Uncategorized

Division 1 State Preview

You’ll notice the summaries are a bit shorter here. Written at 2am on Friday morning, after 300,000 words (about a 1200 page novel) and 4.5 months of work, I’m a little tired. I hope you understand. 🙂

I’ll see you all on Saturday. I’ll be hanging out in the Michigan Room, where the All-State athletes and Top 2 Teams congregate before going on stage. The MHSAA asked me to do this and it was a no-brainer. I get to meet so many of these great athletes I look up to and have covered throughout their careers.

Have a great weekend and THANK YOU.

Girls Team

PlaceTeamScore1st Girl2nd Girl3rd Girl4th Girl5th Girl6th Girl7th Girl
1Ann Arbor Pioneer59361011293592
2Holland West Ottawa134141455606184
3Saline15113223438444769
4Traverse City Central179223415063117144
5Northville221827315897114127
6Brighton250124357677186107
7Romeo29718365191101131134
8Plymouth33293349120121165185
9Grand Haven35226657576110135149
10Temperance Bedford357
11Oxford364
12Ann Arbor Skyline373
13Bay City Western374
14South Lyon East389
15Walled Lake Northern391
16Forest Hills Northern410
17St. Joseph423
18Rockford436
19Macomb Dakota459
20Zeeland West461
21Salem477
22Highland-Milford489
23Troy511
24H.H. Dow516
25Saginaw Heritage552
26Grand Blanc570
27Birmingham Seaholm617
28Royal Oak720

Ann Arbor Pioneer – the emergence of Natalie Mello.  She didn’t run cross as a 9th grader and has quickly acquitted herself to the sport, stepping in as their 5th girl capable of running in the low-19’s. 

Holland West Ottawa – Abby & Sophie Bonnema. Their improvement each and every year is a great backbone for the talent that West Ottawa possesses.  Although Sophie has run into some injury trouble, she’ll still be a valuable contributor Saturday.

Saline – the steady career of Madison Stern.  She’s finished in the top-10 in the SEC every year, top-100 in the State as well.  She’s had her best season to date time-wise, and has put herself in position to step onto the All-State podium

Traverse City Central – the freshman to sophomore leap of Alexis Ball.  Compare similar courses and meets and you’ll see the dramatic drop.  At Bluejay, 20:01 to 18:28.  Big North Conference, 16th place to 4th place. 

Girls Individual

PlaceGradeNameTeamRating
111Arianne OlsonHolland West Ottawa177.2
212Julia FlynnTraverse City Central174.2
310Rachel ForsythAnn Arbor Pioneer172.9
49Helen SachsHolland West Ottawa167.6
512Madison FosterTemperance Bedford162.6
611Allie ArnsmanGrandville160.4
712Sarah ForsythAnn Arbor Pioneer156.6
810Jayden HarbertsMacomb Dakota155.9
912Jennie LineNorthville155.8
1012Lauren KileyPlymouth154.9
1112Lisa LueckeAllen Park152.9
1212Cookie BaughAnn Arbor Pioneer152.3
1311Emily CooperAnn Arbor Pioneer152.0
149Lucy CookRochester150.5
1511Mackenzie WrightHowell149.6
1612Katie CarothersBrighton148.2
1712Maddie SternSaline148.0
1812Abby BonnemaHolland West Ottawa148.0
1911Annika SandmanLowell147.6
2012Chloe WallWaterford Kettering146.7
2111Allison CornellForest Hills Northern145.8
2212Madi SzymanskiAlpena145.6
2310Mia BatesonForest Hills Central145.5
2411Isabell KulickSalem145.2
2511Anna DelgadoEast Lansing144.5
2610Ava KingTraverse City West143.6
2712Adit DauGrand Rapids Ottawa Hills143.5
2811Lola ThomasGrand Blanc143.0
2911Madison ClorRomeo142.3
3010Mariah BelmontMacomb Dakota142.2
3110Alexandra BrighamClarkston142.2
329Ashley SobczynskiHolly142.1
3311Liliane AittamaSouth Lyon East142.1
349Mallory BigelowOxford141.3
3511Taylor PangburnGrand Ledge141.3
3612Madi WoodSaline141.2
3710Alexis BallTraverse City Central141.2
389Jordyn KlaasenZeeland West140.5
3912Lauren SancrantTemperance Bedford140.4
4010Selma AndersonGrand Rapids Ottawa Hills140.1
4111Genavieve Kushner-LopezWalled Lake Western139.4
429Valerie BeeckGrand Haven139.3
439Cassie GarciaNorthville139.2
449Isabelle BeckerBay City Western139.2
4510Natalie MelloAnn Arbor Pioneer139.2
4610Katie WatkinsH.H. Dow139.0
4710Ella ChristensenNorthville138.3
4812Kate JenkinsBloomfield Hills138.0
4911Emma NetzelHolt137.7
5011Caroline VanceAnn Arbor Skyline137.5

