Region 2 is about as well-represented of a region you’ll find. One team in the top 10, one ranked 11-20, one ranked 21-25. It’s fair, there’s a battle at the top, but shouldn’t be too much drama past the top three teams.
Bay City Western has been well-documented. Their distance relays just finished an outstanding season, finishing 1st in the 4×8 at States and 3rd in the DMR at NBN. They return three of those girls, Ashlyn Nagel, Karissa Picard, and Jenna Picard. The rich even get richer as Ashlyn’s younger sister, Ambria Nagel moves up to join the team. From their social media, one thing present is the positive accountability their coaches provide, much attention is given to the work their athletes put in.
Fenton returns four girls from a squad that finished 9th at last year’s State Finals. What would normally be a tough job to replace over 40% of your top 7 is an afterthought, as they had 9 girls under 21, 4 of which being freshmen. Emily Grob is probably the most impressive of those, she ended up going 5:38 in track. The girl I’d expect to outperform her rating is Jessica Adams, her 12:26 in track was a massive PR and no fluke either, as she had multiple performances in the mid-12’s.
The freshman class will have a large impact on Grand Blanc. Sophia and Lola Thomas were both able to run in the 12’s as middle schoolers last year. They’d often finish 2nd or 3rd, mainly because Skylar Lee was out there winning. Skylar then ran 5:20/11:35 in track, expect her to be one of the better freshmen girls in the state.
Madi Szymanski is coming off a freshman year where she was able to spend much time in the 19’s. She had a breakthrough race here, finishing 6th in 18:37. That carried over to track, where she ran 5:22 in early April. Her season was cut short, hopefully she’ll be back in form in a few months.
Can Emma Banning recapture her form from her sophomore year? Track season indicates that could happen, a 5:29 is definitely in line with the low 19 performances she’s capable of and has run in the past.
Fenton could very well possibly place five runners in the top 20. Adam Jesse is a top 30 runner, but he did this mainly on the back of his track season. His 9:29 was a bit better than some of his counterparts who finished similarly at MIS. Two other members of their crew also had excellent 32 times, Gage Bond and Logan Canada. Gage nearly broke 10 and Logan snuck right under. As with Jesse, both were improvements in condition in relation to XC. They’re one of a few teams (Stony Creek, TCC, Cedar Springs) that should be on the cusp of that top 5.
Prior to last year, I may have thought Saginaw Heritage would be in a rebuilding year. They had potential, but probably underdogs to make it to States. Lo and behold, they made it again. I’m curious to see where they’ll place on JFTMichigan’s list of consecutive qualifiers. They’re a young team that has put many people under 18, meaning my top 7 might not be the top 7 at year’s end. There’s potential, but there’s also protection against subpar performances or injuries. Brady Neumann is their top guy. As a sophomore he was able to finish 8th here last year and then run 9:55 in track.
Davison is projected as the third team here, largely on the strength of their 5th-7th runners. The race between them and Midland Dow should be equal through their top 4s, but Davison can take the next 3 spots. That shouldn’t diminish the track season of Jason Millis, which was outstanding. 4:31/9:43, if he continues that form, could put him in the top 3 here.
Jeremy Williams has been begging and pleading for this preview, he should make a leap this fall. His track profile indicates someone who’s more endurance-based, even if that didn’t show last year. 9:59 as a freshman shows the potential, even with the greater weight applied to XC, he’s still rated top 15 here. Long story short, he could be higher.
He doesn’t know it, but Cameron Smith has long been a bane of my existence. Common names screw with Excel sheets (looking at you too, Paige Anderson and Jacob Brown). He broke the 10 minute barrier this spring. He was 11th last year and looks to be putting in mileage already this summer.