Looking forward to the mini clinic tomorrow. Hope to see some of you there!
Not often you see a team battle that may score out this way, but it’ll likely be a unique competition between Marshall and Plainwell. Plainwell has an outstanding top three, it might even be the best top three in the entire state (if Dudek is truly not coming back). Marshall likely won’t dent into that, but they can put their next five in front of Plainwell’s fourth. Of course, there are other teams involved that will impact the scoring. But both teams are impressive in their own way, Marshall will likely be better in larger meets, Plainwell in smaller meets, relatively speaking. They’re both great and are the class of this region.
Ranked Teams: Plainwell (3), Marshall (14), Parma Western (19)
- Makenna Veen, Plainwell
- Elka Machan, Coldwater
Elka returns from an outstanding outdoor campaign where she set some major PRs. Hard to pick an event that stands out so I’ll list them all. 2:29 > 2:20, 5:23 > 5:03, 11:39 > 11:06. Her transformation really started to take part during cross last year, as she dropped nearly two minutes from her best time. That improvement led to a 2nd place finish here and 17th at MIS.
- Grace Pettit, Plainwell
Another impactful incoming freshman, Grace was defeated only once last year. She hovered around that 12:00 mark, but threw in a few 11:40ish performances. She ran similar times during track, but her one indoor performance stands out, a 3200m at Grand Valley where she hung with the likes of Lani Bloom and Maddy Malczewski.
- Mackenzie Hill, Plainwell
Mackenzie really came on strong as last season went on. She spent much of September running over 20:00, then busted out a 19:22 at Otsego Bulldog. She finished at 18:59, which was good for 16th at MIS. Mackenzie showed some mid-distance ability on the track, going 2:22/5:11
- Kayla Eklund, Richland Gull Lake
For the past two seasons, Kayla has been an individual qualifier over at Gull Lake. 2018 produced her highest regional finish, a 5th place. Her race there was also a PR, 19:15. She’s another one that threw out some major PRs on the track, 5:47 > 5:24 and 13:31 > 12:01.
- Alyna Lewis, Parma Western
I feel obliged to include a girl from Parma. They’re a top-20 team, likely to make it out of here. Alyna stepped in as a freshman last year and went 19:21. She was 7th here, but really stood out in the 800m, where she ran 2:17.
Admittedly, I know very little about Hastings. They’ve not been a traditional power, at least as far back as I can remember. One should love their experience, their top seven are all seniors. And thus, this team race shouldn’t be too much of a competition. Hastings has both depth and the frontrunners. Charlotte has a chance to pull into that 3rd spot if they can find a fifth runner, but I believe GR South Christian and Marshall are pretty impenetrable, they both have enough backup in case one of their top 5 has a bad day.
Ranked Teams: Hastings (13), Grand Rapids South Christian (25)
- Koby Fraaza, Richland Gull Lake
- Todd Henley, Hopkins
Gotta love Todd’s gradual progression into a great runner. He’s steadily dropped time, 17:45 to sub-17 to almost breaking 16:00. His PR of 16:03 came in a 2nd place performance at Allendale Falcon. Times slowed a bit as the season went on, but he did secure another 2nd place at this regional.
- Kobe Blanco, Charlotte
One thing for sure, Kobe is putting in work this summer. He’s been Charlotte’s stud for the past two years, with multiple performances in the 16’s. He may have had better times in 2017, but he was able to finish the season in 2018 with an individual qualifier and an 82nd place at States. Like many others, he made a major leap in track, dropping down to 4:29.
- Micah VanderKooi, Grand Rapids South Christian
Micah is an 800m sensation that’s also shown some cross ability. His best season arguably came as a sophomore, where he went 15:56. The track is where he really shines, for much of the season, he was in the top 5 in the state. He finished his season with three straight 1:56.x races and a 4th place at States.
- Aidan Makled, Hastings
For the past two seasons, Aidan has finished top-6 at this regional. Both years, he’s spent the end of the season consistently running in the 16’s. He should be at the head of the Hastings group this time around.
- Kyle Foulk, Coldwater
Kyle’s inconsistency last year ended up hurting him when it came to his ratings. He definitely showed some potential, a 16:42 at Otsego Bulldog being an example. Some steps were taken in track, starting at Golden Triangle. A 9:56 there led to a 9:48 at regionals and a 9:51 at States. If he’s in that form, he’s contending with Henley, Blanco, and VanderKooi for that 2nd spot.