Cross Country: Tandems highlight boys All-County cross country
1/4/2014 4:29 AM

CROSS COUNTRY: Tandems highlight boys All-County cross country

Milford, Mott were state's top teams

All-County runners were thick in this lead pack at the Division 1 state meet. (The Oakland Press/MARVIN GOODWIN)

Novi's Brian Barnes had a solid season for the Wildcats. (The Oakland Press/MARVIN GOODWIN)

Ryan Mooney was the leading runner for Troy Athens. (The Oakland Press/MARVIN GOODWIN)

In a season where Waterford Mott was the talk of the state with winning performances week after week, Milford stole the Corsairs’ thunder with a victory in the state finals. Milford was second to Mott at the Oakland County and KLAA Lakes Conference meets. But in the rubber match, the Mavs prevailed.

And it was no surprise that both teams featured powerful tandems, solid 1-2 punches which helped them achieve their successes. Royal Oak also had a powerful tandem of runners in its lineup, while Birmingham Seaholm’s depth, which produced a ninth-place finish at state, and efforts by Novi and Novi Detroit Catholic Central, were also noticeable.

Brian Kettle, Milford — As the team’s leading athlete the past two seasons, Kettle has been one of the state’s most consistent runners, delivering a top-caliber race in nearly outing. He was Division 1 state runnerup and KLAA Lakes Conference runnerup, each time falling to the state champ, and added his second straight Oakland County and regional crowns to his collection. He was also Hillsdale Invitational champ and broke 16 minutes for 5Ks in every race he entered this season. His best of 15:20 came at the state meet.

Ryan Robinson, Waterford Mott — Robinson could also deliver a strong race each time he toed the line. A top five finisher in every race he entered, Robinson won three races, including the Golden Grizzly, Spartan Invitational and regional meets. He gutted through the Oakland County meet with a sore hip and managed a fifth-place finish, and was Waterford Mott Invite runnerup before placing fifth at the Division 1 state meet. Robinson also qualified for the Foot Locker Nationals Saturday in San Diego after placing 10th at the Midwest Regional in Wisconsin. His best time was 15:28.

Sam Albaugh, Waterford Mott — Together with Robinson, Albaugh had a running partner with similar abilities. He placed 14th at the Division 1 state meet, the only race where he finished in double digits. He was Waterford Mott Invite champ, regional runnerup and placed third at the Oakland County and KLAA Lakes Conference meets after finishing seventh at the Spartan Invite and fourth at the Grizzly Open. His best was 15:49.

Kevin Black, Milford — While he lamented an ordinary finish under his standards at the state meet — he finished 61st — he was on the go during the season in the Mavs’ undefeated dual meet schedule. He was runnerup at the Hillsdale Invitational, eighth at the Oakland County meet, fifth at the KLAA Lakes Conference meet and fourth at regionals. He clocked a best of 15:36 as he continued his noticeable improvement over last season.

John Penington, Brother Rice — This junior was in the mix of leaders in every race he entered with single-digit efforts leading up to the state meet. Penington won the Linden Classic and Oxford Invitational, was runnerup at the Nike/Holly/Duane Raffin Invitational, and was third at the Waterford Mott Invite. He was also third at the Grizzly Invitational and third at the Mott regional meet. He finished 30th at the Division 1 state meet and had a best of 15:47.

Kunal Tangri, Troy — Tangri could also run with the best and could often be found among the leaders as another junior in this strong class of athletes. Tangri won all three OAA Red Jamborees, took the Autumn Classic, was fourth at the Oakland County meet and third at the Division 1 regional. He was runnerup at the Coaching Legends meet and finished 32nd at the Division 1 state meet. His best was 15:32.

Vincent Cantu, Holly — Cantu weathered some injuries and put the pressure on the opposition late in the season. He was Flint Metro League champ, was fifth at the Kayla O’Mara Invitational and fourth at regionals, all in the month of October. Previously he was seventh at the Linden Classic and 20th at the Coaching Legends meet. He finished 19th at the Division 1 state finals and was 13th at the Mideast Meet of Champions the following week. His best was 15:58 at the state meet.

Mitchell Dennis, Walled Lake Western — Dennis continued to up his game on the course, rarely finishing in double digits in his races. He won the Gabriel Richard Invitational, was 10th at the Oakland County meet and was sixth at the KLAA Lakes Conference meet before a fourth-place at the Division 1 regional. He was also fourth at the Nike/Holly/Duane Raffin meet and runnerup at the KLAA Association Invitational before finishing 28th at the state meet. His best time was 16:04.

Calum Ahmed, Royal Oak — Ahmed practically came out of the woodwork in only his second season of cross country. His worst finish was 46th at the Nike/Holly/Raffin Invitational in September, his last double-digit finish of the season. He was runnerup at all three OAA White Jamborees and the Jackson Invitational, was fourth at regionals and placed ninth at the Division 1 state meet. He finished fifth at the Mideast Meet of Champions. His best last year was 16:41 and he was 179th at the state meet. This year his best was 15:52 as he and teammate Ben Hill formed a potent tandem.

Ben Hill, Royal Oak — One of the state’s best runners, Hill came to race when the occasion came. He finished no worse than third in any of his races among a group of strong competitors. He won the Jackson Invite and all three OAA White Jamborees, was regional champion and placed second at the Oakland County meet. Hill fought back a number of strong challengers to place third at the Division 1 state meet with a gutsy effort. His best was 15:18.

Coach of the Year — Brian Salyers, Milford — Perhaps his best coaching effort of the season came when his squad was ripe for the pickings among a group of five solid challengers at the state meet. Still, the saavy Mavs came through with their third straight state title, further cementing his status among the coaching elite. He’s quick to acknowledge some of his mentors, including former West Bloomfield coach Lee Averill, but the fact remains he’s learned well from them. “I have been blessed to have an outstanding staff my entire coaching career,” said Salyers, whose state titles now number five total, all in the last 10 seasons, along with multiple top 10 finishes for his teams.

All Oakland County Second Team

Name School Year Best Time

Andrew ThomasSouth LyonSenior16:00

Brian BarnesNoviSenior16:04

Kirk HansenLake OrionSenior16:22

Kyle RepettoRochesterJunior16:15

Jeffrey FieldMilfordSenior16:24

James SchulerRochesterSenior16:26

Joost PlaetinckNoviSophomore16:08

Dilon LemondHollySophomore16:17

Gabe HoganOxfordSophomore16:24

Kyler BushWaterford MottJunior16:17

Nate FrasierHollyJunior15:59


CLARKSTON — Grant Henley, Dan Billette


LAKELAND — Jackson Grzymkowski


OXFORD — Jacob Schenten, Joey Ufolla 

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — Cooper Bellinson

BIRMINGHAM SEAHOLM — Ross Bernard, Alex Skender, Jack Williams, Jack Halpin

BERKLEY — Sebastian Betzer


WALLED LAKE NORTHERN — Mitch Lafaive, Devin Kimberlin, Ryan Mattson

MILFORD — Clinton Caddell, Sean Noone,

WATERFORD MOTT — Tommy Osika, Brennan Munley, Simon Albaugh, Luke Peterson

LAKE ORION — Andrew Lorant, Zac Seilkop

TROY ATHENS — Ryan Mooney

BROTHER RICE — Will Markley, Alfred Girardot


NOVI DETROIT CATHOLIC CENTRAL — Avery Felton, Scott Smith, Bailey Hobson

TROY — Christian Harnishfeger

ORCHARD LAKE ST. MARY’S — Colin Herrmann, Joe Gallagher




Last Updated: 12/11/2013 7:25:58 PM EST

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