With their rivals and regionals on their minds, Oxford High School’s fastest long distance runners are back with a winning mindset.
The boys, being the defending Okland Activities Association (OAA) red division champions, are looking to finish in “at least” the top three in their division. According to Head Coach Norman Petersimes, the OAA red division has fierce competition, but the boys are ready to come out strong. The team is especially anxious to race against rivals Clarkston and Lake Orion.
Some of this year’s top runners for the boys include senior Hunter Green, who was all-league last season, as well as juniors John Bagans and Scott Masterson.
This year’s boys’ roster includes just one sophomore, but a healthy number of freshmen. Petersimes hopes to tap into the youth on his team to build a program that will continue to be competitive in coming school years.
“I don’t have a ton of upper classmen, we’re kind of a younger team with both the guys and the girls,” he said. “But as always, our goal is to be ready and fresh by the time the league championship comes around.”
Petersimes said his girls’ roster is even younger than that of the boys’. He thinks this will keep the ladies especially competitive against rivals, as they’re already competitive with each other in practice.
He said his top returners for the girls include seniors Molly Long and Kerstin Hufstedler as well as junior Paige Miller.
Throughout the season, Petersimes plans to keep the girls’ roster flexible to fit with who is making the best times.
“At this point, I really can’t predict who’s going to fill out the (girls) varsity roster this season,” Petersimes said. “That’s just how competitive they are. It’ll change, probably, from meet to meet, especially since we have a younger team.”
As for the whole team of both boys and girls, he thinks their hard work will reap winning times for his runners and is proud of the work they’ve put in so far.
“We have a lot of newer kids and these kids have been working really hard (over the) summer,” Petersimes said. “I’ve been really impressed with their work ethic early on.”
The boys and girls will compete next in the OAA Red Jamboree on Sept. 5.