Where: Milan HS
Don’t know much about this course! The Milan area is pretty flat. I was out checking out some nature preserves this summer and I came upon one that borders their HS property. And peering out over the grounds, there were no hills in sight. I had two meets from last fall that were rated, the Puddle Jumper in late August (+11), and the first Huron League Jamboree (+16). My guess is this is a fast one and looking at this boys field, it’s gonna be a burner.
2021 Boys: Chelsea (2nd), Adrian (6th), Dearborn Divine Child (17th)
2021 Girls: Tecumseh (16th), Chelsea (19th), Dearborn Divine Child (21st)
As I said, this boys field is a burner. Across all divisions, all regions, I’d be shocked if there’s another region featuring 6(!) of the top-50 returners. What about another one featuring 3 of the top-6 teams?
Chelsea and Adrian were two teams that faced off quite a bit last year. Adrian won the first of their five matchups, Chelsea took the rest. The Bulldogs were spurred by the gradual improvements of folks such as Nick Spruce, who began the year with many times in the high-17’s, but closed with three of four runs in the 16’s. Nick, along with Jackson Dell and the Swagers will be the key boys for a repeat regional trophy and perhaps more. Adrian returns many of their crew, hard to believe many of them are seniors. It seems like just yesterday that Bryce Soule, Ben Schefka, and Aiden Smith were freshman. Speaking of freshman, it appears that Moises Salazar might join their ranks. He ran for Madison MS in cross country with many times in the 11’s, then Adrian MS for track. This spring, he went undefeated, getting down to 2:14/4:51. Can he be the missing piece to cut into Chelsea’s dominance?
Whereas the boys might be dominant up front and across the entire state, the girls present another exciting scenario. Five teams competing for three spots. Both Chelsea and Tecumseh look to be favorites to move on, both have 6-7 girls capable of finishing in the top 30. That gives insurance if one of their top girls isn’t having a great day, it also gives the added possibility of a breakout performance. But it’s gotta be soothing to a coach when you have an experienced senior such as Emily Stevenson (21:18, 2:42/6:03) or Audra Guthre (20:24) sitting near the all-important 5th position. The question then becomes, who joins them? Monroe Jefferson is extra strong up front, Adrian and Divine Child have the ability to put numbers in front of the Bears’ 4th-7th runners. Ah, the pack and numbers game in cross country. Best team sport out there.
Top 25 Boys Teams: Chelsea (Top 5), Adrian (Top 5), Dearborn Divine Child (6th)
Top 25 Girls Teams: Chelsea (16th), Tecumseh (19th), Monroe Jefferson (24th)
*LATE BREAKING UPDATE* Abdul Ghennewa, formerly a Manistee standout, is now running for New Boston Huron. I’m not going back and recalculating this, but he’ll likely move Huron solidly into that 4th spot. Likely won’t change much in terms of qualifying here, but it should move Huron to a favorite in the Huron League.
Here, I’m writing at least a little anecdote about kids that are in the top-15 but aren’t freshman, in the 50 Tickets, or on Top 10 teams. Just a show of the strength of the guys side, that contains two boys. Then on the girls side, a ton of individual stars. Want to spread love but also not overwork myself. All in all, my estimation is through all these previews, I’ll be writing at least a sentence about 1000+ kids.
Logan Ruffner, Riverview: Junior entered high school a sensation and has kept it up. Two consecutive years running in the 16:30’s, two consecutive State qualifiers. Had a minor step up in track too, knocking 9 seconds off his 1600m personal best.
Brayden Humes, Milan: Three consecutive top-5’s in the Huron League, two straight State qualifiers. Can he make a third trip to MIS? Track season says he’s right on course, having found a new personal best in the 800m and coming close in the 1600m.
Jenna Pilachowski, Monroe Jefferson: Took great strides in track, especially in the eight lapper. Picked up a Regional and Huron League title, along with a 13th place State finish.
Kirsten Koss, Dearborn Divine Child: Two years of track and she’s established herself as an 800 queen. 2:25 as both a freshman and sophomore, picked up a Regional and CHSL title in that event this past spring.
Courtney Bovair, Carleton Airport: The defending champ! We all know Lake Erie was drenched last year, but she ran nearly 1:30 faster at MIS, her first jaunt under 20:00.
Chesney Wilke, Tecumseh: Broke 2:20 in the 800m during both her sophomore and junior years. As a junior, it came late, and not before State. But on that date in early June, a 2:16 arose and fate led her to a 3rd place spot.
Sophy Skeels, Adrian: Sam Skeels dominated the soccer fields at Siena, Sophy is now making a name for herself on the cross country course.
Riley Peer, Monroe Jefferson: The second in the triumvirate of top Jefferson girls. Riley moved up a ton of places in important meets this past fall. 13th to 5th in the Huron League, 26th to 14th at Regionals. Sneaking under 12:00 in the spring shows that progress keeps occurring.
Trillian Krug, Chelsea: Although her late-season times didn’t match that of 2020, Trilian still managed another 4th place regional finish. When the conditions worsened, she stepped up.
Kaylee Pesta, Tecumseh: Was projected 11th going into last year’s race. She crossed the line in 6th, and given that the Tribe won by a single point and were 7 points out of third, Kaylee’s effort may have been the clincher.
Kim Miller, Monroe Jefferson: It took eight races, but Kim was the THIRD Bear to reach the depths of sub-12 in the 3200m this past spring.
Megan Woelkers, Flat Rock: Freshman year contained two top-10 finishes at Regionals and the Huron League, then a 12:16 3200m on the track. Pretty darn good debut.
Gianna-Marie Schubert, Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard: The Irish reload after losing their top two girls from one of the better Division Three teams. Gianna will be at the front of that rebuild, using the momentum from a massive personal best in the 1600m (5:45 to 5:32) at the State Finals.
Marisa Chuey, Trenton: A 19th place at Wayne County showed her potential. Hitting the tape in second here confirmed it. She didn’t have the payoff the following week, but I know it’s lurking there.
Yoselin Fermin-Campos, Adrian: Home to massive step forward from 2020 to 2021. Subtracted 3.5 minutes from her best and qualified for State. She didn’t even qualify for Regionals as a freshman.