The Falcons have one of Observerland #8217;s best runners in senior Drew Lindman. / John Stormzand | Staff Photographer





Farmington has one of the area's best runners leading the way in what the Falcons hope will be another successful season in boys cross country.

Senior Drew Lindman was a Division 1 state qualifier and an All-Observer, first-team selection last year. He's also the defending city champion, running his best time (16:46) in that meet at Oakland Community College.

“Drew works really hard, and it's great to have that in your No. 1 runner,” coach Charlie Stamboulian said, adding Lindman sets a great example for the team. “He's very goal-oriented. He wants to get back to the state meet again.”

Senior Paolo Guarano was consistently in the team's top five and also returns. He had a good track season and worked hard in the summer as did Lindman, according to Stamboulian.

“He's been really motivated,” he said. “I like what I've seen from him and all the upper classmen on the team.”

The Falcons lost three quality seniors to graduation. Nimantha Herath, Andrew Brown and Shawn-Michael Fields were nearly always in the top five.

“They'll be missed,” Stamboulian said, “but we have some younger kids we'll look to step up into new roles and fill their shoes on the varsity.”

Juniors Brian Hanley and Mitchell Modzel were in the top seven last year at different times, and Stamboulian expects them to move up and help compensate for the graduation losses.

“Mitchell was in the top five at the league and regional meets, and Brian wasn't that far behind,” Stamboulian said. “They're tough kids and they should give us a good competitive edge in our varsity spots.”

As the Falcons get ready to start the 2012 season, Stamboulian's primary concern is finding a fifth runner.

“There are a large group of guys who can do it, but it will take a little while to figure out who that is,” he said.

Seniors Neil Macklin-Camel, Yoshua Mathai and Ben Heckathorn, junior Jacob Baxter and sophomore Mark Rasak are returning runners, too.

Farmington has three new seniors in Ryan Scalzo, Dylan Welch and Michael Zimmer, and freshmen Jacob Bartus, Austin Jones, John Randle and Ryan Stanek complete the team.

“Our team looks pretty good from the standpoint Drew will give us a very high place or very low score at No. 1,” Stamboulian said. “With that type of power up front, it's almost like we're scoring four guys, and we're pretty strong at our second, third and fourth positions.

“What will really determine our success is who that fifth guy is and how much of a gap there is between our second and fifth runners.

“Once we get a few races under our belts and continue to work in practice, hopefully, we'll move in the right direction and continue some of the success we've had the last few years.”

Farmington is the defending OAA White Division champ, and it will try to win a 10th consecutive city championship Oct. 1 at OCC.

“I don't know exactly what the other (division) teams have,” Stamboulian said. “We should be pretty strong up front with Drew and Paolo, and we're pretty solid in our pack with Mitchell and Brian.

“I think we'll be pretty competitive. Only time will tell how well we do in the first few jamborees.”

The Falcons begin the season Saturday in the U-of-D Mercy's Tommy Titan Invitational at Cass Benton Park in Northville. The first OAA White jamboree is Tuesday, Sept. 11, at OCC.