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An Early Look: Region 3

Here we are, back at it after a fun-filled, invigorating weekend.  Was a pleasure to meet the coaches from Chippewa Hills and Shepherd, and also my running is going as good as it’s been in a few years.

GIRLS

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Region 3 may not have the greatest teams in the entire state or even top-5 contenders, though the individual depth is outstanding.  There should be a significant number of girls between 20:00 and 20:30, all with great credentials and an opportunity to make it as individuals.  The team battle is fairly set, as Hudsonville, West Ottawa, and Caledonia stand above the others.  Although I have West Ottawa ranked and rated higher, Hudsonville may be the favorite because of their depth.  Just another example of how rating and scoring differs.

Ranked Teams: Holland West Ottawa (12), Hudsonville (17), Caledonia (21)

Highest Rated

  • Arianne Olson, Holland West Ottawa

Already profiled here.

  • Abby Olson, Holland West Ottawa

Your returning regional champion.  Her 18:37 here was probably her best effort of the season, followed by her 4th place finish at Otsego Bulldog and 18:59 at MIS.  She’s known for coming on late, all three years she’s progressed from the 20’s into the 18’s as fall rolls in.  She had a solid track season as well, going 5:10/11:07, two PRs.

  • Lindsey Peters, Caledonia

When Lindsey was on last year, she had some very good races.  She busted out a giant PR at Otsego Bulldog, going 18:26 in the process.  She finished 7th here, but unfortunately didn’t run so well at States.  She’s established herself as more of an 800/1600 girl in track, where she was able to go 2:18/5:13 this spring.

  • Elise Gray, Hudsonville

Other than Portage, Elise ran well to finish last season.  Her PR was set at the OK Red Championship, 18:59, her first sub-19.  She followed that up with a 4th place regional finish and a 63rd place State performance.

Career achievement/improvement

  • Jenna Kral, Hudsonville

Jenna may not be the fastest girl in this region or even ranked in my top 15, but one must appreciate her commitment and improvement.  Sub-23 as a freshman, sub-22 as a sophomore, sub-21 as a junior.  Reliability could be an apt description of her 2018 season.  Her gradual progression saw a 20:35 at Otsego Bulldog, then three sub-20:30 performances to close out the year.

Darkhorse

  • Ellie Voetberg, Portage Central

Ellie is here on the back of PR-ridden track season.  She was already speedy as a freshman, breaking 20 in cross and then going 5:30/11:36 in track.  She extended that mile ability further, dropping down to 5:24.  Can that translate to XC?  She’s had good results, but I believe sub-19 can be in her sights.

 

BOYS

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As on the girls’ side, the boys lack the firepower of top-5 teams, but a great team battle may emerge.  Hudsonville, Grandville, Zeeland West, and Caledonia are all ranked in the top 25 and all should be within 20-30 points of one another.  Hudsonville and Grandville have the depth, Hudsonville in particular should be able to put 5 guys under 17:30.  Zeeland West has as good of a top 3 that you’ll find, and that could put them in over Caledonia.

Ranked Teams: Zeeland West (16), Hudsonville (19), Grandville (23), Caledonia (25)

Highest Ranked

  • Ethan Senti, Zeeland West

Already profiled here.

  • Jozef Meyers, Kalamazoo Loy Norrix

Jozef is definitely someone who will outperform his ratings come fall.  The guy made a huge leap during track, going 4:16/9:14.  He started off last year strong with a win at the Portage Central Early Bird, but didn’t necessarily finish as strong as he did in previous years.  Hopefully that altitude training this summer will pay off in October/November.

  • Jamin Thompson, Caledonia

Jamin spent much of last season in the 16’s, hitting his best time here at regionals with a 16:20.  That earned him a 4th place finish.  On the track, he was able to set a pretty good PR in the 3200, dropping almost 20 seconds, down to a 10:04.

  • Josh Oom, Caledonia

Quietly, Josh had one of the better freshman campaigns in the state.  He didn’t start out particularly fast, in the high 17’s in early September, but broke 17 at Otsego Bulldog and didn’t look back.  He was 5th here in 16:23.

Career achievement/improvement

  • Mateo Arredondo, Zeeland West

Mateo has gone from a freshman year where the majority of his times were above 20:00 to a junior year where he had multiple sub-17 results.  Two of those stand out, a 16:29 at Allendale Falcon and a 16:45 at States, good for 39th place.

Darkhorse

  • Zac Zemba, Grandville

Like Josh Oom, Zemba flew under my radar during last season.  All his races were between 17:00 and 18:00, usually you won’t see that little variance from a young runner.  He blew up in track, however, running 4:31/9:49.  Those times were ranked 5th and 7th among all freshman boys in the Lower Peninsula.

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