As with many regions, a bit of change has occurred. Saugatuck, always on that Division 3/4 border, moves back into 4. Bridgman comes in from Division 4 and Bronson moves west from Region 23. Bronson was an extremely young team in 2019, their top 7 runners all underclassmen. They were unable to qualify as a team, but given the vast improvement seen in youngsters, should be a force to reckon with. The battle for 3rd is as tight as you’ll find, Coloma likely being the steadiest bet, having six quality runners to fall back on.
Bronson (14), Parchment (23), Coloma (25)
Highest Rated Seniors
Joe has always been a solid runner, but hit a new level last season. He was able to show his improvement on a few levels. Time-wise, a 16:28 at Portage and 16:42 at MIS stand out (as a sophomore, he didn’t run under 17:00). He’s been a top-5 finisher in the region the past two years, but nailed an All-State spot this past year.
Luis has been a consistent presence for Bronson over in Region 23-3, this year they move a bit west. Given his two previous years, he should acquit himself quite well here. He was able to slip under 17:00 late into last season and finish 53rd at State.
During Liam’s sophomore year, he was able to flash his potential, though the entirety of the season was marked by inconsistency. In 2019, he put it together each and every week. He was able to break 18:00 multiple times, but his 18:02 (15th place) may be the most impressive.
Winners win, and although Luke hasn’t technically won a race, he’s always been able to pull through in big races. With the move to Division 3, Luke should be more than capable of being in the mix. He’s finished All-Region in each season and has been top-10 in Berrien County the past two years.
Walker’s two years at Buchanan have been nearly identical. 6th, then 3rd at Regionals. 41st both years at State. The ratings value consistency at Walker has brought that. There have been subpar performances, but they’re few and far between, and outweighed by runs such as his freshman regional performance, a 0:25 PR that came out of nowhere.
Garrett was able to experience some significant drops last year, both in awards and time. He knocked nearly a minute off his PR (in tougher conditions as well, Otsego vs. MIS), reached top-10 at Regionals, and finished 17th at State.
Ava Genovese has been a revelation for Coloma’s girls team, Boden should be her equal on the boys’ side. He’s quietly been dominant in the Southwestern scene, beaten only once last year. That defeat came at Portage, where he finished 3rd. In his victories, he was able to run in the low-11’s, breaking that barrier once.
As stated earlier, Bridgman find themselves in Division 3. Beginning the 2019 season ranked 17th, early season performances indicated a special team. They were knocked off slightly at Portage, but recovered to win the Division 4 State Title. They lose Mikaela Owen to Wayne State, where she’ll contribute on the track, and in the process, will need to find a fifth runner. That is where Bloomingdale should step in, with runners such as Olaisa Moss and Marta Douglas that can provide quality depth.
Bridgman (17), Bloomingdale (19)
Highest Rated Seniors
Karsyn is the senior leader and top returner on this very successful Bridgman squad. Her 6th place finish at MIS, a PR on a tough day, set the course for their state title. She’s always been very good, with three consecutive top-5 regional finishes and two All-State honors.
Kallie’s reliability will be a major factor in Bloomingdale’s success. You can pick out any race in her career and you’ll find a great performance. She’s been All-Region twice and is almost always in the 20:00 range.
When she’s on, Aubree can bring it with anyone in this region. After all, she’s the defending champ. Her 1st place finish was her third straight qualifier. That Centreville course ran slower than most, and her 20:10 there was certainly a sub-20 equivalent after the adjustment.
Mary has always racked up the medals and honors, but not to the level that she did last season. She’s been top-15 in the region in each year she’s competed. In 2019’s Fennville open, she was able to secure her first victory, and at Portage, her first run below 20:30.
The additions of Arie and Summer Fast were also major influences on Bridgman’s title run. Arie is a multi-sport star who took her talents to cross country. She started slow, in the 22-23:00 range, but with some racing under her belt, moved into the low-20’s. Her season ended with a clutch 11th place finish at MIS, her first sub-20 performance.
Both Schlabach girls were able to have some success last year. Gabriella was able to dip under 20:00 at Portage (October 5th) and Abigail was able to match that a week later at Bloomingdale. They’ve both been All-Region all three years and in 2019, the top two finishers at the St. Joseph County Meet.