|Place||Team||Score||1st Girl||2nd Girl||3rd Girl||4th Girl||5th Girl||6th Girl||7th Girl|
|2||Traverse City St. Francis||173||13||15||20||56||69||80||81|
|5||Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard||216||12||27||46||49||82||121||135|
|6||Jackson Lumen Christi||220||5||10||36||55||114||122||138|
|7||Grand Rapids Covenant Christian||246||6||34||43||70||93||97||99|
|13||Grandville Calvin Christian||377|
|22||Monroe St. Mary CC||502|
|28||Madison Heights Bishop Foley||807|
Can Hart make it five straight State Titles? With fifth runner Lauren VanderLaan in their corner, very likely. As 2020 closed, a few teams looked like they had an outside shot at breaking Hart’s streak, and their hopes pinned on a subpar performance from Lauren. But she went out, ran 21:02, and finished a good 20+ spots better than her pre-race expectation. Hart’s unreal streak continued and we’re having this same conversation this year. Although the Ackleys have moved on (from the girls squad), the Pirates are still led by another side of the family, the Enns and bolstered by freshmen Jessica Jazwinski and Lexie Beth Nienhuis.
The question then becomes: who’s second?
Jackson Lumen Christi would be in here, mainly behind the efforts of transfer Sydney Fazekas. We knew about Faith Smith and Madison Osterberg, but Fazekas’s transfer from Hanover-Horton solidified their depth. Sadly, Sydney is out with a stress fracture, thus dashing Lumen Christi’s hopes. They are well-set for future runs with glory here.
Traverse City St. Francis has been remarkably consistent all year, even in the meets without Grace Slocum and Sophia Rhein. I’m particularly happy for Sophia, as she missed nearly her entire sophomore year. She’s back and has a great shot at finishing All-State. Rylee Duffing has been reliable, usually finishing 4th or 5th on the team, while Mary Masserant and Ava Pomaranski have a bit higher variance. If those two can bring it Saturday, they’re the clear favorite to finish second.
Lansing Catholic is as strong as any through four. Hannah Pricco has finished 16th in two consecutive State Meets. This spring, we saw CC Jones respond to Coach Simpson’s training and that has carried over into cross. The key lies with Hailey Prokop, when adjusting for ratings, she’s improved nearly a minute from her September form.
Championship Season has been kind to Kent City. At Portage, they lost to Lumen Christi and finished ahead of Lansing Catholic and St. Francis. At Saturday’s Region 21 race, they defeated Calvin Christian and Covenant Christian. Kent Ottawa was their best performance, knocking off Lowell and West Michigan Aviation, both top-25 teams in higher divisions.
|6||10||Mylie Kelly||Benzie Central||147.5|
|7||10||Madison Osterberg||Jackson Lumen Christi||146.5|
|8||9||Eliza Bush||Ypsilanti Arbor Preparatory||145.7|
|9||12||Meghan Beute||Grand Rapids Covenant Christian||144.4|
|10||11||Hannah Pricco||Lansing Catholic||144.2|
|11||9||Lila Volkers||Kent City||143.0|
|13||12||Faith Smith||Jackson Lumen Christi||138.6|
|15||11||CC Jones||Lansing Catholic||133.7|
|16||12||Gianna Hoving||Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard||132.0|
|17||11||Sophia Rhein||Traverse City St. Francis||131.5|
|18||10||Tessa Roe||Lansing Catholic||131.3|
|20||9||Betsy Skendzel||Traverse City St. Francis||127.3|
|22||11||Ava Maginity||Boyne City||125.7|
|23||12||Libby Munderloh||St. Louis||124.1|
|24||9||Kerith Short||University Liggett||123.0|
|25||12||Mikenna Borie||St. Louis||122.4|
|26||9||Grace Slocum||Traverse City St. Francis||122.4|
|28||12||Leanne Krombeen||Grandville Calvin Christian||121.0|
|29||12||Maye Burns||Harbor Springs||120.2|
|31||10||Ava Viegelahn||Grass Lake||119.5|
|32||12||Elise Johnson||Benzie Central||119.0|
|35||12||Marian Avila||Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard||118.7|
|41||12||Alyeska Linsley||Kent City||115.4|
|42||10||Jaiden Dickman||St. Louis||115.3|
|43||9||Ashley Choponis||Stanton Central Montcalm||115.1|
|44||10||Amber Koole||Grand Rapids Covenant Christian||114.8|
|48||9||Layla Lopez||Jackson Lumen Christi||112.8|
|49||12||Gabriella Wingard||North Muskegon||112.5|
Lani Bloom is the favorite here. What a career, what a ride it’s been. Three All-State honors, three track titles (one indoor, two outdoor). Adversity from tough races at MIS, joy from sophomore breakthroughs and overcoming said adversity. She’s taken this season the right way too, not going to the well every single race, and this sets her up for success this weekend. She has the strength (sub-17 on the track), she has the speed, she has the experience.
