I truly appreciate those that have been supporters throughout my journey. I’m still trying to figure out what to focus on, themes, formatting, and what not. Events in the sport will dictate much of what I write and if you see anything of note or want your name out there, I’d love to share your story. This is a learning experience for me, cross country season is so much calculating, so little thought given towards writing. So if you have any feedback, let me know. But first, get to reading…
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Season Begins in Earnest
I’ve put together a little list of athletes with Michigan connections that are competing in the Millrose Games. The meet, held at the Armory in New York City, is the first prominent competition of the pro season, but is also a chance for some of our younger athletes to race on a national scale. NBC will broadcast the Games at 2:30pm EST on Saturday and I’ll try to be all over Twitter throughout.
For what it’s worth, Hobbs Kessler’s 3:34.36 1500m converted to approximately a 3:51.5, putting him right in the mix of that field.
Hansons Kickoff in the Ancient City
As your Hansons insider, I feel obliged to share my intimate knowledge. Without getting too too intimate, of course. Down in Florida, the Hansons 10k crew competed in the Matanzas 5k in St. Augustine. (Side note: I love the name of their running club that puts on the race, the Ancient City Road Runners. Historic and creative, well done.) The race is always a quick one, typical winning times in the 14:00/16:00 range. Natosha Rogers captured the womens crown in 15:50, while Zach Panning got nipped at the line by David Bett (a Kenyan who’s run 13:06 in the past) in 14:00. The race was a kickstart to a winter segment that’ll include stops at the Windy City Classic and The Ten.
The 10k group is alternating Florida training blocks with another group that is focusing on the half-marathon and later, a full marathon. That group will set to the streets in a few weeks at the Rock N’ Roll half in New Orleans and contains Michigan HS/college alums Ben Kendell and Megan O’Neil.
Rankings Rankings Rankings
Early this week, the first batch of the USTFCCCA indoor rankings were released. Notable inclusions are both Grand Valley squads, Mens ranked #1 in the nation, Womens, #2. The Saginaw Valley women come in at #13, Calvin women at #19, and Hillsdale women at #20. Regional-wise, Michigan teams populate many of the Great Lakes lists. It would be nice to see these rankings come to fruition in a meet, but these sort of area and regional championships are unbeknownst to colleges. That’s why I adore county and area meets in high school. Rankings are found here.
Signings Signings Signings
Another week, another slew of college signings! Here are some of the notable ones I’ve come upon:
Ryan O’Rourke (Milford > Spring Arbor)
Kyle Sweeney (Rockford > Taylor)
Mason Kohloff (Otsego > Grand Rapids CC)
Chase Brown (Otsego > Colorado Mesa)
Sarah Storey (Chippewa Hills > Central Michigan)
Emily Plouff (Fraser > Ferris State)
Jessica Durkee (Middleville-Thornapple Kellogg > Ferris State)
I support everyone equally and truly believe when one stacks successful training cycle after successful training cycle, the ability to attain glory at the college level is available for everyone. But I’m especially intrigued by Storey, Brown, and Plouff. Plouff has split her time with soccer, Storey has made a leap in the past year, and Brown completed his first full cross season since his freshman year. I believe there’s some untapped potential with all three.
Other Happenings and Anecdotes
- Enjoyed listening to Sue Parks (Eastern Michigan Director of T&F/XC) on the Gill Connections podcast. I didn’t know she ran for a Downriver track club in her youth. What was especially enlightening was the different adaptations to training, logistics, and recruiting along the way. Eastern Michigan definitely adheres to a unique recruiting strategy among similar schools in the state, reaching out internationally and throughout the state. For a school of its size, the Eagles hold their weight quite well.
- Maddi Leigh was named Horizon League Athlete of the Week for her record-breaking performance in the 800m. At the Gladstein Invitational at Indiana University, both Leigh and Ashley Quinn dipped under Oakland’s previous school record, running 2:12.15 and 2:12.84 respectively. Currently, the two hold the fastest times in the Horizon League. A few other Michigan athletes picked up Athlete of the Week honors, Miles Brown and Cassidy Henshaw in the Big Ten, Anna Martin (Cornerstone) in the NAIA, and Luke Pohl (Cornerstone) in the WHAC.
- I’ve been “doing my own research”, a scary phrase in times like these, on the relationship between discus and wind direction. A few weeks ago, at the LAB, our outstanding athlete, Zane Forist (Carson City-Crystal) tossed a 207’ throw. I’ve learned that a slight headwind, not a tailwind, helps with distance and a crosswind can aid if the disc is fading or slicing. My estimate, derived from here is that we might see 10-15 feet added in ideal conditions. Looking for feedback here too, although we’ll probably see Zane pop another massive throw before we compute the math.
- Jeff Hollobaugh of michtrack.org updated his All-Time lists for alumni from our state. I enjoyed sifting through the odd events not often (or not at all) contested at the high school level. Marathon, hammer throw, 400m hurdles, you name it. Keeping track of the history is an enormous task, but beneficial to current athletes. If you see someone that’s walked in your shoes able to compete at the national and Olympic level, that adds a bit of incentive and confidence to keep with the sport and reach those heights.
- The Traverse City Record-Eagle ran a nice piece on Kendall Schopieray’s commitment to Ball State. I love the intricate web of coaches and athletes. Angelina Ramos coached Trevor Thiebaut at SVSU, Thiebaut coaches Schopieray at Cadillac, Ramos is back in the Midwest at Ball State and signed Schopieray.
- Holland West Ottawa’s Arianne Olson was named Gatorade Cross Country Player of the Year for Michigan.
- Missed in my Houston recap last week was acknowledgment of August Pappas. The Chelsea/Michigan grad finished 48th in half-marathon with a personal best of 1:06:49.
- Mentioned on the Epic Races Instagram page, their Ann Arbor Marathon has been chosen as the RRCA State Championship Marathon.
- Correction on last week’s newsletter. I erroneously mentioned that Parker Raymond qualified for NCAA Indoor with a 1:48.07, this should have been NCAA Outdoor.