Photo provided by Troy High School cross-country team

New expectations have Troy cross-country energized

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Troy Times | Published October 10, 2023


TROY — Troy High School boys cross-country was able to accomplish something last season that hasn’t been done in over 60 years on the boys’ side, and the momentum is still feeding into this season.

Troy took first place in the Oakland County Championships last season, sparking a whole new set of expectations and energy for the squad.

Now they’re looking to bring home some additional hardware.

“This year, we have a lot higher goals of going on to win the league, win the county, win the region and, hopefully, top five at states is kind of the goal,” Troy coach Mike Reimann said. “Expectations are high, and we’re hoping to peak at the end.”

Earning first in the Oakland Activities Association Red Jamboree 1 Sept. 12 at Lake Orion High School, Troy got a head start on their first list of goals this season as senior Vishvaa Ravishankar and junior Kian Schneeweis paced the team to a first-place finish.

Ravishankar and Schneeweis earned first and second, respectively, in the jamboree, while senior Louis D’Souza tallied another top 10 finish, earning eighth. Juniors Akshat Arora (13th), Quinn Kelly (18th) and Richard Qu (20th) all cracked the top 20, while sophomore Joey Light finished in 21st out of a field of 62 runners.

A win like that builds confidence, and Troy’s first-place finish carried over into arguably their biggest meet of the year – the Jackson Invitational.

The Jackson Invitational, which took place Sept. 23 at Ella Sharp Park in Jackson, featured a field of 29 teams with some of the best high school teams across the state, and Troy solidified themselves in the conversation with a second-place finish, falling only to Ann Arbor Pioneer, who is ranked No. 4 in Division 1 according to the MHSAA.

“We all performed way better than we were expecting, so I think that was a big confidence boost,” Schneeweis said. “Our confidence was a little low coming into that meet because we only had a few meets and our performances weren’t what we’d like them to be at that point in the season. Once we hit that meet, I think it felt really good to see that the work over the summer had paid off.”

Ravishankar added another first place finish to his resume, while Schneeweis finished in seventh. D’Souza (21st) and Arora (34th) rounded out the top 50 for Troy.

Although Ravishankar and Schneeweis continue to be the dynamic duo Troy will lean on come regionals, depth has played a vital role in Troy’s success this season.

D’Souza, Arora, Kelly, Qu, Light and senior Conner Moya, who battled injuries the last two years, all have been consistent contributors for Troy, but a team with 89 boys in the program is bound to have some more talent waiting on the sidelines.

On Sept. 26 at Stony Creek Metropark, Troy claimed first place at the OAA Red Jamboree 2 behind top 10 finishes from senior Bryce Bauman (2nd), juniors Jacob Van Houten (3rd), Griffin Moore (4th), Austin Xiao (6th), Shiv Patel (8th) and sophomore Isaac Clark (7th) to take a convincing 43-point victory. The second jamboree does not go towards the OAA Red league title, but does give each team a chance to show how deep their team is.

“We definitely have our front runners, but one thing I think we’re really strong on is our depth,” Reimann said. “We know who our top four are, but between 5-11, you never know.”

While Troy didn’t repeat as champions at the Oakland County Championships Oct. 7 at Kensington Metropark, a third-place finish is still a promising continuation of what Troy has set out to accomplish this year.

Troy is slated to take part in the final OAA Jamboree Oct. 19 at Clintonwood Park in Clarkston before competing at regionals Oct. 27 at Clintonwood Park. The first and third jamboree combine to crown the OAA Red champion.

Troy finished in third last year at regionals before putting together a less-than-desirable performance at the MHSAA Division 1 State Finals, earning 24th overall.

Ravishankar said the team ran out of gas towards the end of the 2022 season, but said they’ve taken precautionary measures this year.

“This year, one thing we’re trying to do differently is not go as hard in the summer,” Ravishankar said. “Especially in October, that’s when all the speed and inner training starts, speed workouts like that, but I feel like August and September were making sure to just keep everything not easy, but to a point where we weren’t going race effort in practice.”