|Place||Team||Score||1st Girl||2nd Girl||3rd Girl||4th Girl||5th Girl||6th Girl||7th Girl|
|1||East Grand Rapids||55||2||7||10||16||20||33||41|
|3||Grand Rapids Christian||140||1||4||28||35||72||78||102|
|4||Forest Hills Eastern||161||19||21||24||37||60||74||94|
|20||Dearborn Divine Child||451|
|21||Grand Rapids South Christian||466|
|24||Remus Chippewa Hills||527|
|26||Bloomfield Hills Marian||578|
The East Grand Rapids dynasty continues. They’ve been such a face of Division 2 success that everyone should know their home run hitters. Cammy Bodine is the 800m star, Drew Muller has range for every distance, and MIS may very well be Ainsley Workman’s home course (three straight top-10’s). But let’s concentrate on a few others: Abigail Petr returns from a few disjointed seasons to shore up the back of their speedy pack. Sophia Lado has run in the low-19’s on multiple occasions. Sadey Seyferth has to be a mudder, her best performance of the year came at Regionals. While we’re at it, let’s not forget Katie Edison, the senior security blanket who’s been in the low-20’s all year.
Some were wondering, especially after the loss of Smith, Squires, Liederbach, and Harris – why was Petoskey ranked so high in the summer? Their returning runners, although not featured as often because of their outstanding 2021 class, had posted some solid times in 2020. The pre-season rankings don’t account for this, but if they did, this would be a factor. The North(wo)men just get better throughout the year. A prime example of that would be CamBrie Corey. She was above 21:00 at Spartan and has been sub-20 in her past three races.
Grand Rapids Christian is so young, oh so young. Behind Madelyn Frens, their main group consists of four sophomores. They’re in a tough conference, constantly running against East Grand Rapids, so the Eagles are gunning for it in any conference meet. And in the final OK White Meet, they suffered a narrow defeat by the slimmest of margins. Can they summon another effort on the big stage?
|2||12||Madelyn Frens||Grand Rapids Christian||153.5|
|3||10||Drew Muller||East Grand Rapids||151.0|
|5||10||Natalie VanOtteren||Grand Rapids Christian||148.3|
|7||12||Sarah Storey||Remus Chippewa Hills||140.3|
|8||11||Camryn Bodine||East Grand Rapids||137.9|
|10||10||Emma DeVries||GR West Michigan Aviation||136.8|
|12||12||Ainsley Workman||East Grand Rapids||134.7|
|13||10||Allison Kuzma||Zeeland East||134.2|
|16||12||Lily Mataway||Flint Powers Catholic||133.5|
|17||12||Grace Zdankiewicz||Warren Regina||133.1|
|20||9||Sadey Seyferth||East Grand Rapids||131.6|
|21||12||Alyna Lewis||Parma Western||130.6|
|22||10||Clara Fletcher||St. Johns||130.5|
|23||11||Lily Parker||Spring Lake||129.5|
|26||11||Ellory Clason||Forest Hills Eastern||127.0|
|27||10||Sophia Lado||East Grand Rapids||126.8|
|28||11||Sarah Dixon||Forest Hills Eastern||126.6|
|31||10||Ashlyn Smith||Forest Hills Eastern||125.4|
|32||10||Emily Tomes||Grand Rapids Catholic Central||125.4|
|33||9||Ava Crews||Middleville Thornapple-Kellogg||125.0|
|39||10||Payton Holtz||Grand Rapids Christian||122.7|
|40||12||Haileigh Bissett||North Branch||122.5|
|41||12||Maggie Duba||Grand Rapids West Catholic||122.3|
|46||11||Abigail Petr||East Grand Rapids||119.7|
|47||10||Zoe Hoke||Pontiac Notre Dame Prep||119.6|
|49||10||Naomi Nelson||Grand Rapids Christian||119.3|
If there’s some sort of career achievement award, Madelyn Frens deserves it. Not just for her accomplishments and accolades, but the curveballs thrown her way. She didn’t complete her 2019 State Meet, having to be helped off the course. She came back from that to finish top-5 the following year, and then the next spring, capture her first State title. This fall, she busted out a 17:56 opener at Benzie. The following week, it was unbearable to even run. The Alter-G became home as she worked through a thigh split (12 years of working in run specialty and I’ve never heard of this), and she’s back and ready to hurt for another title.
