Where: Huron Meadows, aka “The Meadows”
During the latter half of last October, rainy day after rainy day swamped many courses around Southeast Michigan. The North Course at Hudson Mills had mudpits in the woods, the swampy Algonac and Anchor Bay areas were swampy, Willow couldn’t even host, and Huron Meadows ran as fair as it normally runs.
Is it the higher ground? Firm footing? Good drainage? Magic evaporation of the Brighton area? Who knows, but what one can expect as a runner is a flat track in the open areas and a bit of rolling terrain in the woods. As a spectator or coach, one can expect to see their favorite athletes at least 5 times if not more. Just be sure to get there early with only one entrance to the park.
Expect to see times consistent with what one would run at State.
2021 Boys: Madison Heights Bishop Foley (24th), University Liggett (27th), Memphis (29th), Almont (28th)
2021 Girls: University Liggett (23rd), Madison Heights Bishop Foley (28th), Clawson (26th)
This has historically been one of the “weaker” regions. But as someone who works in the area of many schools up this way, let me explain. Schools comprising Region 26 are usually in a concrete jungle, nowhere near any hills, and aren’t of affluence. You generally need at least 2 of those attributes for cross country success. Add in soccer’s influence on many Oakland/Macomb County schools, and you’ll see low numbers for those in Division 3. Is that an excuse? No, just a reality.
Anyhow, it’s been a weaker regional and to balance that out, Stockbridge and Dansville were added into the mix. Stockbridge’s boys were 13th in Division 3 last year, their girls were qualifiers in 2020. Dansville has been all over the place, switching Divisions each of the past three years. Down in D4 last year, their boys were 15th and they return their top three from that squad.
Top 25 Boys Teams: Dansville (25th)
Top 25 Girls Teams: None
Theodore Davis, Dansville: Under the radar as one of the better freshmen in the State last year. His 10:07 in track was the 11th fastest amongst 9th graders.
Micah Bolton, Stockbridge: Top runner on a Stockbridge team that finished 13th last year. Made a tremendous leap late in the track season, running a 20 second PR in the 3200 to close the year.
Collin Cook, Stockbridge: The other top returner from Stockbridge, has finished top-10 at Regionals twice.
Max Mader, Madison Heights Bishop Foley: Found his groove this past spring in the mid-distances, eventually reaching down to 2:03 in the 800m come State time.
Joseph Kadluboski, Dansville: Each of his three XC seasons he’s been in the 17’s. Is this primed to be his best season yet? Looking at that 1600m from this spring, it could be.
Michael Darlington, University Liggett: Over 50% of his races during his freshman year were sub-19.
Damian DeFeyter, Dansville: As with Joe Kadluboski, has found a way to be sub-18 in each of his three seasons.
Ethan Wright, Stockbridge: Set a 7 second PR in the 800m this spring, that time drop good enough for 6th at the GLAC Championship.
Calvin Vanhartesvelt, Dansville: Dropped 15+ seconds on his personal best from 2020 to 2021, but more importantly, qualified for State with his fellow Dansville harriers.
Anthony Urbaniak, Charyl Stockwell Academy: Race after race in May was just a personal best after personal best, finally ending up at 2:18/11:09.
Kolbe Martino, Madison Heights Bishop Foley: Was able to sneak under 19:00 in his first year of high school cross.
Ray Shumaker, Charyl Stockwell Academy: Has knocked 2+ minutes off his bests from his freshman year.
Sebastian Beskow, Charyl Stockwell Academy: Stayed on the high side of 19:00 but was able to improve by a minute from his freshman year.
Kerith Short, University Liggett: Very successful freshman year included top-3 finishes at Regionals and CHSL C/D.
Penelope Griffoen, University Liggett: Has been All-Region in each of her three seasons.
Anna Ransom, Stockbridge: Went from 25:29 as an opener to 21:47 as a closer.
Josephine Malysz, Madison Heights Bishop Foley: Freshman year included an 11th place regional finish and a few sub-23’s.
Carmellina Biafora, Madison Heights Bishop Foley: Two consecutive appearances at MIS for Carmellina, but 2021’s was 35 seconds quicker.
Kelsey Beckett, University Liggett: Improved from 12th here as a freshman to 9th as a sophomore.
Charlie Harms, Algonac: Dropped 3.5 minutes from her first meet to her last.
Savannah Ricketts, Charyl Stockwell Academy: Closed out her sophomore year with 6 straight races in the 23’s.
Fiona Sierens, University Liggett: All-Region as a freshman.
Julia Serra, Madison Heights Bishop Foley: Halved her place from Regionals as a freshman. 25th two years ago, 12th last year, this year…?
Haylee Byerly, Algonac: Another one on that gradual improvement curve. 26:00+ in her opener at Anchor Bay, sub-24 in her closer at MIS.
Emily Mandziuk, Madison Heights Bishop Foley: Championship experience, Emily has plenty of it. Top-25 in all three of her Regional races and two appearances in Brooklyn to go along with it.