Arianne Olson – took a bit of a hit last cross season, has avenged that and more.  Undefeated and hitting absurd times. 

Julia Flynn – had some heel trouble late in track season, laid down some impressive times early in the year.  She’s been similarly dominant.  Also undefeated, but I don’t get the sense she has gone all out that often this year.

Rachel Forsyth – has the speed, range, and numerous results.  Tested Olson and Flynn for the first few miles at Portage and Pete Moss.

Helen Sachs – the unshakeable freshman almost nipped Forsyth at the line at Portage.  I had her as the #5 freshman coming in, she’s far and away exceeded those expectations. 

Madison Foster – Portage and Regionals are portals into her potential.  Although a bit of a gap between Forsyth/Sachs and Madison, she’s still the leader of the rest of the pack.  7th place last year and owner of a 17:49 PB.

Boys Team

PlaceTeamScore1st Boy2nd Boy3rd Boy4th Boy5th Boy6th Boy7th Boy
1Brighton16010152951556880
2Caledonia193163339416470106
3Northville20420263659637884
4Romeo212353435135163173
5Lake Orion2232730324589104137
6Traverse City Central2402233174110148149
7Hartland2471214453128134151
8Grand Haven25371175798192176
9White Lake Lakeland2802228627197132156
10Livonia Churchill33537475891102124127
11Walled Lake Northern336
12Ann Arbor Pioneer340
13Portage Central348
14Rockford350
15Saline352
16Highland-Milford363
17East Lansing378
18Plymouth386
19Battle Creek Lakeview402
20Lowell403
21Davison410
22Grosse Pointe South535
23Port Huron Northern549
24Saginaw Heritage552
25Royal Oak629
26Monroe644
27Troy743

Brighton – On a team that is quizzically polarizing, Tyler Langley is a source of levity.  His ratings are consistently in the 192-196 range.

Caledonia – Josh Oom’s sprint to the finish.  His last three races have been 16:04, 15:57, 15:55, with the latter being a Region 3 victory.

Northville – Freshman Ethan Powell’s consistency (side note – what is with these freshman being so darn reliable?).  He’s been a force at the front of championship races, finishing 5th at Wayne County, 7th at KLAA, and 3rd in Region 6

Romeo – the late season emergence of Bryce Goodsell.  He’s improved by leaps and bounds in his last two races and if he runs what he did at Regionals, Romeo has a shot at the team title.

Lake Orion – The single year improvement of Clayton Kuiper.  Once again, we compare courses.  2020 Regionals were at Clintonwood, he ran 16:50, finishing 30th.  2021’s OAA Red Championship on the same course, 16:10.

