Run Like the Wind Rochester!

Rochester High School’s Brook Handler has posted several first-place finishes. Yet in cross-country, the all-stater has never broken the tape … until Tuesday.

Handler, a senior from Rochester, cruised to a win at the first of three OAA Red Division jamborees, posting a 18:51 clocking and winning by some 24 seconds at Bloomer Park in Rochester.

Handler was second at the league meet and regional to All-American teammate Megan Goethals last season. Now, she is amongst the state’s top runners this year. She pulled away from Adams sophomore Jamie Morrissey (19:15) just before the two mile marker and never looked back with her third straight top-three finish already this season.

“It’s pretty exciting. I never thought that the first time I won a cross-country race would be a day that I was going easy,” admitted Handler, who is being trained to compete for a top-five finish at the state meet in November. “My coach (Larry Adams) told me to go easy, especially in the first mile and not to take the lead in the two miles, just kind of run with the leaders. I could try to run faster at the (Michigan State Invite) Friday.

“Later in the race, I was told to try to take the lead,” added Handler. “I wasn’t supposed to be ahead at the one-mile marker. There’s my favorite downhill spot of the course over in (the northeast corner) at about the 1.8-mile marker that most people don’t push hard at that spot. That’s where I started to pull away.”

Rochester Adams was third with 83 points, followed by Birmingham Seaholm (89), Rochester (105) and Lake Orion (125), although most of the teams were missing at least one key runner.

On the boys side, Lake Orion, which has won 17 league titles under veteran Stan Ford, grabbed the inside track this season by winning the first jamboree. The Dragons, despite heavy graduation losses, won with 43 points to edge Birmingham Seaholm, which came in second with 50.

Clarkston was third with 78 points, with Rochester (80) and Rochester Adams (81) closely behind. Defending league champ Troy was a distant sixth with 188 points, as the Colts graduated six of their top seven runners.

Adams’ Steven Biebelhausen claimed third in 16:45, followed by Lauka (16:55), Clarkston’s Adam Bruderick (16:59), Rochester’s Blake Pozolo (17:05), Lake Orion’s Cross (17:07), Clarkston’s Sam Tanielian (17:08) and Seaholm’s Zack Demko (17:010) and Mark Bennett (17:15) in the top 10.

Rochester Stoney Creek’s Brandon Townsend flies towards the finish at Saturday’s West Bloomfield/Brother Rice Invitational, becoming one of several local runners to earn top-10 finishes at the prestigious meet.

The second league jamboree will take place Sept. 28 at Stoney Creek Metropark.  Read More

Dan Stickradt

North Oakland Sports