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November 7, 2012

Troy girls keep tradition alive in C.C. program; boys also reach state finals

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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From left, Troy’s Lauren Miller, Haley Burns and Haley Wendt were all smiles following a D-1 regional run. The Colts competed at the Nov. 3 state final, finishing 24th.

When you’ve done it this many times in a row, reaching the state finals almost becomes an expectation.

Realistic or not.

“And the girls understand that. They feel that pressure,” Troy High cross country coach Matt Richardson said with a laugh about Troy taking part in the state championship 14 straight years entering 2012.

Still, as the regional run concluded Oct. 27, the Colts headed back for a 15th time, and last weekend at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Troy wrapped up its season in grand fashion.

“To do this 15 times in a row and be part of this final is pretty special — something they were certainly focused on,” Richardson said of the Nov. 3 run. “It means a ton to this program, but every team is different. Yes, we’ve done 15 in a row, but some of our girls were running in the finals for the first time ever.”

Birmingham Seaholm won the Division 1 title with a team score of 69. Troy placed 24th, picking up 520 points as a team.

“It was an honor to get here. It always is,” Richardson said, adding that his team’s third-place finish at the regional run was the best event of the season for his girls.

“This was a very close group of girls,” he added. “They worked so hard for this. Especially in the winter and summer, and that’s what makes this so special.”

Abby Green led Troy, placing 70th overall in a time of 19 minutes, 10.4 seconds. Green was followed by Rachel Loken in 101st in 19:38.1, Lauren Miller (111th, 19:46.1), Haley Wendt (113th, 19:47.3), Haley Burns (125th, 19:57.8), Maral Toukhanian (136th, 20:08.4) and Kira Burnett (150th, 20:25.9).

“We’re only bringing back three of our top seven runners, so it’s going to be another challenge next year,” Richardson said.  “We have some work to do, but they understand what’s expected around here, and I like the chances of getting back there for 16 straight times.”

Boys take 26th

The Troy boys team also made the trip to Brooklyn and ended up placing 26th in the D-1 run.

It was the third time in the state finals in the past eight years for the Colts.

“It’s always fun,” coach Eric Prowse said. “It’s such a prestigious event, and qualifying is so hard to do. But when you can end a season at the state finals, it’s a feather in your cap.”

Troy scored 577 as a team.

Kunal Tangri led the way, placing 65th in 16:23.9. He was followed by Christian Przeslawski (108th, 16:50.5), Christian Harnishfeger (121st, 16:58.5), Joe McConachie  (139th, 17:05.1),  Josh Rusgo (144th, 17:09), Matt Miros in 176th,  17:43.8), and Jun Ro (178th, 17:46.3).

“It was a great year,” Prowse added. “There was so much improvement. I mean, you look at this team in August, and I didn’t think it was a given we’d make it this far. But they emphasized being together, running as a pack and improving together. That paid off as individuals and as a team in the end.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.