Boys Individual

PlaceGradeNameTeamRating
112Riley HoughHartland227.4
212Jeremy WilliamsLapeer212.6
312Luke VenhuizenTraverse City Central211.5
412Peter BaraccoFarmington210.3
512Jack KelkeRomeo210.1
612Owen JohnsonAnn Arbor Pioneer208.2
712Owen SharnasRomeo207.8
812Matthew ZelekeEast Lansing205.9
912Matthew CrowleyMidland205.2
1010Seth NorderGrand Haven204.3
1111Benne AndersonGrand Rapids Ottawa Hills202.8
1212Klay GrantMuskegon Reeths-Puffer201.8
1312Brady McArdleDavison201.4
1412Easton WilliamsHighland-Milford201.2
1512Quinn CullenBrighton201.0
1611Nolan ClarkGrand Haven200.2
1711Jonah HochstetlerTraverse City West199.9
1811Nicholas NegruWalled Lake Central199.9
1912Parker LaGroBattle Creek Lakeview199.7
2011Sean ByrnesPlymouth199.3
2111Luke ButlerMonroe198.8
2212Blake ChipmanFlushing198.4
2312Jack CampbellBrighton198.4
2412Juan David HernandezGrand Rapids Ottawa Hills198.2
2512Josh OomCaledonia198.1
2612Ryan O’RourkeHighland-Milford198.0
2712Anders HoweOkemos197.7
2812Kenny MintoDavison197.5
2912Michael WilliamsLapeer197.4
3012William ThomasWalled Lake Northern197.4
3110Brendan HergerNorthville197.3
3212Luke NelsonSalem197.1
3312Liam ElderGrand Ledge196.8
3412David SamsonHartland196.7
3512Alex SullivanWhite Lake Lakeland196.4
3611Micah BauerTraverse City Central196.4
3712Jayden PageEast Lansing196.4
3811Logan DetweilerGrosse Pointe South196.1
399Ethan PowellNorthville195.9
4012Adam HafeliLake Orion195.2
4112Sam YeagerForest Hills Central195.2
4211Jared PlattWhite Lake Lakeland195.0
4310Tyler LangleyBrighton194.9
4411Nicolas FryAnn Arbor Skyline194.8
4512Clayton KuiperLake Orion194.5
4611Joe MuhaTraverse City Central194.4
4712Hong Bing TangLake Orion194.3
4811Jordan DomanyCaledonia194.2
4912Jack WallaceRomeo193.8
5010Connor ClorRomeo193.5

Riley Hough – Untouched and unchallenged on grass this year.  I don’t look at any national rankings or ratings, but I can’t imagine there’s anyone better in the nation right now.

Jeremy Williams – Is not a mudder.  Missed last year’s edition due to contact tracing, is back and ready to capture his first All-State.  Other than Regionals, incredibly consistent even if it’s not always a winning effort (this is a compliment – he seeks out competition).

Luke Venhuizen – 15:03 at Shepherd and it’s been on from there.  Defeated Williams at Regionals, does he benefit from the thick, plush grass of the Speedway?

Peter Baracco – Has molded his whole season around capturing the State title.  In June’s 3200m final, the strategy was a move at an unconventional time, 900 to go.  What will the curveball be this time?

Jack Kelke – hit times early and championships late.  MAC Division, Macomb County, and Region 9 all belong to him.

TUCK COMIN’

This section is dedicated to all the college football coaches, players, and teams that are rollin’ hot through the season, ready to beat Ohio State in November and crash the MIS party on Saturday.

Plymouth Girls – Claudia Swenson and Megan Olsen have stepped up as reliable 4th and 5th runners.  That depth helped them procure the upset win over Northville in Region 6.

Mia Bateson – Sub-19:00 for seven consecutive races, including a 18:18 at OK White 4.

Milford Boys – Never doubt Sal’s Magic.  Upset win over Lakeland and Walled Lake Northern at Region 7.  I have the Mavericks below those two again, can they repeat?

Seth Norder – The sophomore has been handily beating upperclassmen come championship season.  Back to back victories at OK Red and Region 1.

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Division 2 State Preview

Girls Team

PlaceTeamScore1st Girl2nd Girl3rd Girl4th Girl5th Girl6th Girl7th Girl
1East Grand Rapids55271016203341
2Petoskey132522233646170188
3Grand Rapids Christian1401428357278102
4Forest Hills Eastern16119212437607494
5Otsego23013455055677982
6Freeland244912299698145154
7Goodrich2908315197103162163
8Mason3063495792105125150
9Spring Lake340174347114119130140
10Marshall34726626495100178183
11Williamston366
12Warren Regina371
13Shepherd386
14Pinckney388
15Zeeland East390
16Allendale405
17Chelsea409
18Cadillac421
19Tecumseh429
20Dearborn Divine Child451
21Grand Rapids South Christian466
22Holland Christian500
23Marysville511
24Remus Chippewa Hills527
25Alma558
26Bloomfield Hills Marian578
27Croswell-Lexington583

The East Grand Rapids dynasty continues.  They’ve been such a face of Division 2 success that everyone should know their home run hitters.  Cammy Bodine is the 800m star, Drew Muller has range for every distance, and MIS may very well be Ainsley Workman’s home course (three straight top-10’s).  But let’s concentrate on a few others: Abigail Petr returns from a few disjointed seasons to shore up the back of their speedy pack.  Sophia Lado has run in the low-19’s on multiple occasions.  Sadey Seyferth has to be a mudder, her best performance of the year came at Regionals.  While we’re at it, let’s not forget Katie Edison, the senior security blanket who’s been in the low-20’s all year. 

