Where: Hess Hathaway
Home of the “Beautiful Lady”, a massive hill ran twice en route to regional glory. But don’t discount the other rollers – and leave a bit for that last stretch. Based on the tight packs for qualifying spots and team trophies, there will be races won or lost down the stretch. Last year’s OAA Blue course ran curiously fast, the remainder of the meets held here were a solid -30 or so. My guess is this runs a little slower than other regionals, a perfect test for the mix of Macomb and Oakland County teams. Course map and elevation chart:
2021 Boys: Royal Oak (24th), Troy (26th), Grosse Pointe South (25th)
2021 Girls: Troy (25th), Birmingham Seaholm (19th), Royal Oak (28th)
Well, this was a major shakeup. Region 8, or the Grosse Pointe South Regional, had typically been an urban, inner-ring suburb, blue-collar, low to middle-class affair, teams from lower Oakland and Macomb County mixing it up with the Detroit schools at either the Beach or Chandler Park. Grosse Pointe South is curiously no longer hosting regionals (in track as well), 100% understandable as they’ve held that burden for as long as I can remember.
With the change comes a new location and a new mix of teams, coming from all walks of the Metro area. Waterford Mott to Warren Cousino, Oxford to Royal Oak. This should be a welcome respite for the Oxford, Clarkston, Utica, and Rochester’s of the world, no longer battling it out with Romeo or Stoney Creek. But it’ll be tougher for Troy. The Colts appear up for the task, bringing back young studs such as D’Souza and Ravishankar, along with their girl pack that’s been a consistent force for years.
I’m extremely excited for the new blood, potentially both in winning and qualifying. Utica’s girls narrowly missed a spot last year, defeated by Macomb Dakota by a mere three points. New competition, new course, new freshmen, could that get the Chieftains over the hump? Oxford’s boys were far back over at Anchor Bay. I don’t even have Lucas Ames listed here in the top-20, but based on his track season, there’s no doubt he can make his way in here, bumping Oxford to what could be a top-10 outfit.
*note – an earlier version of this post contained an Oxford runner that apparently isn’t competing. This shouldn’t impact the team standings too much, but will definitely move Oxford down within Division 1. Tremendous depth in that program.*
Top 25 Boys Teams: Utica (12th), Oxford (13th), Clarkston (25th)
Top 25 Girls Teams: Oxford (5th), Rochester (14th)
Here, I’m writing at least a little anecdote about kids that are in the top-15 but aren’t freshman (Camryn), in the 50 Tickets (D1, Alexandra, Ethan, Mallory, Sebas, and a quiet assassin), or on Top 10 teams (Oxford). 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, please message me. After 250+ pages worth of writing, there might be a few mistakes.
Bryce Nowik, Clarkston: Coming from a running family and a strong Clarkston tradition, it’s hard not to shoot for success. Bryce got there as a freshman in track, finishing with medals in both the 1600 and 3200m at the Freshman County meet. He expanded on his speed this spring, an enormous breakthrough of 4:28 at Brighton Bulldog that was matched at Region 9 a few weeks later.
Vishvaa Ravishankar, Troy: There’s a reason I mentioned Troy above, and that reason is track seasons like Vishvaa’s. His 9:39 in the 3200m placed 5th in Oakland County.
James Cusick, Oxford: Andrew Nolan, Gage Killewald, Ty Parker are all athletes that won the 1600m at the Freshman County Meet. Two compete for Michigan State, one is setting all sorts of records over at Walled Lake Northern. Having captured that crown with a 4:36, the future is bright.
Louis D’Souza, Troy: Following just behind Vishvaa is another talented youngster. First it was a 16:57 at his final race at State, then it was sub-10 at the Oakland County meet.
Ethan Muraszewski, Utica: Over here being a student of the sport and great teammate. After two years of consistent work, the payoffs are coming. Last year, it was an upset at Anchor Bay and a sub-10 on track. This summer, setting the junior class record at Utica’s camp time trial. What’s next to come?
Luke Peardon, Lake Orion: An important contributor behind Lake Orion’s sendoff to Stan Ford, a 9th place finish in Division 1. His leadership will be important with the transition to a new coach, that leadership was present when he turned a disappointing close in October/November into another sub-2 800m in May.
Nathan D’Souza, Rochester Adams: He had only come close once – a 17:09 at Holly, but the majority of Nathan’s races throughout his career were above 17:30. Not the OAA Red Championship, that was a 16:54, a 10th place finish, his greatest finish yet.
Andrew Floros, Clarkston: I have a feeling his miles this spring will be a boon for his races this fall. Andrew got down as low as 4:37 in the 1600m during his first track season at the HS level.
Addison Johnson, Utica: Love her ability to bounce back when things don’t go her way. After a 11:18 at the New Balance 3200m, a state qualifier seemed a sure thing. But when that didn’t occur, the next week she went out and grabbed a Macomb County 3200m title.
Chloe Nixon, Rochester: At the 2021 Lake Orion track regional, Chloe narrowly missed a qualifying spot, running 11:15, only a few seconds away. I was glad to see her grab that second place up in Lapeer this year.
Amanda Soldan, Rochester Adams: Is it a coincidence that she’s run a season or personal best at Regional/State? I think not.
Meagan Verellen, Utica: Meagan excels when the conditions are toughest, a great attribute for this course. Projected 15th at the Anchor Bay Regional, she crossed the line in 10th, her second consecutive state qualifier.
Maisie Konwinski, Troy: 20+ races into her career, Maisie had to be elated coming through the line in 19:59 at the OAA Red Championship. Over two weeks later, that was followed up by her best placing at MIS.
Elaina Rondeau, Troy: Nabbed a sub-20 for the third straight year and at Chandler Park, had the best place she’s had in her career, a 2nd to Haley Deighan.
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