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October 30, 2013

Cross country regional rundown

Ersula Farrow and Ben Hill turn in dominant individual performances at South regional

By Thomas Franz
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
The regional cross country meets are in the books, and the top three teams and top 15 individuals have qualified for the finals. Pictured is Warren De La Salle’s Mickey Davey and Troy High’s Kunal Tangri, who finished second and third, respectively, in the regional hosted by Grosse Pointe South, Royal Oak’s Ben Hill won the regional race.

HARRISON TOWNSHIP— The outcomes to the boys and girls races at the cross country regional hosted by Grosse Pointe South could not have contrasted more at Metro Beach on Oct. 25.

On the girls side, Grosse Pointe South turned in a performance that many have grown accustomed to over the past couple of years, as the Blue Devils took home the regional crown with 19 points, four away from a perfect score.

The outcome on the boys side proved to be much more dramatic, as a tiebreaker was used to determine that Troy would take the regional title over Warren De La Salle despite both schools finishing with 95 points.

Seven points behind the top two teams, Lakeview’s boys edged Royal Oak by two points to claim third place and the final qualifying spot for the state meet.

Individually, South’s Ersula Farrow won the girls race with a time of 18 minutes flat, 22 seconds ahead of second place. Troy’s Abby Green broke up the sweep for South by taking second, and Sarah Rustmann led Grosse Pointe North to a second-place team finish and a spot in the state finals with a time of 19:14.

“They performed great. We knew South was going to win, so we were going for that second spot, and that was our goal and we got it,” North coach Scott Cooper said.

North tallied 64 points to claim second place, and Troy took third with 93.

In the boys race, Royal Oak’s Ben Hill broke away from De La Salle’s Mickey Davey and Troy’s Kunal Tangri to win in 15:19. The trio raced together through this first half of the course, but Hill had the reserves necessary to turn in a personal-best time.

“I waited until the two-mile marker to make my move, and I felt like I had a ton of energy. This was a 10-second personal best for me this year, and it just felt easy. It felt like a smooth race because I didn’t break form,” Hill said.

Davey took second, while Tangri finished third, two seconds behind Davey, with a time of 15:32. Tangri’s time was also a personal best by a substantial margin, and Troy coach Eric Prowse said that was a common theme through his top runners.

“We talked the whole season that if we were going to get out to the state meet that we were going to have to run great. We were doing good all season, but you have to be great at regionals,” Prowse said. “Our top six guys ran personal bests, and the seventh guy ran a season-best, and that’s what you have to do at regionals.”

The top finish for Troy at the regional race came as a bit of a surprise, since the Colts finished in last place in the OAA Red championship meet a week prior to the regional.

“It’s been very tough. We’re in a brutal league, and we were 22nd in the county, and just to come out here and represent this region is special,” Prowse said. “It was a complete, collective team effort where everyone stepped it up and was great on one day.”

While South’s victory was not as surprising as Troy’s on the boys side, South coach Steve Zaranek was still very pleased with his group’s performance. 

“It was good. We were very ready for this race today. We were very healthy, and we’ve been pointing to this one as we do for the entire team all season long, and the depth came through. Our attitude and everything was just superb today. We just really ran an incredible race,” Zaranek said.

In addition to the top three teams at the regional, the top 15 individual runners also qualify for the state finals, which will be run at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn on Nov. 2.
 

In other Division 1 action:
The Oxford High boys and Sterling Heights Stevenson girls cross country teams won their respective regional meets, which took place Oct. 26 at Anchor Bay High School.

Oxford High’s boys tallied 90 points; Romeo High and Lake Orion placed second and third, respectively, with 91 and 96 points.

Seventeen teams ran in the regional.

Romeo High senior Alex Toreki won the individual title, finishing in 16:29.

Locally, Macomb L’Anse Creuse North freshman Thomas Michno finished 11th with a time of 17:03 to qualify for the D-1 finals. Macomb Dakota senior Bradley Bates (17:04), Utica High senior Andrei Rotar (17:04) and Dakota sophomore William Saiz (17:09) placed 12th, 13th and 15th, respectively, to qualify for the Nov. 2 D-1 finals.

