CROSS-COUNTRY: Royal Oak Shrine sweeps regional titles

   | Dan Stickradt

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GOODELLS — Ben Kendell did not like finishing second at last year’s Division 4 regional. He remedied that situation this year.

The Royal Oak Shrine Catholic junior avenged that loss, winning the individual regional title with a season-best 16:20 to lead the Knights to the team crown. The opponent that defeated Kendell last season, Southfield Christian’s Evan Carter, was a distant second in 16:52.

“I think I ran much better this year,” said Kendell. “Then goal was to go out the first art of the race and stay with him, then pick it up in the last mile.”

The top three teams and the top 15 individuals in each regional advance to the Lower Peninsula state finals Nov. 3 at Michigan Speedway near Brooklyn.

Kendell led five Knights inside the top 30including three inside the top 10. Matt Arce (fourth), Connor Lockman (eighth), Mike Guirey (13th) and Kyle Pawloski (30th) aided Shrine’s cause.

“This is three in a row for both the boys and the girls,” noted veteran Shrine coach Wright Wilson. “I thought based on the teams here and the way we have been running that we would have a good chance or repeating. The kids stepped up and had a really good day.”

Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes, led by third-place finisher Ryan Sullivan, finished second in the boys meet with 57 points, while Grosse Pointe Woods University-Liggett was third with 90 points.

Ian New (11th) and Gabe Fenske (12th) aided Waterford Lakes back to the state meet.

“This is only our sixth season of cross country,” explained WOLL Coach Scott Lewis. “We’ve been very successful. In all but one season we’ve had an individual or team qualify for the state finals.”

Southfield Christian was fourth (134), while Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest finished fifth (135), Auburn Hills Oakland Christian sixth (137) and Birmingham Roeper eighth (170). Madison Heights Bishop Foley and Novi Franklin Road Christian did