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Walled Lake

November 2, 2012

Walled Lake Northern boys cross country team thrilled with regional run

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Tyler Brinks begins celebrating as he crosses the finish line during the regional run Oct. 27. Walled Lake Northern finished third as a team and moved on to the Nov. 3 state finals, which was completed after press time.

There were still bigger fish to fry, another challenge left to conquer.

But as Walled Lake Northern boys cross country coach Jeff McNeil spoke last week about his team and its showing at a Division 1 regional Oct. 27 in Waterford, he noted how things were starting to feel normal again.

“This is pretty cool for our guys and for our program,” McNeil said of finishing third in the race and qualifying for the state finals. The D-1 final took place Nov. 3, after press time, at Michigan International Speedway. See our website at www.candgnews.com for a recap of the state finals and next week’s paper for a wrap up.

“We made it to states two years ago, and then missed last year,” he continued. “That really devastated them. This year, the hope to get back there was what they rallied around. They spent all year building toward it, and once we saw that we really had the chance, it was pretty cool.”

Waterford Mott won the regional run, finishing with a team score of 28. Northville High took second with 84, and Northern was third with a team score of 87.

Devin Kimberlin led the way for the Knights, placing ninth at the run in a time of 16 minutes, 34.1 seconds. Tyler Brinks was 10th in 16:36.2, followed by Alex Glasson in 21st (16:54.4), Troy Jones in 23rd (17:02.5), Mitch Lafaive in 24th (17:03.8), Ryan Mattson in 33rd (17:17.8), and Seth Bartell took 44th (17:33.7).

“We’d been missing Alex for more than half the season, but he was really hoping to get back and run in this one,” McNeil said. “We weren’t totally sure if he’d be ready to go, but he was, and the guys did an awesome job.”

Northern, which placed 19th overall in the 2010 finals, reached this year’s biggest stage, thanks to a long string of consistency, according to McNeil.

“This is a great group of guys that has worked hard for a long, long time,” he said. “They didn’t let a tough race or a bad day get us down. They kept their focus all year, and it paid off here.”

The top three teams in each regional plus runners who finished in the top 15 qualify for the finals.

In other regional action:
In the same regional, Walled Lake Western’s Mitchell Dennis qualified for the state finals as an individual, placing 11th with a time of 16:36.8.

In the girls race, West Bloomfield’s Erin Finn qualified for states by winning the regional in a time of 17:50.8.

In a D-2 regional hosted by Grosse Pointe South, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s qualified as a team by placing second.

The Eaglets scored 84 points, behind only Bloomfield Hills Lahser’s 37.

Joe Gallagher led the way for OLSM, placing eighth in 16:44.0. Colin Herrmann was 10th (16:58), Harrison Coe was 15th (17:18), Kyle McCormick came in 25th (17:47), Stephen Koski was 26th (17:47.50), Stephan Barthell crossed the finish line in 43rd (18:28.5) and Ryan Arnoldy was 54th (18:44).

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