By Heather Smith
Special to the Leader
The Oxford High School Cross Country team welcomed September with a pre-season 4k at the Golden Grizzly High School Invite hosted by Oakland University Sept. 1.
While the distance was shorter than usual, it did not seem to affect the Wildcat Varsity Boys team as they dominated the very competitive field, placing second (109 points) out of 15 teams. Senior Dominic Bruce placed a very impressive third in 12:44.
The Oxford Varsity team, led by Bruce, also featured senior Ulises Rodriguez placing 19th in 13:24, junior Hunter Green placing 20th in 13:28, senior Zachariah Smith placing 27th in 13:46, and JJ Bagans placing 40th in 14:00. While many runners achieved personal bests at this distance, Rodriguez and Green, along with senior Jacob Garland (14:21) and sophomore Simon Arnold (14:31), took significant amounts off their previous times. Oxford’s Junior Varsity boys ranked fifth and were led by junior Adam Zyrowski, who placed fourth (14:31), and senior Joe LeGault, who placed 11th (14:45), both with great performances.
The Oxford Varsity Girls placed sixth (120 points) out of 10 teams with rivals Troy HS placing first (47 points) and Lake Orion HS placing second (70 points). Despite their ranking, the Wildcat girls worked very cohesively with sophomore Madeline Lukens placing 27th (16:25), sophomore Paige Miller 28th (16:26), junior Kerstin Hufstedler 29th (16:27), junior Molly Long 30th (16:30) and senior Ashley Vican 32nd (16:33). The Junior Varsity girls team showed their strength placing third (50 points), with many shaving significant amounts off their personal bests. Sophomore Rachel Whitt placed fifth (17:48) while fellow sophomore Aleah Dymond placed sixth (18:02). Other girls who took more than a minute off their 4k times were junior Nadia Smith (19:44), senior Jillian Senger (21:58) and sophomore Kate Saville (22:11).
As the Oxford Cross Country team prepares for the first OAA Red Jamboree Wednesday, September 6 at Bloomer Park in Rochester, many new runners, including sophomore Scott Masterson on the Boys’ team and freshman Ellie DiMalanta on the Girls’ team, are expected to join the Oxford ranks.