Where: Bangor HS
Looking back over the past few years, there have been a couple meets a year held here. Many of them are of the SW10 variety, small jamborees that I haven’t rated. The others are the Bangor Invite, held in late September. The rating at the 2021 Bangor Invite was +11. With another month left going towards Regionals, I’ll assume this course runs fast. A look at the terrain on Google Maps shows nothing in the way of hills. The previous post on this region had nothing in terms of a map, but Jacob Tanner has been tremendously selfless in his contributions, always good for a message after I neglect to find a map in my quick research. Here you go:
2021 Boys: Mason (13th), Battle Creek Harper Creek (16th), Grand Rapids South Christian (25th)
2021 Girls: Marshall (11th), Mason (8th), Grand Rapids South Christian (18th)
So much upheaval here in the regional setups in the SW side of the state. It appears that half the teams here were present last year, the other half are coming over from 2021’s Region 12.
Otsego is the heavyweight that’s making their way over to Bangor. As Jacob Tanner noted here, their dynasty is unmatched within their region. I’ll also note that their boys have finished in the top-10 at MIS in 7 of the past 10 years, including a State Championship in 2021. Each team will be replacing a bunch, though the culture Coach Long has created has cultivated depth and incoming freshman that want to be part of success.
Three Rivers looks to be in a good spot to make a return trip east to Brooklyn. The Wildcats are a team full of experience, only two underclassmen projected to be in their top-7. And those seven look to be better than many others best five.
St. Joseph’s girls share a similar spot to those Three Rivers boys, though the Bears are coming over from Division 1. Their regional last October was a harrowing one, battling the likes of Caledonia, Zeeland West, Portage Central, and Jenison for a qualifying spot. These girls came out ahead, largely aided by clutch performances from Cecilia Ruchti and Olivia Ippel.
Top 25 Boys Teams: Otsego (7th), Three Rivers (20th)
Top 25 Girls Teams: Otsego (Top 5), St. Joseph (11th)
Here, I’m writing at least a little anecdote about kids that are in the top-15 but aren’t freshman (Berkley and Sydney, I see you), in the 50 Tickets (Megan Germain, I’m rooting for you to get here next year), or on Top 10 teams (Otsegooo). 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. Also, it’s late at night and I’m tiiiiired. If there’s an error in here, let me know.
Austin Williford, Paw Paw: Track was his best season of any thus far, cross country included. He was sub-10 in the 3200m at Don Lukens, then nearly matched that mark a month later at the Distance Night Under the Lights.
Luke Morrison, Berrien Springs: With Race Bettich graduated, that Berrien County title opens up. At the County meet in 2021, Luke found his way into the 16’s for the first time in his career.
Will Vanderbor, Paw Paw: From afar, sometimes it’s easy to tell when motivation hits a team. After spending a majority of his junior cross season in the 17’s, Will (along with Austin above) was able to drop a sub-10 in the 3200m. A sure sign of a gritty winter.
Will Fiesbeck, St. Joseph: Behold this 800m kid. Will went sub-2 on three occasions in our most recent spring. Placed 5th in an ultra-competitive Grand Haven regional and 4th in the SMAC.
Kyler Copenhaver, Three Rivers: Talent made a few appearances during Kyler’s debut to the high school scene. On the cusp of crashing through 17:00, he ran his best race on the biggest stage, helping Three Rivers move onto run another week. When you share a last name to a Michigan linebacker from the best defense ever, you know how to perform an important role for your team.
Shay White, St. Joseph: Always here for that year to year improvement. 18:42 in his 9th grade year, 16:56 in a year’s time.
Skye Smith, Vicksburg: Gave a few great efforts in the longer distances during track. Four sub-11’s and a single sub-5, the aerobic capacity is high at such a young age.
Javier Kelly-Martinez, Three Rivers: Four days after clinching his first St. Joseph County title, he one-upped himself with a nearly 20 second personal best on the regional stage.
Sulley Zietlow, Three Rivers: I’m calling it now. It may be this year, but it’ll definitely be next year: Three Rivers will be a top-10 team in Division 2. Sully is ANOTHER underclassmen who spent much of 2021’s October in the 17’s.
Tucker Radgens, Vicksburg: Wasn’t looking likely early, but come late October, Tucker matched his championship season from the season prior. In two consecutive years, he’s run a season best at Regionals.
Side note: is it me or does this region have the best names?
Elena Figueroa, St. Joseph: Flashed greatness in cross, but took it a step further in track. Became a reliable figure in the 1600m late, a virtual guarantee to run 5:25.
Grace Pettit, Plainwell: Grace has been through it all and accomplished it all. Twice All-State, Allegan County Champ, three-time state qualifier. A great career with one year left.
Charlie Drew, Edwardsburg: Charlie’s freshman year saw her close the fall with five consecutive sub-21 efforts.
Amanda Laughery, Vicksburg: As a sophomore, Amanda closed her year with many efforts in the 21’s, qualified for State, an all-around success. Her junior year wasn’t on the same trajectory UNTIL a giant 15+ second personal best on regional day.
Anezka Pradna, Three Rivers: Over in Region 12 last October, Anezka picked a great day to run a 20+ second personal best. She was 10th there, her second consecutive state qualifier.
Olivia Timmons, Otsego: One of those Otsego girls ready to step up and shine. Learned from their upperclasswomen, then took that knowledge to a final three meets where she was able to break 21:00 on each occasion.