On the girls side, the Stevenson team bested 16 other teams and qualified for the D-1 finals for the 30th time in the last 32 years.

The Titans tallied 98 points to best Lake Orion, which finished with 101 points. Utica Eisenhower rounded out the top three with 108 points.

Rochester High senior Jessica Goethals won the girls race in 19:21, beating 108 other competitors. Dakota senior Marah Pugh placed third with a time of 19:36. A pair of Stevenson sophomores — Samantha Hanson (19:47) and Allison Shannon (19:54) — finished sixth and seventh, respectively.

Clinton Township Chippewa Valley junior Madeline Wesley (19:59) placed eighth to qualify for the D-1 finals, as did Eisenhower juniors Samantha Allmacher (19:59) and Colleen McCarthy (19:59), who finished ninth and 10th, respectively. Also qualifying individually were Chippewa Valley senior Natalie Cizmas, who placed 11th with a time of 19:59 and teammate Rachel Walny (20:01), who finished 13th.

Other local D-1 finals team qualifiers are Birmingham Seaholm’s and Walled Lake Northern’s boys teams, who finished second and third, respectively, in the Waterford regional. The Seaholm girls team won the regional, while Northern and Bloomfield High were second and third, respectively.

In local D-2 action:
The Warren Regina cross country team won a D-2 regional that took place Oct. 25 and was hosted by Algonac High School.

The Saddlelites tallied 33 points, besting second-place Crosswell Lexington (72) by 39 points. Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (111) rounded out the top three.

Regina senior Cassie Bloch won the girls race with a time of 18:28. Regina sophomore Teresa Diehl (19:19) finished fourth, while teammates Jenny Ponkowski (19:29) and Stephanie Latos (19:30) placed eighth and ninth, respectively.

Regina senior Elizabeth Bloch placed 11th with a time of 19:35, and teammate Christina Ridella placed 15th in a time of 19:54.

Center Line High senior Haley Boccomino finished sixth at a D-2 regional that took place Oct. 25 at Lake St. Clair Metropark with a time of 19:56 to qualify for the D-2 finals.

Notre Dame Prep’s boys teams finished third in its race to qualify for the finals.

Other local D-2 teams racing their way to the finals are Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Ferndale High’s and Cranbrook Kingswood’s boys teams, and Cranbrook-Kingswood’s, Country Day’s and Marian’s girls squads.

Division 3
The Macomb Lutheran North girls cross country team dominated a D-3 regional that took place Oct. 25 at Algonac. The Mustangs tallied 15 points. Second-place Capac High scored 61. Almont High rounded out the top three with 64.

Defending D-3 state champion Gina Patterson, a junior at Lutheran North, won the girls race with a time of 18:11. Teammate Jenna Briney finished second with a time of 18:57, while Lutheran North sophomore Briana Weglarz (20:03), junior Jenna Cundy (20:22), freshman Alana Patterson (20:26), freshman Megan Miller (20:26) and freshman Emily Schomaker (20:28) finished second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.

Division 4
The Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett boys cross country team won a D-4 regional that took place Oct. 26 at Anchor Bay High.

Liggett tallied 71 points to beat out 11 other teams. Royal Oak Shrine placed second with 83 points. Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest posted 92 points to place third.

Franklin Road Christian senior Jacob Weaver won the D-4 race with a time of 18:05.

Sterling Heights Parkway Christian junior Taylor Siegle finished sixth in a D-4 girls race that took place Oct. 26 at Anchor Bay with a time of 22:19 to qualify for the D-4 state finals. Liggett freshman Maddie Wu (22:56) finished 11th to qualify for the D-4 final. Liggett senior Danielle Lorant (22:59) finished 13th and will run in the D-4 finals. Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes sophomore Tessa Fornari won the D-4 race with a time of 20:03.

For a complete list of the teams and individual qualifiers, go to www.mhsaa.com

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Thomas Franz at tfranz@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1040.