Two-time defending State Champs, St. Louis, looked to be a lock in the summer and with these last few weeks, has further established their legitimacy. The question coming into the year was: who would join them? After a month or so of action, I think we have some answers. Caro has added the necessary components that left the Tigers out of the summer writings, and even their returners have shown progress. Jacob Moore, for example, is knocking on the door of the 17’s, an area not within sight a year ago. Sanford-Meridian was projected to have five in the top-20, I don’t see any reason that can’t happen. For a team already thought to have an easier path through this region, extra insurance is a bonus, adding a kid such as Tyler Heal, who’s entered the 17:00 range in his first season with the Mustangs.
The girls side also closely resembles those thoughts posted a month ago. Unfortunately, Reese doesn’t appear to have brought out the numbers to score a full squad. Into that void has stepped those pesky Sharks, who placed 2nd in the initial TVC 10 Jamboree and have seen solid time reductions from Abby Dice and Laney Pestrue. Lost in the sea of the hundreds of teams I attempt to cover is a squad such as Sandusky. Need I remind you that the Redskins finished 13th in the State last year and return a great number of those same girls? Speaking of the State Finals, Caro may have been ranked #6 in last week’s rankings, don’t be shocked if they’re in a better place than that come November.
|1||11||Ben March||St. Louis||190.8|
|4||10||Landon Pestrue||St. Louis||171.4|
|5||12||Dylan Marr||St. Louis||165.8|
|8||10||Colin Kuhn||St. Louis||148.9|
|9||9||Alex Rodriguez||St. Louis||147.3|
|11||9||Hayden Shattuck||St. Louis||142.9|
|14||9||Jayden Fox||Saginaw Valley Lutheran||139.9|
|19||11||Caleb Geiger||Bad Axe||131.4|
|2||11||Jaiden Dickman||St. Louis||117.4|
|5||11||Claire Neumann||Saginaw Valley Lutheran||109.3|
|14||11||Emma Lang||Bad Axe||74.9|
|15||11||Olivia Urban||Otisville LakeVille||72.7|
|16||10||Abby Dice||St. Louis||71.6|
|18||11||Diana Cortes||Cass City||70.9|
|19||9||Carla Cortes||Cass City||62.4|
|20||12||Laney Pestrue||St. Louis||57.9|
Let’s take another look back to the ole summer preview and how wrong it was. Clio and Frankenmuth (boys and girls) for two examples. Landen Wise showed his goods during track, the 4th fastest freshmen 1600m runner in the state. The youth movement hasn’t stopped there, Brett Magnus and Anthony Plana both contributors to a team that placed 2nd in the first TVC 8 Jamboree. The first team? Oh those reliable Freeland Falcons. Clio has to be the eye opener thus far, one of the greater impacts on their rise being Andrew Yax, a steady figure in the low-17’s during these first few weeks.
If this girls race isn’t one of the more competitive and tightly wound regional races, I don’t know what is. Projected within 15 points are four teams with a legitimate shot of winning, making it in, or being left out. Shepherd, Freeland, and Alma all made it last year and can use that past experience as a guide. Frankenmuth has added a trio of freshmen behind Mary Richmond, that youth improving with each race. These four teams are so away and ahead of the others that there’s a real chance that each can put four in the top-20.
Shepherd opened with a win at Early Season Warrior, a 2nd place at Under the Lights, but were subdued with a few setbacks in early September. A Jack Pine victory could be the start of some championship momentum for a team projected just sliiightly out of the money. Freeland’s order isn’t the one expected in August, but I blame that squarely on Paige Kloha, running the best she has since her freshman year (7 second PB last weekend!). And given the summertime grief from those Ithaca gorlz, one must give credit where it’s due. You improve the girls that are already on the Panther team, Hannah Raglin, running 30-40 seconds faster than she ever has, you add 400m stud Joy Evans, sprinkle in frontrunner Ezgi Kurt, and you have a team set up to win championships.
Now who nails it on Regional Day?
|6||11||David Murphy||Flint Powers Catholic||185.4|
|15||10||Owen Fennelly||Saginaw Swan Valley||170.6|
|16||12||Aidan Lobsinger||Flint Powers Catholic||170.0|
|19||12||Bryce Husen||Birch Run||162.4|
|13||12||Alexcis Parker||Flint Powers Catholic||98.8|
|20||11||Ava Boggs||Flint Kearsley||92.9|
As the guy responsible for much of the cross country discourse in the State, this falls on me. The Okemos girls are the least talked about D1 team in the State. Winners of the Corunna Early Bird and leading in the CAAC Blue, 2nd at John Bruder, 8th at Spartan Elite. I think it’s the lack of eye-popping frontrunners. But winners don’t place you high in big fields, depth does that, and the Chiefs have plenty of that, seven capable of running under 20:30.
Those East Lansing boys have been the real thorn in my side (sorry, Caledonia) the past few years. Graduating Zeleke and Page, what could be expected of the Trojans? Nothing much really other than Sam Booth grasping a gigantic PB in comparison to last season (and 4 minutes faster than his 2019 self) and Eden Lampi breaking 17:00 for the first time ever.
|1||11||Kenny Lewis||Saginaw Heritage||199.8|
|2||12||Joe Muha||Traverse City Central||198.5|
|3||12||Micah Bauer||Traverse City Central||197.9|
|4||11||Noah Selvaraj||Bay City Western||193.5|
|5||12||Jonah Hochstetler||Traverse City West||193.4|
|6||12||Jett Reimers||Traverse City Central||192.6|
|7||12||Gabriel Trevino||Saginaw Heritage||188.9|
|8||11||Willem DeGood||Traverse City West||187.8|
|9||11||Zack Truszkowski||Traverse City Central||186.3|
|11||11||Alex Durocher||Traverse City Central||177.8|
|12||12||Gabe Benavides||East Lansing||176.9|
|13||12||Sam Elder||Grand Ledge||176.7|
|14||12||Theodore Lange||Saginaw Heritage||175.8|
|16||10||Elijah Hutchinson||Grand Ledge||175.4|
|17||11||Eden Lampi||East Lansing||175.0|
|18||11||Colin MacGregor||H.H. Dow||173.8|
|20||12||Sam Booth||East Lansing||171.3|
|1||12||Anna Delgado||East Lansing||166.9|
|2||12||Taylor Pangburn||Grand Ledge||147.5|
|3||10||Victoria Garces||H.H. Dow||145.9|
|4||10||Isabelle Becker||Bay City Western||137.5|
|8||11||Ava King||Traverse City West||133.1|
|10||11||Katie Watkins||H.H. Dow||131.5|
|11||10||Sydney Roberts||H.H. Dow||128.9|
|12||12||Ambria Nagel||Bay City Western||127.4|
|13||9||Abby Veit||Traverse City West||126.4|
|14||11||Alexis Ball||Traverse City Central||126.0|
|15||9||Bailey Wenzlick||Traverse City West||123.4|
|16||9||Aviana Skinner||Grand Ledge||122.0|
|18||11||Ella Kirkwood||Traverse City Central||117.6|