Rylee Tolson hasn’t lost once this entire fall. She has the mettle of a champion, evidenced by two instances: her comeback from injury during track and her crawl to the finish a year ago. She didn’t have to finish that race, but she did. That speaks volumes. She’s been a frontrunner this entire year, setting a quick early pace and daring others to hang on. I can all but guarantee these two will duel until the other falls off.
I said this over the summer and I’ll say it again: we will see Allie Chmielewski on the starting line of the Olympic Trials in 2028 or 2032. It might be the marathon, it might be the 10k, who knows. She’s oozing in talent and doesn’t come from a traditional D3 power. Imagine when she gets to MSU, a program that develops talent, and has girls to train with. I’ve been a major fan of her season, she hasn’t redlined it in too many races, that extra bit of energy should help her in the final 1000m.
Beyond the seniors, I’m interested to see who sets themselves up for titles in 2022:
Alyson Enns has fallen off a bit in the past month, but when she’s on, she’s really freakin’ on. 17:53 at Shepherd has been her best, but 18:18 at Portage is significant here in that she defeated many of the D3 girls she’ll be competing against.
Mylie Kelly just set a Benzie school record of 18:08. Her string of races at Cadillac, Bluejay, and Portage show she can bring it when pushed, likely into the low-18’s.
Madison Osterberg finished second behind Enns at Portage, scorching the rest of the field in the final mile. She has better speed than anyone sans Bloom and also the confidence to let the rest of the field go, knowing she’ll reel them back in.
Eliza Bush has been the lone wolf over at Ypsi Arbor Prep. She hasn’t faced the D3-centric competition that most in the field have gone against, but she has run in the mid-18’s on fair courses.
Jessica Jazwinski has actually supplanted Enns in the past month as Hart’s #1. She’s been through the ringer of races and has been steady each time out.
|Place||Team||Score||1st Boy||2nd Boy||3rd Boy||4th Boy||5th Boy||6th Boy||7th Boy|
|4||Grandville Calvin Christian||176||3||15||16||30||112||177||186|
|5||Traverse City St. Francis||184||28||29||33||37||57||66||78|
|7||Grand Rapids Covenant Christian||306||42||50||52||80||82||85||106|
|9||Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard||312||21||44||63||87||97||102||130|
|18||Madison Heights Bishop Foley||408|
Hart hasn’t been the most flashy team all year. But you don’t need to be flashy to win titles, you need to be reliable. At any major meet, you’ll find that their average rating hovers between 170-175. Noah Bosley, Wyatt Dean, and Clayton Ackley have been low sticks up front. Max Stitt has been surprisingly reliable considering his freshman status. If he can have Max Nienhuis and Seth Ackley follow his lead, the Pirates have a shot.
St. Louis is again doing that thing where they peak at the right time. The March brothers in particular have been running their best in the last month. Although Shepherd’s course has been running a bit quick this year, they both ran below 16:30 at the Scottie Classic, efforts that suggest they’re the among the best 2nd and 3rd runners in the state. Can they push back another team’s 1st or 2nd?
Lansing Catholic has been bolstered by the addition of Josh Otten. First a soccer player, then a 4:27 miler, now an XC star. He didn’t even need a break-in period, placing 2nd behind D2 standout Mike Hegarty at Michigan Catholic. The Cougars will rely on Stephen Fair as their 5th runner, he’s been in the low-18’s/high-17’s for the past seven races. That time slot will likely have a mass of runners – a few seconds could make a huge difference.
Grandville Calvin Christian’s Squires face the extreme example (we’ll see this in future writeups) of four runners and needing a good day from their fifth. For Trevor Dornbos, he’s had more good days lately than not. He’s in the same boat as Lansing Catholic’s Fair, where his best performance could move them to a contender. Nathan Jenkins is battling an injury, but listed in the entries, so he’s included in here.
