By Jim Newell
There are few teams in the area that have known the success and dominance that Lake Orion’s boys varsity track and field team has over the past seven years.
Coach Stan Ford’s teams have won seven OAA Red division championships in a row, and, last year, took second place at the regional meet.
And this year – with talent, discipline and determination – the team looks to challenge for another league title and go far in the postseason.
The Dragons started their outdoor season March 27 by dominating OAA rival Oxford at Wildcat stadium, winning by a score of 91-37.
Senior Captain Thomas Moreman led the way with victories in the 110-meter high hurdles and the 300-meter hurdles, and tied for second in the high jump with Zach Dinverno, Sanai Pillot and Austin Dolland.
Senior Caleb Campbell won the 100-meter dash and ran on the winning 400 and 800-meter relays, along with Amaru Abdul-Raheem, who also won the long jump.
Senior Captain Sebastian Marku won both the shot put and discus. Junior Andrew Nolan won both the 1,600 and 3,200-meter runs.
Blaze Lauer won the 200-meter dash and senior captain Sam Knight won the 400-meter dash.
The team’s captains this year are Sebastian Marku, Ryan Mulcahy, Sam Knight and Thomas Moreman, who will set an example and provide leadership for the rest of the team, but Ford’s team has depth at all levels – and the athletes are expected to step up and contribute if the team is to be successful.
“While we have some outstanding seniors – the captains, along with Brandon Robinson, Caleb Campbell, Zach Dinverno, Sam Guenther, Mason Iulianelli and Savion McHenry – we also have a lot of freshmen this year who should benefit from that leadership,” Ford said, acknowledging Joseph Thede, Hong Bing Tang and Clayton Kuiper.
“We have some established juniors – Amaru Abdullah-Raheem, Nicholas Campbell, Jesus Cruz, Mitchell Duffy, Andrew Nolan, Sinai Pillot – who will all be big contributors,” Ford said. “Sophomores stepping up (are) Nicholas Laurent, Xavior Nunley and Isaias Rito-Guzman.
“We also have some newcomers that are running for the first time for us, juniors Isaac Kinne and Blaze Lauer, both scoring against Oxford, and (both) should play a big role throughout our season.”
For Ford and his team, setting their sights on winning every meet on their way to another league championship is always the goal in a program of Lake Orion’s caliber.
“Our main goal is to remain undefeated in our dual meet season, and from there try and do well in our 10-team league meet,” Ford said. “And (then) get some All-County selections in the Oakland County Championships, which with over 35 schools is very competitive.”
There is a new format this year for the league championship. Previously, each division would have its own league championship, with Lake Orion competing only against other OAA Red teams in the championship. This year, however, the league is combining the Red and Blue divisions for a bigger meet.
Lake Orion has somewhat of an edge in the postseason, competing on their home track.
“We are hosting the regionals, where we hope to qualify some of our talented athletes to go to represent us at the state meet,” Ford said.
For more photos see the April 3 issue of The Lake Orion Review.