Regional Previews: Division 2, Region 11

Where: Allendale HS

Primarily flat with a few bumps in the back section. Wide open, solid footing, easy for spectators. A waterlogged mess for everyone else, last year’s regionals ran fast in comparison. Expect some personal bests as Grand Rapids area athletes are known to do as the season ends. Thank you to the Allendale folks for hosting many regionals. Easier for state officials, easier for me, just copy/pasting what I previously wrote.

2021 Boys: Grand Rapids Christian (4th), Spring Lake (24th), Allendale (20th)

2021 Girls: Grand Rapids Christian (2nd), Spring Lake (6th), Allendale (15th)

There have been a few changes to this Allendale regional, a bit more subtle compared to other areas of the state. Holland moves down from Division 1 and they bring Holland Christian along with them, both teams containing solid outfits in both genders. Out are the two Muskegon schools, moving north, and West Catholic, entering the Division 3 realm. Also moving in are Zeeland East and Hamilton, an additional two solid squads.

With all this solidity, the quality is deep and teams that might normally make it to face another week will be under pressure to perform. At the highest levels of the sport in our country, you need to perform on that day, whether it’s the Marathon Trials on the roads or the Olympic Trials on the track. No seven game series, no consolation bracket, just one day.

Whereas the girls side appears set, the boys have two spots available from what looks to be four teams. Grand Rapids Christian loses two from their 4th place outfit, Tinsae and Ben were reliably low sticks. However, behind them are a host of young thinclads ready to burst to the forefront.

The Maroons from Holland Christian are a favorite to advance, appearing to have the best 3rd-7th runners of the rest of the pack. That characteristic will be heightened if they’re available to make it to the Speedway.

With the talented runners from GR Christian and Holland Christian filling up the middle of the pack, the next team will need to place runners ahead of that massive grouping. Take your pick, for Holland, is it guys such as Noah Lambers and Dylan Chmura ahead of the field? Hamilton’s Josh Langeland channeling his regional form from 12 months prior? Or does Kilian Whalen afford enough of a gap towards the front?

Top 25 Boys Teams: Grand Rapids Christian (5th), Holland Christian (13th), Allendale (15th), Hamilton (21st), Holland (24th)

Top 25 Girls Teams: Grand Rapids Christian (Top 4), Spring Lake (7th), Zeeland East (14th), Holland (23rd)

Here, I’m writing at least a little anecdote about kids that are in the top-15 but aren’t freshman (Lilah, Alina), in the 50 Tickets (Alison, Kilian, Natalie, Reuben), or on Top 10 teams (Grand Rapids Christian with one post done and another coming, don’t forget Spring Lake). 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. If there’s an error in here, let me know.

Adrian Castillo, Holland: Time-wise, Adrian has been fairly consistent throughout his career. Each of the past three seasons, he’s been below 17:00 at his best. The striking difference between his junior year and the other two? A State Finals appearance, cherished after two years of missing out.

Gavin Wiersma, Zeeland East: Perhaps the greatest evidence of Gavin’s progress was the meets in which he competed. In 2020, his championship season ended at Pre-Regionals. This past fall, through Regionals and onto State.

Max VanHuis, Hamilton: Blazed through last year’s Otsego regional, hitting the line in 7th, five places ahead of his projection. That 16:23 was a 30+ seconds quicker than his sophomore best.

Jeb Hillary, Grand Rapids Catholic Central: Popped a sub-17 in the middle of last season, but kicked it up a notch during track. His 4:36 in the 1600m ranked 12th amongst all Lower Peninsula freshmen.

Abatu Dykstra, Hamilton: As with Jeb, the young freshman Abatu slipped under 17:00. For the spring, he concentrated more on the 2-lapper, reaching 7th place in the OK Blue.

Nick Riemersma, Zeeland East: Many tools in the toolshed for Nick. As XC endurance athlete, he’s been sub-17:00. Surprisingly, this hasn’t zapped his power, as he hit new lows in the 400m (51.4) and heights in the high jump (6’0”).

Ian Richthammer, Grand Rapids Catholic Central: Toward the close of his freshman fall, Ian had found his way into the mid-18’s. A year later, he began there, then progressed to the mid-17’s. What’s next, the mid-16’s? Whatever he’s doing, it’s working.

Aidan Brinks, Holland Christian: Holland Christian is a sleeper to gravitate towards that top-10 and higher. It’s always a big help when you have youngsters such as Aidan come in and find success, especially in championship meets. Aidan brought his game to the OK Blue Conference Meet, placing 8th with a massive personal best.

Emily Tomes, Grand Rapids Catholic Central: In two short years, Emily has managed to finish top-10 twice at Regionals, top-5 twice in the OK Green, and had the most shocking performance of the 2020 State Meet, where she placed 9th in the entirety of Division 2.

Emma Margaron, Holland: Rookie season contained an October full of races that were sub-21 and a top-5 placing in the OK Green.

Alyssa Butterfield, Allendale: Has a penchant for racing her best in the closing stages of the season. Resulting from that quickened state has been an OK Blue title and a 2nd place finish.

Trina Farris, Hamilton: Her XC season was cut short, so she went and saved her big-time performances for track. Third place in the OK Blue 3200m was her best conference final at that distance.


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