Now we’re getting to the fun part! In previous years, what I’ve done is list the top teams, top individuals. Prior to last summer, I’d write and write and write, then never finish my writings before the season started. In 2021, I made the decision to just list the top teams and not add any creative input. I’m going to bridge that gap this year. The best of the best are covered in the 50 Tickets, the fastest runners on the best teams will be covered in their Top 10s. In these previews, I want to write just a tiny bit about everyone else. Maybe it’s only a sentence, but y’all deserve even the tiniest bit of recognition.
These projections include incoming freshmen. This is a necessary step in the previews, however there are some unknown areas. Many of the schools in this region have identifiable feeder schools, but I’ll always miss someone that didn’t run 8th grade XC or add someone that ran 8th grade XC and won’t run in HS. There’s really no other way to do it other than make it a guessing game or to ask every coach individually, which would take years. As always, if you’re reading here, have an upcoming region with an odd case, reach out!
Where: Allendale HS
Primarily flat with a few bumps in the back section. Wide open, solid footing, easy for spectators. A waterlogged mess for everyone else, last year’s regionals ran fast in comparison. Expect some personal bests as Grand Rapids area athletes are known to do as the season ends.
2021 Boys: The Potter’s House (12th), Muskegon Western Michigan Christian (14th), Gobles (13th)
2021 Girls: Muskegon Western Michigan Christian (1st), St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic (23rd), The Potter’s House (15th)
Top 25 Boys Teams: The Potter’s House (Top Ten), Three Oaks River Valley (Top 10), St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic (19)
Top 25 Girls Teams: The Potter’s House (14th), St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic (21st), Holland Calvary Christian (22nd)
Just a little rundown of those in the top-15 that haven’t been mentioned in the 50 Tickets (Lezawe), the Top Tens (Potter’s House, River Valley), and aren’t freshmen. Many of these are just scouring athleticnet (note – if you have a kid you want to brag about, reach out, tell me their story), but it’s more attention paid than many publications, it helps me learn names, and most of all – GETS ATTENTION TOWARDS KIDS THAT DESERVE IT.
Owen McLoughlin, St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic: Huge change between his freshman and sophomore campaigns. 2020 season ended at State, but above 20:00. 2021 season ended at State and under 18:00.
Matthew Lage, St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic: 10th grade year contained his first result under 18:00, a 17:51 here where he nabbed the 8th spot.
Ryan Blankenship, Eau Claire: Gradual progress marked Ryan’s freshman year. He qualified out of Region 32 and then ran a personal best at State.
Gavin Hancox, Gobles: Valuable third man on Gobles’ state qualifying squad last year, will be counted on to step up in the absence of Nile Devers and Alex Austin.
Caleb Oudbier, Tri-Unity Christian: Didn’t have his best race at last year’s regional, but still was able to attain a sub-19 as a freshman.
Edward Lopez, Eau Claire: Edward must have loved that sweet return to MIS. He qualified as a freshman, placed 20th in his regional as a sophomore, then made a return voyage this past fall.
Ivy Andreas, The Potter’s House: I have no doubt that Ivy loves this course. She sped to a personal best in early October then placed 2nd at Regionals.
Hannah Geaney, The Potter’s House: Steady results in increasingly more important meets led to medals for Hannah. Alliance Conference, Regionals, and State were all between 21:10 and 21:20.
Allison Glendening, St. Joseph Lake Michigan Catholic: Huge close to track season, a 12:07 to place 11th at D4 State. Could possibly lead to massive improvement from her 20:22 best.
Tatum Dykstra, Fruitport Calvary Christian: Her sophomore campaign to repeat as All-State was cut short early. She was Pre-Regional Champ and 17th at D4 State as a freshman.
Aliz Pusztai, Libertas Christian: After hovering in the 22-23:00 range throughout September, pieced together quite a kick, with four consecutive sub-22 races.
Brielle Voorhees, Tri-Unity Christian: Crashed the medal party at both Alliance Conference and this region, nearly broke 21:00 in her first trek to Brooklyn.
Ava Wilson, Fruitport Calvary Christian: Found a home in the 800m this spring, her 2:36 placed her 4th in the Alliance Conference.
Vanessa Peltoniemi, Holton: Always in awe of those who put it together when everything’s on the line. In 12 of her 13 races before Regionals, she broke 22:00 once. At Allendale, a 21:38 that helped her move onto her second consecutive State Meet.
Abby Kunkle, Libertas Christian: Although Abby missed out on running in November, she still showed progress from year to year. Her 22:37 at Saranac’s Color Run was a minute faster than the previous year and a personal best.
Aubrey Goyings, Holton: Aubrey shared a similar path to Vanessa, but actually one-upped her. Regional performance was a personal best by 74 seconds.
Elliana Young, Martin: Placed 9th here as a freshman.