(Muskrats, sadly will not be present on the course. Watch out for that hornets nest in the woods!)
Romeo is the clear favorite here on the girls’ side. They just reload. Two years ago, they graduated Hannah Toner. Last year, they graduate Ashley Quinn and Charlene Yarema. Ah, the product of talent, an intense middle school program, and good coaching. Madelyn Malczewski rebounded from XC to put down a great track season. She showed much improved speed in the 800, dropping 5+ seconds and broke 11:00 for the first time. My personal opinion is that my numbers have her underrated and she’s deserving of a top-30 spot. It also doesn’t hurt when your underclassmen are dedicated to the spot. Sarah Greb and her family have been around the sport for years and the Felstow triplets are apparently potentially great leaders.
Lake Orion is obviously lead by the talented Sophie Novak, but one runner does not a good team make. You need girls like Abby Locke, who has dropped time all throughout her career. You need girls like Rochelle Smith to come into the program as an upperclasswoman and drop 2 minutes in 2 months.
Jessie Schamanek from Stoney Creek has always been there in XC, but never to the extent that she was in the 1600 this spring. Her 5:09 was an 8 second PR, we will see if that carries over. Stoney benefits much from Clarkston’s move. This was an extremely tough region with Clarkston in it, now a bit more manageable. On the other hand, Clarkston moves to a horrifically hard region.
The top girls in this region are full of stories of those who’ve improved throughout their careers. Heidi Palmer is one where it took awhile longer than others, thus the payoff must be sweet. Her PR this spring of 12:33 is over a minute better than what she ran last year. She broke 20:00 for the opfirst-time last year, followed it up 9 days later with an identical performance, finishing 31st. If she can run at, or slightly better than that 12:33, she has a great shot of making it out.
Romeo vs. Stoney Creek will be a war. It’s a shame Clarkston isn’t here. Clarkston’s absence gives Lake Orion, a deserving team, a great shot of advancing. My projections have Clarkston’s move as fair, at least on the boys’ side. Girls is a different story.
I work with many people associated with Stoney Creek and Romeo, personally, this will be enjoyable for me to watch on the sidelines. I know Stoney Creek is about as much of a close-knit team you’ll find. I know the Romeo coaches are great caretakers of the program. My projections have this coming down to individual battles:
Sam Tarling & Rob Cockfield vs. Charlie Wilson
|Name||Sam Tarling||Rob Cockfield||Charlie Wilson|
Matt Medaugh vs. Luke Schwartz
|Name||Matt Medaugh||Luke Schwartz|
Tristan Brandenburg vs. Jack Kelke
|Name||Tristan Brandenburg||Jack Kelke|
Kurt Kehren vs. Zander Cobb
|Name||Kurt Kehren||Zander Cobb|
Whomever takes 3 out of these 4 matchups is likely your regional champion. Of course, you can always throw 6th and 7th runners into the mix. Jack Wallace, Owen Sharnas, Nick Fringer, and Colin Hanson are all capable of running with these folks.
Andrew Nolan can also challenge Jack Wilson. Hey, here’s another chart:
Lake Orion also has a rising sophomore, Hong Bing Tang. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can accomplish. His XC season was solid for a freshman, but not spectacular. He did finish 51st here and was on the cusp of a sub-17. It appears he made a leap in track, running 4:44/10:21, also finishing 3rd in both long distance events at Freshman Oakland County.
I’m not too well-versed on the Rochester Adams runners. Doing my research, Justin Childers really caught my eye. Justin’s first ever cross country race was a 23:36 at a time trial his freshman year. His most recent race was a 16:20 here last year.
Scott Masterson had an interesting track season. It’s not often you see someone pulling off a 100/800 double. He’s gone sub-12 multiple times in the 100, qualified for States in the 800 (1:57.3), and finished 11th here last year. If I’m a college coach, this is intriguing…