Where: Buckley HS
I believe the traditional host, Benzie, is having construction done late in the fall. No worries, Buckley has hosted regionals before. In 2020, I rated these around +20, so slightly fast, but not egregiously so for championship season. Once again, we have course video! I love the twisty single track trails and dip before the finish.
2021 Boys: White Cloud (7th), Mason County Eastern (10th), Frankfort (18th)
2021 Girls: Frankfort(16th), Lake Leelanau St. Mary (14th), Leland (21st)
White Cloud’s boys move up to Division 3, into what may be the toughest individual region in the state. The remainder of teams remain the same, and it appears the usual suspects will be present. Mason County Eastern, Frankfort, and Leland all bring experienced squads back and it appears Pentwater could be a challenger. The latter three teams listed will likely have a freshman presence amongst their experience, and a surprise addition could be enough to upset the order.
The friendliest rivalry in the state, Aiden Harrand vs. Makenna Scott is no longer (well at least for another two years before Aiden moves onto collegiate competitions). Stepping into Makenna’s shoes should be a host of top girls. Ruby Hogan and Lucy Shoup who placed well at State track, Ella Knudsen and Petra Foote who did the same during cross country. The battle for that third spot initially looks to be between Leelanau St. Mary, Mason County Eastern, and Leland. Currently, it appears that St. Mary has the edge in their 4th-7th runners, but circumstances can change fast in Division Four. Watch to see if Leland or Mason County adds another athlete into the mix.
Top 25 Boys Teams: Mason County Eastern (13th), Frankfort (18th), Leland (21st)
Top 25 Girls Teams: Grand Traverse Academy (Top 10), Buckley (12th)
Just a little rundown of those in the top-15 that haven’t been mentioned in the 50 Tickets, the Top Tens (Grand Traverse girls, you’re coming soon), 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.
Mason Sinke, Bear Lake-Onekama: In his freshman year, Mason experienced some near misses. Nearly All-State and nearly Regional Champion. I love those mixes of near misses yet great times. Shows the world that you’ve arrived, but internally are striving for more. Mason’s track season proved that he wants more, his 10:35 was the 2nd fastest amongst D4 freshmen.
Nate Wing, Mason County Eastern: Might as well rename regional day as Nate Wing Day. Three straight top-3 finishes, the past two followed by All-States.
Skylar Werden, Frankfort: Improved from his previous best (freshman year) by more than a minute. Skylar earned his first top-5 regional placing as well.
Abe VanDuinen, Pentwater: Track season contained jumps in both the 800m and 1600m. Any time someone runs in the 4:40’s, they’re a good candidate to get into the 16’s come fall.
Kaden Forward, Bear Lake-Onekama: Was projected 4th last year, won the dang thing. Projected 5th now, will he do it again?
Jackson Kulawiak, Buckley: You always see it, a kid makes it to State one year, but reaps the benefits of that trek the following year. His 800m at State a month ago was a 3 second PB that put him on the medal stand.
Mitchel Daniels, Pentwater: Mitchel didn’t even make it this far in his freshman year, finishing 35th at Pre-Regionals. In the real Regional of 2021, he was 9th.
Chase Snell, Grand Traverse Academy: Some may see a lack of a time drop, I see beauty in the reliability. Chase has been sub-11 in the 3200m the past two springs, a great indicator that he’ll again be racin’ with the front group this fall.
Joey Schwindt, Maple City Glen Lake: May brought forth Joey’s first sub-11 in the 8-lapper. A sub-18 isn’t the wildest prognostication ever…
Adam Townsend, Frankfort: Just as Tara, Adam does it all on the track. Sub-12 100m, 300 hurdling in the 40’s, qualifying for state in the vault. No surprise he’s a cross country contributor along with multi event ability.
Agustin Creamer, Leland: Cross country career consists of three races. One of those was this region, where he blew the doors off his 19:17 best, coming through in 18:27. Agustin curiously had the same breakthrough in track. But I’m sure those breakthroughs weren’t just attained in racing, there has to be a great work ethic behind the unforeseen improvements.
Peter Hyzba, Mason County Eastern: Peter Hybza, Henry Hybza, that recognizable surname commands attention. And with Peter’s dramatic descent into the 18’s (and quicker?), he will too.
Alex Tyndall, Mason County Eastern: Why is a kid who closed his fall in 21:52 on here? I just need to say three times: 2:17, 4:58, 11:03. Alex may hold the key for a top-10 State finish for the Cardinals.
Aiden Harrand, Buckley: Aiden has the unfortunate position of being the first girl outside the top-50 returners. But I think any disappointment with regard to the predictions pales to the exciting moments she’s generated through her actual running. Two years in a row, a State Champ on the track, a Regional Champ here, and a very very real shot of capturing that gold medal come fall.
Ruby Hogan, Maple City Glen Lake: Ruby was on a sure track to another All-State placing this past fall, it was sad to see her season cut short. The Laker basketball star more than made up for it during track, where she held on for 6th In the D4 800m.
Ella Knudsen, Leland: Freshman cross season contained everything: a sub-20, top-5 regional finish, and an experience at the racetrack. She kept that same attitude during track, capturing success at events between the 800m and 3200m, heck even throwing in jumps and hurdles for good measure.
Mya Denoyer, Leland: I’d love to create a graph with her times and ratings last year. Gradual slope down that culminated in a 20:48 at Regionals.
Lucy Shoup, Mason County Eastern: During track, likely made the greatest leap forward of any girl listed. Hard to tell which event suited her the best, as Lucy was ranked top-40 in D4 in each of the distance events.
Anna Mitchell, Lake Leelanau St. Mary: First high school cross season took the path of many others, reducing that time until championship season. Three consecutive races in the 21’s helped St. Mary qualify and place high at State.
Bridgette Duncan, Leland: Follow me long enough and you’ll notice what I love to shout out. Bridgette’s career is one of my favorite scenarios. Freshman year, she ran 10 races, 7 of them were above 30:00. Her 2021 regional race was a personal best of 21:50.
Olivia Wing, Mason County Eastern: 2x All-Region and probably rated lower because of her track concentrations. State qualifier in both the 100 and 300h and a likely candidate to outperform this projection.