Mary Richmond, on the other hand, has run a TON of races this year. And at first glance – are there any poor performances? Quite amazingly, no. Her lowest rated races came in victories at TVC 8 meets, understandable. Her defeats to other competitors, she was pulled along to a 17:56 at Shepherd.
After a bit of a slow start (though I was at each of the races, she was cruising), Meghan Ford has come back into her own in October. She’s posted three 150+ races in October, the equivalent of 18:30 and below. She’s won her second consecutive Regional championship. Hard to not mention this as well – she’s the top returner in the field.
|Place||Team||Score||1st Boy||2nd Boy||3rd Boy||4th Boy||5th Boy||6th Boy||7th Boy|
|4||Grand Rapids Christian||186||7||10||47||58||64||90||130|
|9||East Grand Rapids||310||28||61||62||76||83||95||121|
|13||Flint Powers Catholic||381|
|16||Battle Creek Harper Creek||424|
|19||Dearborn Divine Child||458|
|23||Grand Rapids South Christian||536|
|25||Grand Rapids Catholic Central||580|
|29||Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood||753|
The Otsego boys were aghast at their pre-season ranking and rightfully so. As the season started revving up, so did the Bulldogs ranking. Their coming out party was at Spartan, where they placed 6th and beat many top tier D1 teams. They continued that hot streak to Cougar Falcon, Otsego Bulldog, and haven’t been challenged since. Nick Cockerel has been the low stick at the front, but their rise was fueled by two “newcomers”, Tristin Canales and Chase Brown. Chase has had an unfortunate string of injuries derailing his career, but he’s completed this entire season, a wonderful accomplishment. Tristin took the 2020 season off and in that two year absence, managed to drop a minute+ from his 2019 best.
As Jacob Tanner noted in his “Top Fives” (seriously cannot thank him enough for putting that out earlier in the week, makes this job a ton easier), Chelsea has been a bit polarizing in their performances. Their great performances are title worthy (Region 18, Spartan), their subpar performances are Top 5 worthy. They’re basically the D2 Boys version of Brighton, although they have recent evidence of a great race. Bram Hartsuff and Connell Alford should be able to mix it up with Canales and Cockerel, their 3rd through 5th will need to give a similar effort to Lake Erie to stoke the upset. Jonas Norwood seems to be the bellwether, at Spartan and Lake Erie, he ran the equivalent of 16:30-40.
As the weather began to change, so did Grand Rapids Christian. The Eagles rise began to come about at Otsego Bulldog, where they bested an Adrian squad. Tinsae Nelson and Ben Zwart have been frontrunners all year, almost inseparable. That combination is lethal in a pressure-filled setting, they can key off each other deep into the race. But the aforementioned rise was the result of Simon Triezenberg, Dylan Clark, and Reuben Wiering decreasing their time and upping their game.
Pinckney has been extremely selective in their racing and that should leave their squad fresh and ready to compete. Caleb Jarema is a known quantity, their success will come from the rest of the pack. In the Pirates victory over Chelsea at SEC 2, their pack of Ben Richards, Zach Debeauclair, and Evan Loughridge finished in front of Chelsea’s 3rd boy. The task is expanded for this race, can they stay ahead of everyone’s 3rd boy?
St. Johns is the biggest riser of the bunch. Unbenownst to myself prior to the season, Joey Bowman transferred in from Lansing Everett. Joey was an outstanding freshman, having finished the year breaking into the 16’s. It’s taken a bit of time to find that form, but it’s been found come championship season, especially prominent in his Region 14 victory. Griffin Armbrustmacher and Michael Dennis are holdovers from last year’s runner-up squad, Isaac Staib and Tyler Dohm are rapidly improving. If these ratings only included the past month of racing, I have no doubt the Redwings would be a top-3 outfit.
