They’re not even high school freshmen yet, but they put the Wildcat name on the map this fall.
The Oxford Middle School boys’ varsity cross country team went undefeated this season, taking the number one slot in every meet they competed in.
Races the boys won include the North Oakland County League Championships, the Lapeer Halloween Invitational, the Waterford Mott Fall Classic, the Old Skool Classic, the Holly/Duane Raffin Festival of Races and the Oakland County Middle School Championships.
“They started in August, and they worked really hard,” Head Coach Brian Drobnich said. “So as the season was coming together, I had a ton of confidence in them, especially to win the Oakland County meet.”
Drobnich said he expected big things from the team at the beginning of the season and that it’s gratifying to see them do so well, becoming the county champions.
“I had high expectations for them, but a lot of them also exceeded my expectations,” he said.
One of his top runners is 13-year-old Xavier Clark, who is in the eighth-grade this year. In the five races he competed in this season, Clark took the first place spot in four of them.
“He is basically one of the fastest kids to ever come through the middle school, ever,” Drobnich said. “I’m really excited to see him (compete) in high school. He’s a great kid and he has a great work ethic.”
Clark was excited that his team was able to claim a title, sporting a big smile while he spoke of the accomplishment they made had year.
“It feels really good (to go undefeated) . . . It’s a really awesome accomplishment,” he said.
When Clark runs, he runs with the aim to win the mental race as well as the physical one. Drobnich expects Clark will keep the same mindset next year and excel as a high school runner.
“Running really is a battle between your mind and your body because you have to tell yourself to keep going,” Clark said. “You have to push yourself to get through the race.”
Though the team has some essential eighth-grade talent leaving this year, Drobnich has a feeling his returning and new boys will compete at a high level again next season.
“The eighth-grade boys that are coming up and going to the high school are really good, but the team will be just as good next year because the boys are great,” he said. “It’s really nice to see that all across the grades the kids are really, deeply talented.”