UPDATE: Royal Oak Cross Country Teams Finish Strong in State Finals

Ben Hill is All-State, while his team and Shrine High School prove they are some of the best in Saturday competition.

BROOKLYN, MI —  freshman  placed 28th in the the boys Division 1 race at the Michigan International Speedway (MIS) on Saturday to earn All-State honors with his best time of the season, 16:00 flat.

"He finally could concentrate on running," Lisa Hill said of her son, who also plays on the boys junior varsity soccer team at the high school. He was unable to practice with the cross country team during much of the season.

In June, the freshman phenom, then a 14-year-old student at , set an Oakland County Track Meet record. Hill’s time in the 3,200 meter was 9:52:43. The previous county record, set in 2004, was 10:13:40.

Including Hill, Coach Dave Barnett said six of the seven boys on the varsity team ran their personal best times at the state meet. The boys peaked at the right moment, he said. 

"At the beginning of the year we weren't even ranked," Barnett said. "In the Oakland County Championship meet we came in 26th, and we finished the 16th best in the state."

The ROHS girls team did not qualify for states this year.

country teams also ended the season strong. The boys team placed 13th in Divison 4, while the girls finshed 14th.

led the Knights (17:02) in the the boys race and (21:16) had the best time for the girls.

Coach Wright Wilson noted that of the 14 runners that competed for Shrine on Saturday, only five ran in last year's state meet (Matt Arce, Morgan Button, Ben Kendell, Grace Nagle and Matt Sutton).

"Our primary goal for the day was to finish in the top half of the field as a team and we did just that," Wilson said. "Our boys matched last year's 14th-place team finish, which was actually our best finish since 1982, and we did it with a team that was much younger and not as experienced as last year's group, which was heavy with seniors."

Shrine's girls have qualified for the finals every year since 2005. They have finished in the top 15 for five years in a row. Shrine's boys have qualified every year but one since 2004. They have been in the top 15 two years in a row.

"Our girls also ran solid even though we didn't have the All-State caliber runner that we've enjoyed having the past few seasons," Wilson said. "Even though we were 13th, we were actually the third team to have all seven runners finish, which speaks well to our ability to run together as a pack."

Here are the results from the state finals at MIS:

Division 1 Boys - Royal Oak High School

28 Ben Hill 16:00 49 Max Benoit 16:16 131 Leonard Jackson 16:51 132 Adam Quinn 16:52 228 Willie Davids 17:57 239 Dan Dobras 18:15 246 Joe Ledford 18:54

Division 4 Girls - Shrine High School

82 Caitlin Snyder 21:16 89 Morgan Button 21:23 95 Maddy Luddy 21:30 111 Gabby Schmidt 21:44 148 Gen Schmidt 22:29 152 Maddie Mehall 22:35 167 Grace Nagle 22:53

Divison 4 Boys - Shrine High School

34 Ben Kendell 17:02 44 Matt Sutton 17:14 136 Matt Arce 18:24 184 Mike Guirey 19:18 208 Dominic Cardelli 19:49 231 Ted Chase 20:55 234 Kyle Pawloski 21:23
Beth Reeber Valone November 06, 2011 at 03:18 PM
Congratulations to both Royal Oak teams!
Judy Davids (Editor) November 06, 2011 at 03:42 PM
Great job boys and girls. We are all so proud of you!
Judy Davids (Editor) November 06, 2011 at 11:22 PM
What does everyone think of the Michigan International Speedway? I heard a lot of complaints how most fans only get to see the last minute or so of the race--and from quite a distance. Coach Wright Wilson provided this information: Based on a Garmin estimate, you have to actually run 2.0 miles for a good look at a 3.1 mile race (and that's while the race is going on). He added "Good luck keeping up with Ben Hill!"
Raven Dad November 06, 2011 at 11:29 PM
The boys ran great - it was a very exciting meet. However MIS was a terrible place to watch the race. I think each Division should have their own venue where the fans can actually watch the meet
Chuck Benoit November 07, 2011 at 04:05 AM
They are RIGHT!.......I ran about 1/2 mile myself trying to get to the few vantage points - was impossible to get to the finish area before the runners!.......otherwise - they have everything else you need there to accommidate the crowds........
Don Jackson November 07, 2011 at 04:22 PM
The MHSAA State Cross Country Championships shouldn't be about how much $ the MHSAA makes at the gate, or the (lack of) spectator friendliness of the course, or how easy it is or isn't for coaches, spectators, parents, etc, to see the race. It should be 100% about the student athletes. I happen to come into contact with a lot of cross country runners in my line of work and I get the impression from the vast majority of them that they love MIS. The reasons vary, from all 4 divisions at the same site on the same day boys and girls alike, to the fact that no other cross country meet is run at MIS at any time other that the state meet. It's like a bond the state qualifiers share only with other state qualifiers. Would I like to have seen my son at more than 3 spots without running around so hard I felt like I needed to look for someone with a defibulator?? Of course. Heck, my son's grandmother, great aunt, and cousin all came to see him run and they only caught a glimpse of him for a few seconds from far away after driving for 2 hours. The unfortunate fact is that track and field is a spectator sport, cross country is not. Just my .02, sorry for the long rant. Great Job Coach Barnett, Coach Piippo, ALL of the ROHSXC boys team, parents, alumni, and especially Dela Jackson and Brian Vier (for the pictures and video respectively), and Judy Davids for all of the articles on the team!! It truly was a great year for the Ravens!!
Dela Jackson November 07, 2011 at 08:53 PM
I wish MIS was available to run on during my 3 years of high school state finals. The courses I ran on sucked! They were very hilly and tough. Times were not fast either! I'm just glad my son got to accomplish his goal in his final year of XC. His goal was to get himself and the team to the state meet and run a PR. All that hard work has paid off. Way to go Ravens!


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