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Division 2 State Preview

Girls Team

PlaceTeamScore1st Girl2nd Girl3rd Girl4th Girl5th Girl6th Girl7th Girl
1East Grand Rapids55271016203341
2Petoskey132522233646170188
3Grand Rapids Christian1401428357278102
4Forest Hills Eastern16119212437607494
5Otsego23013455055677982
6Freeland244912299698145154
7Goodrich2908315197103162163
8Mason3063495792105125150
9Spring Lake340174347114119130140
10Marshall34726626495100178183
11Williamston366
12Warren Regina371
13Shepherd386
14Pinckney388
15Zeeland East390
16Allendale405
17Chelsea409
18Cadillac421
19Tecumseh429
20Dearborn Divine Child451
21Grand Rapids South Christian466
22Holland Christian500
23Marysville511
24Remus Chippewa Hills527
25Alma558
26Bloomfield Hills Marian578
27Croswell-Lexington583

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?

Girls Individual

PlaceGradeNameTeamRating
110Mary RichmondFrankenmuth155.3
212Madelyn FrensGrand Rapids Christian153.5
310Drew MullerEast Grand Rapids151.0
410Meghan FordMason149.9
510Natalie VanOtterenGrand Rapids Christian148.3
612Noel VanderwallPetoskey141.3
712Sarah StoreyRemus Chippewa Hills140.3
811Camryn BodineEast Grand Rapids137.9
99Kamryn LauingerGoodrich137.0
1010Emma DeVriesGR West Michigan Aviation136.8
1112Whitney FarrellFreeland135.4
1212Ainsley WorkmanEast Grand Rapids134.7
1310Allison KuzmaZeeland East134.2
1412Mara LongeneckerFreeland134.1
1510Megan GermainOtsego133.6
1612Lily MatawayFlint Powers Catholic133.5
1712Grace ZdankiewiczWarren Regina133.1
1812Julia FinleyBelding132.7
1912Kendall SchopierayCadillac132.1
209Sadey SeyferthEast Grand Rapids131.6
2112Alyna LewisParma Western130.6
2210Clara FletcherSt. Johns130.5
2311Lily ParkerSpring Lake129.5
2412Mackenzie HillPlainwell129.4
259Nicole SchaferWilliamston128.0
2611Ellory ClasonForest Hills Eastern127.0
2710Sophia LadoEast Grand Rapids126.8
2811Sarah DixonForest Hills Eastern126.6
2912Caroline FarleyPetoskey126.3
3010CamBrie CoreyPetoskey125.9
3110Ashlyn SmithForest Hills Eastern125.4
3210Emily TomesGrand Rapids Catholic Central125.4
339Ava CrewsMiddleville Thornapple-Kellogg125.0
3410Cecelia ThoringtonPinckney123.9
3511Lauren HunterHaslett123.4
3610Camille DeColaMarshall123.3
379Josie JenkinsonOwosso123.1
3811Chesney WilkeTecumseh122.8
3910Payton HoltzGrand Rapids Christian122.7
4012Haileigh BissettNorth Branch122.5
4112Maggie DubaGrand Rapids West Catholic122.3
429Landrey KuhnFreeland121.7
4311Ariel WarnerShepherd121.0
4410Olivia GizaGoodrich120.8
4512Hannah FisherMarysville120.4
4611Abigail PetrEast Grand Rapids119.7
4710Zoe HokePontiac Notre Dame Prep119.6
4810Alyssa ButterfieldAllendale119.4
4910Naomi NelsonGrand Rapids Christian119.3
5011Emma JanesakSparta119.2

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.

Boys Team

PlaceTeamScore1st Boy2nd Boy3rd Boy4th Boy5th Boy6th Boy7th Boy
1Otsego1326182036525697
2Chelsea14739404649107132
3Pinckney1811294345637085
4Grand Rapids Christian18671047586490130
5St. Johns1911521245774163194
6Adrian2001419323996119125
7Linden2731617728187151167
8Freeland28411132567168174187
9East Grand Rapids310286162768395121
10St. Clair33144515373110135145
11Petoskey334
12Fremont348
13Flint Powers Catholic381
14Ionia399
15Mason421
16Battle Creek Harper Creek424
17Yale428
18Clio429
19Dearborn Divine Child458
20Spring Lake464
21Sparta468
22Holland Christian529
23Grand Rapids South Christian536
24Allendale558
25Grand Rapids Catholic Central580
26Three Rivers587
27Hamilton606
28Armada689
29Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood753

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.

Boys Individual

PlaceGradeNameTeamRating
112Caleb JaremaPinckney218.1
212Ian HillSpring Lake210.2
310Connell AlfordChelsea204.7
411Michael HegartyDearborn Divine Child204.0
512Conor SomersFremont203.7
612Nick CockerelOtsego202.6
712Caden MeyerZeeland East200.1
812Ben ZwartGrand Rapids Christian199.8
912Parker LambersHolland Christian199.7
1012Garrett WinterParchment199.6
1111Bram HartsuffChelsea199.3
1212Tinsae NelsonGrand Rapids Christian198.9
1311Braydon HonsingerFreeland198.2
149Killian WhalenAllendale198.1
159TJ HansenFreeland198.0
1610Braylon PettyAdrian197.1
1712Ethan LeitnerTecumseh197.1
1811Aiden SullivanForest Hills Eastern197.0
1912Griffin ArmbrustmacherSt. Johns196.6
2011Kyle EberhardLinden196.4
2112Race BettichStevensville Lakeshore196.3
2211Camden JohnecheckWilliamston196.0
2312River MeckstrothLinden195.9
2412Mason KolhoffOtsego195.6
2511Aiden SmithAdrian195.0
2612Tristin CanalesOtsego194.9
2711Joey BowmanSt. Johns194.0
2812Josiah MagleyIonia193.3
2911Carter McCalisterMonroe Jefferson192.8
3012Lucas DanicFlint Powers Catholic191.8
3112Michael DennisSt. Johns191.4
3212Jacob SingletonParma Western191.1
3312Jacob WurtzelFreeland191.0
3411Lukas KrieschYale190.6
3512Samuel SmithPetoskey190.6
3610Alex TholeEast Grand Rapids190.0
3710Evan LoughridgePinckney188.9
3812Owen GilbertBattle Creek Harper Creek188.9
3912Gabriel PhillipsClio188.9
4011Bryce SouleAdrian188.7
4112Kyler DeanVicksburg188.1
4212Chase DietrichFlint Powers Catholic187.9
4310Shane IzzardPetoskey187.7
4412Jackson JonesSparta187.5
4511William WinterParchment186.8
4610Nolan PinionLake Fenton186.8
4712Chase BrownOtsego186.2
4811Jake O’NeilRemus Chippewa Hills185.4
4912Landon BuskirkMason185.4
509Alex DonethMason185.2

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.

TUCK COMIN’

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.

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