Some were wondering, especially after the loss of Smith, Squires, Liederbach, and Harris – why was Petoskey ranked so high in the summer?  Their returning runners, although not featured as often because of their outstanding 2021 class, had posted some solid times in 2020.  The pre-season rankings don’t account for this, but if they did, this would be a factor.  The North(wo)men just get better throughout the year.  A prime example of that would be CamBrie Corey.  She was above 21:00 at Spartan and has been sub-20 in her past three races.

Grand Rapids Christian is so young, oh so young.  Behind Madelyn Frens, their main group consists of four sophomores.  They’re in a tough conference, constantly running against East Grand Rapids, so the Eagles are gunning for it in any conference meet.  And in the final OK White Meet, they suffered a narrow defeat by the slimmest of margins.  Can they summon another effort on the big stage?

Girls Individual

PlaceGradeNameTeamRating
110Mary RichmondFrankenmuth155.3
212Madelyn FrensGrand Rapids Christian153.5
310Drew MullerEast Grand Rapids151.0
410Meghan FordMason149.9
510Natalie VanOtterenGrand Rapids Christian148.3
612Noel VanderwallPetoskey141.3
712Sarah StoreyRemus Chippewa Hills140.3
811Camryn BodineEast Grand Rapids137.9
99Kamryn LauingerGoodrich137.0
1010Emma DeVriesGR West Michigan Aviation136.8
1112Whitney FarrellFreeland135.4
1212Ainsley WorkmanEast Grand Rapids134.7
1310Allison KuzmaZeeland East134.2
1412Mara LongeneckerFreeland134.1
1510Megan GermainOtsego133.6
1612Lily MatawayFlint Powers Catholic133.5
1712Grace ZdankiewiczWarren Regina133.1
1812Julia FinleyBelding132.7
1912Kendall SchopierayCadillac132.1
209Sadey SeyferthEast Grand Rapids131.6
2112Alyna LewisParma Western130.6
2210Clara FletcherSt. Johns130.5
2311Lily ParkerSpring Lake129.5
2412Mackenzie HillPlainwell129.4
259Nicole SchaferWilliamston128.0
2611Ellory ClasonForest Hills Eastern127.0
2710Sophia LadoEast Grand Rapids126.8
2811Sarah DixonForest Hills Eastern126.6
2912Caroline FarleyPetoskey126.3
3010CamBrie CoreyPetoskey125.9
3110Ashlyn SmithForest Hills Eastern125.4
3210Emily TomesGrand Rapids Catholic Central125.4
339Ava CrewsMiddleville Thornapple-Kellogg125.0
3410Cecelia ThoringtonPinckney123.9
3511Lauren HunterHaslett123.4
3610Camille DeColaMarshall123.3
379Josie JenkinsonOwosso123.1
3811Chesney WilkeTecumseh122.8
3910Payton HoltzGrand Rapids Christian122.7
4012Haileigh BissettNorth Branch122.5
4112Maggie DubaGrand Rapids West Catholic122.3
429Landrey KuhnFreeland121.7
4311Ariel WarnerShepherd121.0
4410Olivia GizaGoodrich120.8
4512Hannah FisherMarysville120.4
4611Abigail PetrEast Grand Rapids119.7
4710Zoe HokePontiac Notre Dame Prep119.6
4810Alyssa ButterfieldAllendale119.4
4910Naomi NelsonGrand Rapids Christian119.3
5011Emma JanesakSparta119.2

If there’s some sort of career achievement award, Madelyn Frens deserves it.  Not just for her accomplishments and accolades, but the curveballs thrown her way.  She didn’t complete her 2019 State Meet, having to be helped off the course.  She came back from that to finish top-5 the following year, and then the next spring, capture her first State title.  This fall, she busted out a 17:56 opener at Benzie.  The following week, it was unbearable to even run.  The Alter-G became home as she worked through a thigh split (12 years of working in run specialty and I’ve never heard of this), and she’s back and ready to hurt for another title. 

Mary Richmond, on the other hand, has run a TON of races this year.  And at first glance – are there any poor performances?  Quite amazingly, no.  Her lowest rated races came in victories at TVC 8 meets, understandable.  Her defeats to other competitors, she was pulled along to a 17:56 at Shepherd. 

