heat as an excuse, and it took a lot out of our team, but the simple truth is we have a lot more work to do," said Ford. "We had some nice surprises out there, like junior Jake Houlihan finishing fourth for Lake Orion and sophomore Teddy Rydquist pulling in fifth. It was nice seeing these guys get up there like that.

"But I'm sure these guys are glad there's a three-day weekend."

The Lake Orion girls finished fourth with Senior Ashley Bartreau leading the Dragons (sixteenth overall) with a time of 21:36. Sophomore Casey Stribbell finished second (twenty-third overall) with a time of 22:31, while freshman Madz Ham proved a worthy up-and-comer with a time of 22:44, coming in third for the Dragons (twenty-ninth overall).

On the boys' side, junior T.J. Carey finished first for the Dragons, third for the competition, with a run time of 16:37. David Diaz took second (eighth overall) with a time of 17:24, while senior Justin Prawdzik took third (twelfth overall) with a time of 17:41. The boys finished second place behind Brother Rice.

Carey, despite placing third, said he was not happy with his run.

"The biggest obstacle was probably the heat, but I don't think I really did as well as I could have," he said. "I started out well and I think that's the reason I was able to cross the finish-line."

The Dragon cross-country team will compete again on Sept. 10 at an invitational in West Bloomfield.

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