A minor upset that I didn’t see potentially occurring in the 3rd place battle. I will say Royal Oak’s girls had a decent track season, both their 4×8 team and in the longer distances. Troy had an excellent track season. XC last year went south as the season went on, but had some excellent performances from unexpected girls during track. Seaholm is obviously led by DaDamio, but adds some freshmen and the Deighan’s get a year older.
- Rank: 15
Last year was somewhat of down year by Seaholm’s standards, they should be slightly better this time around. They finished 2nd here and 25th in the state. I like how selective they are in their race schedule. Keeps kids fresh by the end of the year.
- Highest Rated: Audrey DaDamio
Audrey already had a pretty good freshman year, but made another leap. She’s the defending regional champ, running 18:06 here, a personal best. The next week, she was 11th at State Finals. Most of her performances were in that 18:05-18:15 range. She took another leap in track, showing range and 3200m ability.
- Career achievement/improvement: Amanda Smith
Amanda saved her best race of 2018 for last. Her 20:52 would have placed her fifth on their team (but didn’t race at State Finals?). It appears last year was her first in track, her 5:56 shows she can improve as well.
- Darkhorse: Haley Deighan
Haley had a pretty solid freshman XC campaign, but really showed some potential in track. 5:37 and 11:49 are equally impressive and show a girl who could place top 5 here.
- Rank: 25
Coming off a state title, Troy was hit by injuries, graduation, and some other unfortunate circumstances. Their group really showed some potential in track, especially in the 3200m.
- Highest Rated: Lauren Monaghan
Lauren has steadily progressed through her three years. 20:32 to 19:53 to 19:07. She should be able to improve on her 7th place finish last year.
- Career achievement/improvement: Caitlin Henning
Caitlin really made a quantum leap during track, going 5:42/12:16. Those times are indicative of someone who can flirt with the 20 minute barrier, which I think she has a real shot of doing.
- Darkhorse: Paige Anderson
Knee injuries derailed Paige’s 2018 XC season, but she recovered to run some nice 3200m’s in track. 11:47 was her best. She’s probably not all the way back, but a good bit of summer training and she should be form similar to her freshman year.
- Rank: N/R
A surprise team here, but they were young and solid last year. They were 7th here last year, 5 points away from 5th, and return their entire top 5.
- Highest Rated: Erin Swartz
Erin had a nice freshman year, running 19:27 and finishing 8th here. Other notable accomplishments include 5th at the Mott Fall Classic and 11th at Averill.
- Career achievement/improvement: emily teh
As with jett li before her, the non-capitalized name. Why are names capitalized anyway? As with swartz, emily had good races at regionals and Mott Fall Classic, her regional performance was a 21:23, a 25 second PR.
- Darkhorse: Maline Dumitracscu
Maria put forth some nice efforts in track. Hard to tell what’s more impressive between her 2:37 and 5:51. Her 3200m time was a little off, but still shows ability to run longer distances. Expecting drops of over a minute for her this fall.
Others to Watch
- Nicole Morehouse, Royal Oak
Another one with some major improvements, Nicole barely broke 22 as a freshman, then went on to smash the 21-minute barrier last year. Her best race came at Jackson, a 20:22 effort.
- Elyssa Beiderman, Beverly Hills Groves
Elyssa progressed well as last year’s season went on. 20:15 on what I believe is a tough course at Bloomer.
- Elise Nyquist
Like her brother, Elise came out of nowhere at the end of last year. She showed potential on a fast Algonac course, but laid low until a 20:08 at the MAC Championship. Her 5:48 in track shows that was no fluke.
Really another three team race. Troy and Royal Oak should be an intense battle. Royal Oak has the depth, even beyond varsity. Troy has the front-runners. Grosse Pointe South has been young for a few years, and this should be the first of a few year stretch where they have a good chance of making it back to MIS. I wouldn’t sleep on GPN or Seaholm, either.
- Rank: N/R
Troy was probably favored to make it out of regionals last year, but fell short in an upset to Brother Rice and Royal Oak. They lose O’Keefe, but return almost everyone else, many of which ran in the low 17s last year. Worth noting they finished 7th in Oakland County last year, beating Royal Oak and others that made it to MIS.
- Highest Rated: Jack Falk
Jack was consistently Troy’s second man last year. He didn’t set any personal bests, but performances like his 25th at Oakland County on a rainy day stand out. In track, he was able to set a personal best in the 3200m, dropping 30 seconds down to 9:58.
- Career achievement/improvement: Lucas Van Houten
Lucas dropped a considerable amount of time from his freshman to sophomore campaign, 18:23 to 17:06. In track this spring, he was able to show some 800m ability, running a 2:05, which placed him 6th at the Mott regional.
- Darkhorse: Liam Kelly
Hard to call a senior a darkhorse, but I’ve always felt Liam Kelly has some low 16’s in him. He flashed that potential in track, going 1:59.5 and 4:36. We’ll see if it translates to the XC course.
- Rank: N/R
This program has tremendous depth and patience. Drew Meinecke bought in, kept putting work in, kept grinding, he ended up running under 9:35 last track season. They also might put in upwards of 13 boys under 18:00. You do that and you increase the odds of finding someone with a breakout season.
- Highest Rated: Adam Hill
Adam is cut in the same vein as Meinecke. He’s been a consistent low 17/high 16 performer, but really took a leap in track season. Sub-10 multiple times and I believe he had 4:34 time trial.
- Career achievement/improvement: Ethan Sneary
Ethan has both been in the program for three years and shown improvement while doing so. For comparison sake, as a freshman he ran 20:56 at the Metro Beach PROM, last year he won it in 17:22. His track season, like many others I’ve mentioned, proved that was no fluke. 4:45/10:30. Us Michiganders do a pretty amazing job of training during the cold of winter, the Royal Oaks are a good example of that.
- Darkhorse: Weston Schroeder
I would say Connor Myatt, but I’m not sure if he’s going to Royal Oak. Weston, like many others, saved his best race for regionals. 17:35, placing 4th in the open race. He flashed some mid-distance ability this spring, busting out a 2:12/4:53.
Grosse Pointe South
- Rank: N/R
Finally, a year where South can beat North. South has been young for a few years, devoid of talent on both sides, but they should break through here.
- Highest Rated: Charles Rulison
Rulison improved quite a bit between his freshman and sophomore years, dropping his best time down to 16:25. That PR gave him a 13th place finish here. His 3200m isn’t on the level of Hill or Falk, but 10:09 is still very good for a rising junior.
- Career achievement/improvement: Abraham Abouljoud
Abraham took the same route as Rulison, albeit a bit slower, but still impressive. I had heard inklings of how he was crushing summer training, it until October to see the payoff, three 17:3x performances to end the year.
- Darkhorse: Jack Hurst
Jack came out of nowhere in track, which must have been a welcome surprise. 10:35 at the MAC Red meet placed him 5th. He did run 18:03 at the PROM, but nothing of that nature.
Others to Watch
- Preston Navarre, Grosse Pointe North
Preston continues with the theme of kids coming on strong. After barely breaking 18 as a freshman, he was a revelation, notching a 15:52 at regionals and an All-State performance.
- Brendan Cairney, Fraser
I’m sure Cairney is thankful that Tavalieri pushes him every day. Brendan missed out on a qualifier last year, but his 10:13 in track puts him in the conversation to make it this time.
- Zach Jarski, Warren DeLaSalle
Zach flashed some potential this spring with a 4:38 1600m. He never really ran a fresh 32, my guess is he had 10:15 in him.