Wow, this is a tough spot to be in on the girls’ side. 5 teams in the top 25, 6 in the top 27, and New Boston Huron is right there as well. There will be some very good, deserving teams staying at home in November.
Dearborn Divine Child graduated luminaries such as Kaitlin Murray and Audrey Renaud, luckily they’re rife with young talent ready to carry on their tradition. Kudos to Mif for really giving this program a jolt. Coming off successful track seasons are Erin Hegarty, Brooke Aho, and Haley Aho. They were all close or below 12:00 in the 3200.
Tecumseh brings in some middle school talent that will bolster their program. They had 3 8th graders, Chesney Wilke, Kelsey Knape, and Kaylee Pesta under 13:00 at one point or another last fall. Kelsey’s older sister, Kaitlin Knape, set some huge PRs last fall en route to a 37th place finish at States.
It could go many ways from there. I have Chelsea and Grosse Ile very close to one another. They’ll likely go about it in different scenarios. Chelsea has the pack, and could put 5, maybe 7, in front of Grosse Ile’s 4th girl. Two runners from each team that could give some optimism heading into this heated battle are Chelsea’s Natalie Davies, who dropped a 12:07 3200m after a cross season where she nearly broke 21 and Grosse Ile’s incoming freshman, Avery Brooks.
Unfortunately, Madison Price’s season was cut short last year. She rebounded with some nice times on the track, running 5:19/11:57.
Seanna Schmidt has been All-State her past three years. She’s been top 10 at this region, but never a winner. She’s the best in this field, will be excited to see if she gets to wear that crown this fall.
I’m not seeing much drama on the boys’ race. Chelsea has great depth, Dearborn Divine Child has the Hancocks and some solid runners to back them up, and Adrian should be able to put their top 5 under 18:30 on this traditionally slow (probably the toughest flat course in the state) course. Fun fact, I was a part of creating this course way back in 2008. Completely forgot about that day prior to writing this.
Will Scott has made tremendous leaps each season for Chelsea. Completely unexpected top-15 finish at States last year, followed by a track season that saw him go 9:42. Expect him to be a sub-16 candidate if he continues to put in the work. Nearly all of their projected top 7 has steadily progressed, but a special shout out goes to Erik Reiber, who was able to drop nearly 2 minutes last season. He followed that up by running 4:45 this spring.
If Divine Child is going to move into the top 10, it will come on the backs of their 3rd-7th runners. Adam Polakowski could be slated for growth, running 10:22 early this spring. Another one to watch is Peter Ciarelli, who saved his best race for last, running 17:48 at States. He’s bound to improve given last year was his first racing on the grass.
Adrian hasn’t sent an individual since 2016 and hasn’t sent their team since 2010. Incoming freshman Aiden Smith is a huge factor in why they may break those streaks. He broke 11:00 in both XC and track, and was also able to run 4:56 on the track. Riley Malarney dropped some considerable time, his 4:43 indicative of an athlete capable of being top-10 here.
Always have liked seeing kids succeed from schools you wouldn’t expect. D’Anthony Shaw was well into the 17’s many times last season, then followed it up with 4:44/10:21 in track.
A sleeping giant of a school is New Boston Huron. They have dirt roads all around, Willow right across the street, and the Downriver population is slowly settling toward that area. They’re probably a few years away. Ayden Roupe and Drew Bean are two candidates to make it to Brooklyn. They both broke 5:00 in track and 18:00 in XC.