Emma Squires and Kendall Schopieray should mutually benefit from one another. I’ve got them rated a second apart. Last season saw Squires win 3 of the 4 matchups, but Schopieray bested her at States. Track seasons were nearly identical, with both running 11:02. Projecting for XC this year, I have the 9th to 10th grade transition improving at a faster rate than the 10th to 11th grade, so that may be why the numbers have Schopieray slightly ahead.
Both schools have solid programs and culture, and should easily make it another weekend. Petoskey started last season off strong with an incredible performance at the Charlevoix Mud Run. The course must have run fast comparative to previous years, as I doubted its validity. The team backed up their performance with a 3rd place finish at States. The Northwomen return their entire top 7 and 9 of their top 10. Their top 5 all set PRs in the longer distance events this spring, Caroline Farley, Ahna Vanderwall, Noel Vanderwall, and Sarah Liederbach all in that 12-minute range for the 3200m.
Susie Huckle from Cadillac ran a MARATHON over at Bayshore (3:30, I believe). That base will set her up for fall. Chloie Musta is a girl slated for a huge improvement. Her 2:18 800 gave her a 9th place finish at States, and it was a 22 second drop from last season. She also ran a 5:47 on April 18th, but one would believe that would be closer to 5:15 at least if run later in the season. Her XC best is 20:22, and if she continues on that trajectory, 20 minutes will be a mere afterthought.
Sparta’s success here will likely derive from their 2nd-4th runners and being able to potentially put their 6th in front of Fremont, Whitehall, and Ludington’s 5th. Samantha Huizen let loose some PRs in track, going from 6:09 > 5:45 and 13:18 > 12:25. That may put her closer to the top 15.
Hanna Brock ran mostly 800’s in track and she ended up running 2:27, a nearly 10 second improvement from last year. How that carries over to XC is anyone’s guess, but it sure gives some positive momentum.
Cambrie Smith made some huge leaps last year, breaking 20 for the first time and following that up with a 11:52 in track.
I hope Ruby Strahan can recapture her form from the 2017 season, where she ran 18:40 and then finished 23rd at States. Her track times suggest that may happen, highlighted by an 11:55 ran in April.
Sparta is ranked as a top 10 team, but you wouldn’t know it by these projections. Fremont is just that good. Nathan Walker has already been profiled. The incredible part of their team is the lack of seniors, a sight rarely seen. Ben Paige has been in the 16’s his first two years, Conor Somers went 4:40/9:56/16:10 as a freshman. Even a guy like Joshua Zerfas, who’s likely their 5th runner, has been in the 16’s in 9th/10th grade.
Sparta benefits from that good ol’ pack running. Projections show around a 30 second gap between their first and fifth runners. Hayden Cook and Chase Wilson are the stars of the group, both running into the 16:40s, but narrowly missing qualifying for States. A 10:16 3200m in track leads me to believe Chase Hubert might be in line for an improvement, in this region, that could be top 12.
Matthew Hardesty and Ethan Fuller will be key factors if Big Rapids advances into November. Their performances rate higher than other 4/5 runners in the teams below them. Ryan Ososki is their freshman sensation, anytime you break 17 as a freshman, you’re in line to do some things later in your career.