|2||12||Ian Hill||Spring Lake||210.2|
|4||11||Michael Hegarty||Dearborn Divine Child||204.0|
|7||12||Caden Meyer||Zeeland East||200.1|
|8||12||Ben Zwart||Grand Rapids Christian||199.8|
|9||12||Parker Lambers||Holland Christian||199.7|
|12||12||Tinsae Nelson||Grand Rapids Christian||198.9|
|18||11||Aiden Sullivan||Forest Hills Eastern||197.0|
|19||12||Griffin Armbrustmacher||St. Johns||196.6|
|21||12||Race Bettich||Stevensville Lakeshore||196.3|
|27||11||Joey Bowman||St. Johns||194.0|
|29||11||Carter McCalister||Monroe Jefferson||192.8|
|30||12||Lucas Danic||Flint Powers Catholic||191.8|
|31||12||Michael Dennis||St. Johns||191.4|
|32||12||Jacob Singleton||Parma Western||191.1|
|36||10||Alex Thole||East Grand Rapids||190.0|
|38||12||Owen Gilbert||Battle Creek Harper Creek||188.9|
|42||12||Chase Dietrich||Flint Powers Catholic||187.9|
|46||10||Nolan Pinion||Lake Fenton||186.8|
|48||11||Jake O’Neil||Remus Chippewa Hills||185.4|
I realize that I control a lot of the narrative and discussion on XC in this state, so this is partially my fault (and partially Riley Hough’s fault), but Caleb Jarema has ran under the radar all year long. He’s slipped under the 15:00 barrier at Portage, he’s been undefeated against D2 competition all year. He was part of that blistering fast New Balance 3200m in May.
Ian Hill ran 15:33 on that same day at Portage, although there was a bit of weather change throughout said day. Against a field of D2’s biggest hitters, Ian sped away with the crown by a 15+ second margin. His only defeat was at Benzie, since then he’s been undefeated.
I have to explain a little bit on the ratings. Mike Hegarty and Connell Alford have gone against one another twice this year, Mike coming ahead both times. But Connell is rated higher. What the ratings try to do is compare when runners aren’t racing. In the most appropriate scenario, these will be two runners from separate areas of the state on different courses on different days. When they haven’t faced one another, Connell has run some of his better races. But that begs the question: what if Mike had run with Connell at Coaching Legends or the SEC White meets?
Enough of my rambling, Mike is Mr. October year in, year out. This year’s version of his exploits was a 15:34 at Otsego. Connell has been Mr. Consistent in his sophomore campaign. His only “subpar” efforts were equivalent the very low 16’s.
If we were judging on the final three races of the year, Conor Somers would be a clear #3. Breaking 17:00 on the legendary Branstrom Park course might go unnoticed by many, but not to the Fremont folks and myself. That itself was the equivalent of a 15:30 effort and that was almost duplicated in the hills of Remus.
This section is dedicated to all the college football coaches, players, and teams that are rollin’ hot through the season, ready to beat Ohio State in November and crash the MIS party on Saturday.
I have been hearing talk in the Cross Country Heartland about how I had Shepherd underrated. And that is valid talk given their past results. They’re always at State, they’re always a D3 contender, but THIS IS D2. It’s a whole different ballgame, right? Well, I thought I was right until Carly Judge had to ruin it. In her past two meets, she’s gone under 20:20 both times. Neither effort is a personal best, but if they’re a glimpse at her State Meet, that may be enough to move the Bluejays near the Top 10.
Our first glimpse (other than if you scour middle school results, who would do that?) of Kamryn Lauinger’s talent was a runaway victory at Holly. She’s built on that victory with four consecutive 140+ ratings, the equivalent of sub-19. That area between Flint and Detroit is known for its tough courses. Kayla O’Mara is hilly, Lake Fenton was a mudbath. On a fair, dry course, watch out.
Has Ionia all collectively peaked at the right time? You can point to any of the Bulldog boys and see progress from their St. Francis Regional to meets earlier in the year. Jacob Montgomery, Ellis Yokom, Josiah Magley, and Heath LaPointe all crushed expectations last Friday and if you plug in their ratings at St. Francis for the rest of the season, Ionia is capable of finishing in the Top 10.
Parker Lambers is hot off a regional effort where he dispatched a number of the state’s best. And he did it pulling away as well. I know Otsego is traditionally fast, but 15:36 is an impressive time nonetheless. Parker has the attributes necessary to be successful (and if anyone is able to spot talent, it’s MSU). He’s shown it’s not a one-time occurrence either, his wins at Cougar Falcon and Under the Lights were against similarly tough competition.