After a bit of a slow start (though I was at each of the races, she was cruising), Meghan Ford has come back into her own in October.  She’s posted three 150+ races in October, the equivalent of 18:30 and below.  She’s won her second consecutive Regional championship.  Hard to not mention this as well – she’s the top returner in the field.

Boys Team

PlaceTeamScore1st Boy2nd Boy3rd Boy4th Boy5th Boy6th Boy7th Boy
1Otsego1326182036525697
2Chelsea14739404649107132
3Pinckney1811294345637085
4Grand Rapids Christian18671047586490130
5St. Johns1911521245774163194
6Adrian2001419323996119125
7Linden2731617728187151167
8Freeland28411132567168174187
9East Grand Rapids310286162768395121
10St. Clair33144515373110135145
11Petoskey334
12Fremont348
13Flint Powers Catholic381
14Ionia399
15Mason421
16Battle Creek Harper Creek424
17Yale428
18Clio429
19Dearborn Divine Child458
20Spring Lake464
21Sparta468
22Holland Christian529
23Grand Rapids South Christian536
24Allendale558
25Grand Rapids Catholic Central580
26Three Rivers587
27Hamilton606
28Armada689
29Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood753

The Otsego boys were aghast at their pre-season ranking and rightfully so.  As the season started revving up, so did the Bulldogs ranking.  Their coming out party was at Spartan, where they placed 6th and beat many top tier D1 teams.  They continued that hot streak to Cougar Falcon, Otsego Bulldog, and haven’t been challenged since.  Nick Cockerel has been the low stick at the front, but their rise was fueled by two “newcomers”, Tristin Canales and Chase Brown.  Chase has had an unfortunate string of injuries derailing his career, but he’s completed this entire season, a wonderful accomplishment.  Tristin took the 2020 season off and in that two year absence, managed to drop a minute+ from his 2019 best.

As Jacob Tanner noted in his “Top Fives” (seriously cannot thank him enough for putting that out earlier in the week, makes this job a ton easier), Chelsea has been a bit polarizing in their performances.  Their great performances are title worthy (Region 18, Spartan), their subpar performances are Top 5 worthy.  They’re basically the D2 Boys version of Brighton, although they have recent evidence of a great race.  Bram Hartsuff and Connell Alford should be able to mix it up with Canales and Cockerel, their 3rd through 5th will need to give a similar effort to Lake Erie to stoke the upset.  Jonas Norwood seems to be the bellwether, at Spartan and Lake Erie, he ran the equivalent of 16:30-40.

As the weather began to change, so did Grand Rapids Christian.  The Eagles rise began to come about at Otsego Bulldog, where they bested an Adrian squad.  Tinsae Nelson and Ben Zwart have been frontrunners all year, almost inseparable.  That combination is lethal in a pressure-filled setting, they can key off each other deep into the race.  But the aforementioned rise was the result of Simon Triezenberg, Dylan Clark, and Reuben Wiering decreasing their time and upping their game.

Pinckney has been extremely selective in their racing and that should leave their squad fresh and ready to compete.  Caleb Jarema is a known quantity, their success will come from the rest of the pack.  In the Pirates victory over Chelsea at SEC 2, their pack of Ben Richards, Zach Debeauclair, and Evan Loughridge finished in front of Chelsea’s 3rd boy.  The task is expanded for this race, can they stay ahead of everyone’s 3rd boy?

St. Johns is the biggest riser of the bunch.  Unbenownst to myself prior to the season, Joey Bowman transferred in from Lansing Everett.  Joey was an outstanding freshman, having finished the year breaking into the 16’s.  It’s taken a bit of time to find that form, but it’s been found come championship season, especially prominent in his Region 14 victory.  Griffin Armbrustmacher and Michael Dennis are holdovers from last year’s runner-up squad, Isaac Staib and Tyler Dohm are rapidly improving.  If these ratings only included the past month of racing, I have no doubt the Redwings would be a top-3 outfit.