Traverse City St. Francis might take home the title of the most polarizing team of all-time. Their Portage performance will win them the state title. Their Bluejay performance could knock the Glads out of the Top 10.
|1||11||Hunter Jones||Benzie Central||216.8|
|4||11||Nathan Jenkins||Grandville Calvin Christian||192.9|
|6||12||Josh Otten||Lansing Catholic||192.0|
|9||11||Cal Benjamin||Harbor Springs||188.1|
|11||12||David Pruder||Lansing Catholic||186.9|
|12||10||Samuel Martini||Kent City||186.8|
|14||12||Jacob Walker||Brooklyn Columbia Central||186.2|
|19||10||Ben March||St. Louis||182.2|
|20||12||Dan Kehoe||Grandville Calvin Christian||180.7|
|21||12||Logan Manion||Grandville Calvin Christian||180.6|
|22||12||Aaron Bowerman||St. Louis||180.4|
|26||11||Andrew Hardy||Stanton Central Montcalm||177.3|
|27||12||Nate March||St. Louis||176.9|
|29||10||Simon VanderVlucht||Monroe St. Mary CC||176.3|
|30||10||Sunishthh Singh||Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard||175.0|
|37||9||Josh Slocum||Traverse City St. Francis||173.0|
|38||12||Thomas Richards||Traverse City St. Francis||172.9|
|39||11||Ben Wertz||Grandville Calvin Christian||172.7|
|43||11||Josh Kerr||Traverse City St. Francis||171.9|
|44||11||Jackson Ansel||Erie Mason||171.9|
|47||12||Cameron Haraburda||Lansing Catholic||170.8|
|49||10||Tucker Krumm||Traverse City St. Francis||170.6|
|50||12||Lance Smar||Harbor Springs||170.3|
2019 was the Hunter Jones show. 2020 was the Hunter Jones show. This year is the Hunter Jones show. Next year will be the Hunter Jones show. Hunter is the clear favorite and it should be a fun, lonely 14 or 15 minutes for Hunter. He took a few lumps early from Hough and Baracco, but a hit to the ego is always good, you can’t win every race and expect to get better. I have confidence those early losses and the lessons learned will serve him well in the post-season races.
Noah Morrow made #TheLeap during track season. A 9:33 at Shepherd’s Bluejay Elite led to a 4:20 in the 1600m, which then led to a 3rd place in the D3 3200m. He’s continued that progression into cross, where he’s notable for legitimately not having a bad race. As far as my numbers go, his worst race was one in which he broke 16:00.
Tyler Guggemos, Cal Benjamin, and Sam Peterson have battling it out in Northern Michigan all year. Sam had the edge early in the year, Tyler has had the upper hand lately, and Cal has seemingly finished second in this triumvirate each time they’ve faced one another.
Rogan has upheld the Melling tradition (but did he complete the infamous workout?) in leading the Hanover-Horton squad and being King of the Irish Hills. Rogan hasn’t just stayed in the area, when the Comets traveled to Portage and Bluejay, he was able to defeat many potential All-Staters (Martini, Pruder, etc.).
Just as Mel Tucker came into the State of Michigan like a wrecking ball, these runners and teams are coming to MIS on a roll:
The Bridgman Bees are back at their old stomping grounds after a year’s absence. Contact tracing decimated any hope of returning in 2020, and their dear departed Karsyn Stewart was left to race alone. But they’re back and fresh off a regional victory. The Fast sisters, Clara and Summer have run their best to close the year and seniors Jane Kaspar and Arie Hackett have been great leaders.
Gianna Hoving’s times of late might not represent major growth, but it’s there. 19:40 on an always tough Possum Hollow course (and a victory over potential D2 All-Staters Zdankiewicz and Koss) paved the way to a 3rd place finish in the loaded Region 27.
This might not be the glory days when Yami was winning everything in sight, but Caro is still the best team in the Thumb (Yale won Thumb Area but to me they’re more Port Huron than Thumb). Nearly everyone on the Tigers ran their best race at Thumb Area, particularly Tristan Lovett, and Tyler Miller doubled that up with an excellent regional race. Expect them to challenge for a Top 10 spot.
Rhett Reif chilled in the low-17’s for much of the year, save for a 16:38 at Otsego Bulldog. He’s begun to turn it up a notch in these past few weeks with a 16:25 at Little Guys and a 2nd place finish in Region 23, that silver medal coming in front of potential top-30 runners Jacob Walker and Alex Czeiszperger.