(Not many iconic pictures of DeWitt out there. They do have a very good girls team, as we’ll find out later.)
I always love seeing regions where it looks like there will be a competition for third place. Last year, Potterville and Saranac duked it out, Potterville winning out. Potterville has moved up to Division 3, Saranac is still here, but I’ve got Morrice in that spot this year. Morrice finished 9th last year, but it looks as if they’re adding some freshmen. That third place will likely come down to those freshmen, especially if they can place ahead of Saranac’s 3rd or 4th runners.
Ranked Teams: Lansing Christian (3), Fowler (19)
- Madison Volz, Lansing Christian
Mistakenly thought I had covered Madison in the top 30, but she’s juuust outside of that top 30. So you’re getting four girls in this section. She had quite the end to last cross season, PRing in 18:10 at Apples to Apples. One of the reasons she’s a little underrated is her times at Regionals/States, but the results are there, 1st in her region and 2nd in the State.
- Lexi Kinnas, Lansing Christian
Lexi has had a very good first two years for the Pilgrims. Two consecutive top-20 finishes at the State meet and two years spending time under 20:00. A very low variance last year too, in the big meets she hovered around that 20:00 mark in just about every one.
- Ashlyn Kephart, Lansing Christian
Incoming freshman has broken 13:00 all three years in middle school. Her best result came last October, a 12:44 at Apples to Apples. I’ve said it a thousand times, hard to project freshmen, but one has to marvel at her consistency.
- Adrianne Rector, Dansville
As a freshman last year, Adrianne was able to show great improvement as the year went on. She began the year running in the 22-23 min. range, but as October rolled around, progressed down to 20-21. A few results stand out, such as her top-10 finishes at Larry Steeb, Apples to Apples, and regionals.
- Hayley Lademann, Morrice
Gotta love a girl who’s qualified in 15th place the past two years, both by margins of under 5 seconds. This year, she finally has a team capable of supporting her. While the PRs haven’t been fruitful, she has finished top-100 at MIS the past two seasons.
- Olivia Datema, Fowler
Give credit to Olivia, she ran a ton of races last season, 17 are listed online. She hung in there and by the time regionals came around, she was able to break into the 21’s. Her track times indicate she may still be on the rise, as she was able to go 6:03/13:17. Neither are out of this world, but show someone definitely capable of being in the high 20’s or low 21’s on a fair course.
Quite surprising the Saranac/Morrice battle is so tight given the rankings. What likely makes it so is the strength of Morrice’s 2-4, at least relative to others. Between Dansville and Whitmore Lake, Whitmore Lake will hope for a gap between their 5th runners, while Dansville will hope their incoming freshmen are the real deal, as they’ve got two who have run sub-12.
Ranked Teams: Saranac (7), Morrice (13)
- Nathan Lott, Webberville
Nathan was one of the more impressive freshmen in the state last year. He ran solidly for most of the season, dotting some mid to low 17’s. The big breakthroughs came in late October, his 16:41 at Class D gave him a 3rd place finish. That was followed up by 2nd here and 27th at States. His ability really showed on the track, where a 10:06 3200m was 3rd at State Finals.
- Grayson Rasmus, Saranac
Grayson had a great freshman season, similar to Lott, even a little bit faster. In that 2017 campaign, he set his lifetime PR of 16:26 and finishing 21st in the state. Last year was a bit tougher, but he still managed a top-5 regional finish. Signs of life were abundant in track, as he dipped under 10:00 at the Greater Lansing meet and finished 6th at States in that same event.
- Caleb Rivers, Morrice
At the head of Morrice’s solid pack is Caleb Rivers. Like Rasmus, he didn’t run as fast as his 2017 freshman season, but he was able to establish a bit more consistency. After not breaking 18:00 in September, he finished under that line in 4 of 6 races in October/November. The best performance was probably at States, a 17:36.
- Clay Rinna, Whitmore Lake
After being above 19:00 during his freshman year, Clay has been in the mid to low 17’s the past two years. His best time came as a sophomore, a 17:24, but his best regional performance and first time qualifying came last year, where he was 11th. He, along with his Whitmore Lake teammates, move down from Division 3 to Division 4 for this go round.
- Joseph Kadlubowski, Dansville
Joseph isn’t listed on Dansville’s roster yet, but it’s hard to believe that someone who has run three years in their middle school program won’t run in high school. His past two years, he’s been in that mid-11 to 13 min. range. His best time comes from last fall, a 11:28 at Apples to Apples. Also ran a 14:30 4k for the USATF regional, throw that in a converter and it spits out 18:23. Bottom line, if he runs for Dansville, he’s likely top-12 at least.