(The only “hill” in Wayne County outside of Cass Benton.)
Recovering from a long day (long run this morning and XC day at our stores) and there’s no better way to wind down the night than with another preview. This girls’ side is pretty straight forward. You have three dominant top-10 teams that should easily qualify. The battle for first should be intriguing, both Plymouth and Salem have the front-runners to compete, but can they develop the rest of their team?
Ranked Teams: Northville (3), Salem (6), Plymouth (10)
- Lauren Kiley, Plymouth
- Yasmine Mansi, Northville
- Londyn Swenson, Plymouth
For anyone running as well as Londyn did last year, it’s unreal that she didn’t finish first in any single race. 2nd at Jefferson, Warrior Classic, Wayne County. But in spite of all that, she did manage to go 18:20 and finish 6th in this region. She moves up here mainly because of a solid track season, where she was able to drop her 3200m PB to 11:17.
- Reagan Justice, Salem
Salem really has a way of having their best runners peak and peak hard. Throughout much of the season, Reagan was in the 19’s. Which is solid, but in no way could one tell she’d run 18:17 at this region. She narrowly missed out on All-State, but I think she’ll get there this year.
- Olivia Millen, Salem
Olivia made some great improvements last year to become one of the better runners in the region. She was definitely above average as a freshman, running sub-20 as the season wound down. But in 2018, she started from a much faster place, then continued that same time drop. That ended with a win at Gabriel Richard, a 5th place finish here, and a PR of 18:30.
- Sierra Greener, Livonia Churchill
Sierra has had some ups and downs the past two years, but at the end of it all, she’s gotten better. Among her better races have been a 19:27 at Ramblin’ Rock, 19:48 at Coaching Legends, and a 19:20 at the KLAA finals. She finished 26th here last year, if she can establish some consistency, she has a good chance to make it out to MIS.
- Marissa Henry, Salem
Freshman had a solid debut in XC last fall. 20th at this region with multiple sub-20 performances. Showed some mid-distance ability this spring, going 2:28/5:30.
Okay, this is where the region gets interesting. Let’s just say it – Plymouth is a major question mark. Their top three are among the best top three you’ll find, but there’s a search for four other runners to round out their varsity. In certain regions, that would be enough, but there are so many quality runners here that it may too great a margin to make up. Catholic Central may face the same predicament. Perelli is a favorite to make All-State, but their depth doesn’t match up as well as Northville, Salem, or Canton. What may be the most incredible thing about this region is the sheer number of above average athletes. Of the 84 runners in the team race, I have 56 of them rated above 160 (around 18:00 on a Willow Metropark).
Ranked Teams: Plymouth (9), Detroit Catholic Central (15), Salem (17), Canton (18), Northville (21)
- Carter Solomon, Plymouth
- Patrick Byrnes, Plymouth
- Luke Perelli, Detroit Catholic Central
- Talha Syed, Salem
It seems that if you want to be anything in this region, you have to start out as a sub-18:00 freshman. Talha was that, he even got down to 16:49 at Gibraltar’s Marauder Invite. He was running around the same times this year, but busted out a 16:20 at Gabriel Richard. Talha has two things going for him. One, he’s heading into his junior year. I’m not aware of every single runner, but typically, juniors have less miles on their legs, and thus more room for improvement. Two, he ran a 9:28 out of nowhere at regionals in track.
- Matt Whyte, Novi
Matt is here mainly because of his steadiness. There are no real outstanding performances, save a 16:53 on a wet day at Oakland County, but no real disappointing performances either. Spartan Invitational was its typical conditions – hot and annoying, he ran 16:45. State was a mudbath, he ran 16:37. Given his gradual improvement throughout the years, he’s a safe bet to do the same thing, albeit a bit faster.
- Tyler Mussen, Plymouth
The last of Plymouth’s great trio. Tyler was one of the main reasons Plymouth rose to the occasion last year. Carter Solomon was always going to be in the top-5, but runners like Tyler needed to step up. Early in the season, it looked like that may not happen, but once Coaching Legends came around, he turned it on. A 16:22 there (13th) led to even more drops, including breaking 16:00 at the KLAA finals.
- Colin Sheahan, Livonia Stevenson
Livonia Stevenson was once a school that consistently made it to States, now as the population has shifted further north and west, they’ve fallen a bit behind. Colin should be able to stem that tide this year. Toward the end of last year, he was well into the 16’s, a few examples being his 16:44 at Wayne County and 16:21 at KLAA. He’s dropped some serious time too, as a freshman he barely broke 18:00.
- Luke Nelson, Salem
Luke had an unreal reliability for Salem last year, especially for a freshman. Where you’ll usually see high variance on a week to week basis, Luke stayed right around that 17:30 range all year. The reason he’s a darkhorse are his times on the track. As we moved forward into May, he ran 10:04, 10:00, 10:09, and 10:25 in consecutive races. Times like those lead one to believe he’ll be in contention for a top-15 spot.