Where: Shepherd HS
Michigan’s Premier Cross Country CourseTM
Single loop, never doubling back, never running the same part twice, never crossing over the path. The simplest of cross country experiences. Mostly flat, with an ever so slightly gradual hill at the 2-mile mark. Ran a little fast last year, usually a +10 to 20 adjustment.
Coach Hammel set a record by viewing one of his runners 11 times during a race and never running a step in the process. As a spectator, can you beat that? Hell, is there a course in Michigan that even gives you that possibility?
2021 Boys: St. Louis (1st), Caro (9th), Sanford-Meridian (23rd)
2021 Girls: St. Louis (6th), Caro (14th), Sandusky (13th), Reese (16th)
This region generally remains unchanged from its 2021 iteration, the only real difference being the location. Shepherd has always been a great host, with a changing of the guard over at Heritage (who hosted this last year), it makes sense that the Hawks aren’t hosting a regional.
St. Louis’s Sharks are again the defending State Champs. That’s right, they can handle the pressure and expectations that come with winning a title, using it as motivation to hoist that trophy once again. Although they lose the mustache man, Aaron Bowerman and Nate March, the remainder of their top 7 were underclassmen. They’ll be at the forefront of Division 3 and contending once again. Caro has been a traditional power, winning a title recently, continually placing high in November, but they find themselves in an interesting spot. The Tigers return 3 runners capable of placing in the top-20 here, their incoming freshman should be in the mix to do that as well. It then becomes a recruiting question. If they find someone else, they’ll likely advance out of here. Sanford held down the fort in the third spot last year, projected there in the pre-season, mid-season, and regional week. They return 4 of their top 5 runners and should comfortably move on from here again.
Two years ago, Caro brought in a tremendous class of girls, we’re just now beginning to see the accomplishments they’ll achieve. Walch, Swenor, Heron, Long, add in a Kaya Vrable and surprise, a top-10 outfit. Reese’s girls follow the same pattern as Caro’s boys. They’ll almost certainly have four girls in the top-20, and it appears they’ll have the numbers as well. A bit of added insurance in a competitive region and one that helped them gain a state entry last fall. Sandusky narrowly defeated Reese, by one single point, spurred by big efforts from Brookelynn Jansen and Helena Long, those two are back and you know they can perform on the regional stage. The defending champs, St. Louis, lose a ton. Munderloh, Mikenna Borie, Delgado. But it seems they’re always a contender. Can they spoil the party?
Top 25 Boys Teams: St. Louis (Top 10), Sanford-Meridian (22nd)
Top 25 Girls Teams: Caro (Top 10), Reese (14th), Sandusky (23rd), St. Louis (25th)
Just a little rundown of those in the top-15 that haven’t been mentioned in the 50 Tickets), the Top Tens (Caro girls and St. Louis boys, and aren’t freshmen (you’ll get your day, Braylee, Logan, Alexandra). 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.
Matthew Pattullo, Caro: Twice top-5 here, moving into a spot where many upperclassmen have graduated. Can he add a regional trophy to his collection? Given the improvement between his 9th and 10th grade years, it’s not out of the question.
Connor Stefanovsky, Caro: Connor will be right there too. He showed some tremendous strength and tenacity this past track season, continually running the 3200m in the low-10s.
Jonah Shephard, Sanford-Meridian: Penchant for running his best to end the year. 17:54 for his season best as a sophomore, 17:14 for his personal best as a junior. Both were at MIS. I guess that means 16:34 this year?
Cade Truemner, Pigeon-Laker: After those St. Louis boys roll through, these state qualifying spots will be up for grabs. We saw a sign in cross, an 18:01 at Ubly, more in track, where he ended at 2:20/5:06.
Ethan Wetzel, Sanford-Meridian: Broke 19:00 once as a freshman, then kept under (except in the mud) that mark during his sophomore championship season.
Wheatley Roddammer, Saginaw Valley Lutheran: Cross season was cut short after one race, in track it appears he was fully healthy, running 4:59/11:02.
Elliot Noyes, Sanford-Meridian: Projected 23rd here last year, finished 18th. His 19:44 in the treacherous conditions might not mean much, but his 18:24 personal best the following week speaks volumes.
Wyatt Wojdula, Reese: Has dropped nearly a minute in each year, from 20:16 as a freshman to 18:28 as a junior.
Kyle Baldwin, Mt. Morris: Mt. Morris does move over here from Region 24, a move that makes geographical sense. He placed 4th in the MMAC 1600m this past spring.
Jaiden Dickman, St. Louis: Top-10 here each of the past two years, with a changing of the guard, now in contention for that top spot. Had her best track season yet, running 5:16/11:30 this past spring.
Makenzie Kreger, Sandusky: I had her tabbed as a top freshman last year and that took a bit of time to come to fruition. But when it did – WOW. 19:15 at State was good enough for an All-State certificate.
Jenna Sweeney, Reese: All-State as a freshman, narrowly missed as a sophomore. Spring saw personal bests in the 800m through 3200m, perhaps a return back to that freshman form?
Ellymae McCoy, Reese: Huge, absolutely huge track season. Region 28 Champ in the 1600m and top-20 at State in that same event, where she finished the year at a 5:24.
Maddie Huysentruyt, Sandusky: 9th grade year started above 22:00, ended nearly breaking 20:00.
Lauren Brawt, Sanford-Meridian: Basketball star brings it for other sports as well. She’s qualified for State and finished in the top-10 in the JPC during each of the past two years.
Ashley Shindorf, Vassar: Each spring, she doubles as a mid-distance star. Back to back champion in the 800m over in Region 28.
Claire Neumann, Saginaw Valley Lutheran: Despite getting into the 20’s each of the past two years, has not gotten a chance to run at State. I think this is the season that changes.
Allysen Jansen, Sandusky: Important third runner for Sandusky, two straight top-15 placings here are a helpful bit of reliability.