Boys Individual

PlaceGradeNameTeamRating
112Caleb JaremaPinckney218.1
212Ian HillSpring Lake210.2
310Connell AlfordChelsea204.7
411Michael HegartyDearborn Divine Child204.0
512Conor SomersFremont203.7
612Nick CockerelOtsego202.6
712Caden MeyerZeeland East200.1
812Ben ZwartGrand Rapids Christian199.8
912Parker LambersHolland Christian199.7
1012Garrett WinterParchment199.6
1111Bram HartsuffChelsea199.3
1212Tinsae NelsonGrand Rapids Christian198.9
1311Braydon HonsingerFreeland198.2
149Killian WhalenAllendale198.1
159TJ HansenFreeland198.0
1610Braylon PettyAdrian197.1
1712Ethan LeitnerTecumseh197.1
1811Aiden SullivanForest Hills Eastern197.0
1912Griffin ArmbrustmacherSt. Johns196.6
2011Kyle EberhardLinden196.4
2112Race BettichStevensville Lakeshore196.3
2211Camden JohnecheckWilliamston196.0
2312River MeckstrothLinden195.9
2412Mason KolhoffOtsego195.6
2511Aiden SmithAdrian195.0
2612Tristin CanalesOtsego194.9
2711Joey BowmanSt. Johns194.0
2812Josiah MagleyIonia193.3
2911Carter McCalisterMonroe Jefferson192.8
3012Lucas DanicFlint Powers Catholic191.8
3112Michael DennisSt. Johns191.4
3212Jacob SingletonParma Western191.1
3312Jacob WurtzelFreeland191.0
3411Lukas KrieschYale190.6
3512Samuel SmithPetoskey190.6
3610Alex TholeEast Grand Rapids190.0
3710Evan LoughridgePinckney188.9
3812Owen GilbertBattle Creek Harper Creek188.9
3912Gabriel PhillipsClio188.9
4011Bryce SouleAdrian188.7
4112Kyler DeanVicksburg188.1
4212Chase DietrichFlint Powers Catholic187.9
4310Shane IzzardPetoskey187.7
4412Jackson JonesSparta187.5
4511William WinterParchment186.8
4610Nolan PinionLake Fenton186.8
4712Chase BrownOtsego186.2
4811Jake O’NeilRemus Chippewa Hills185.4
4912Landon BuskirkMason185.4
509Alex DonethMason185.2

I realize that I control a lot of the narrative and discussion on XC in this state, so this is partially my fault (and partially Riley Hough’s fault), but Caleb Jarema has ran under the radar all year long.  He’s slipped under the 15:00 barrier at Portage, he’s been undefeated against D2 competition all year.  He was part of that blistering fast New Balance 3200m in May. 

Ian Hill ran 15:33 on that same day at Portage, although there was a bit of weather change throughout said day.  Against a field of D2’s biggest hitters, Ian sped away with the crown by a 15+ second margin.  His only defeat was at Benzie, since then he’s been undefeated. 

I have to explain a little bit on the ratings.  Mike Hegarty and Connell Alford have gone against one another twice this year, Mike coming ahead both times.  But Connell is rated higher.  What the ratings try to do is compare when runners aren’t racing.  In the most appropriate scenario, these will be two runners from separate areas of the state on different courses on different days.  When they haven’t faced one another, Connell has run some of his better races.  But that begs the question: what if Mike had run with Connell at Coaching Legends or the SEC White meets? 

Enough of my rambling, Mike is Mr. October year in, year out.  This year’s version of his exploits was a 15:34 at Otsego.  Connell has been Mr. Consistent in his sophomore campaign.  His only “subpar” efforts were equivalent the very low 16’s. 

If we were judging on the final three races of the year, Conor Somers would be a clear #3.  Breaking 17:00 on the legendary Branstrom Park course might go unnoticed by many, but not to the Fremont folks and myself.  That itself was the equivalent of a 15:30 effort and that was almost duplicated in the hills of Remus.

TUCK COMIN’

This section is dedicated to all the college football coaches, players, and teams that are rollin’ hot through the season, ready to beat Ohio State in November and crash the MIS party on Saturday.

I have been hearing talk in the Cross Country Heartland about how I had Shepherd underrated.  And that is valid talk given their past results.  They’re always at State, they’re always a D3 contender, but THIS IS D2.  It’s a whole different ballgame, right?  Well, I thought I was right until Carly Judge had to ruin it.  In her past two meets, she’s gone under 20:20 both times.  Neither effort is a personal best, but if they’re a glimpse at her State Meet, that may be enough to move the Bluejays near the Top 10.

Our first glimpse (other than if you scour middle school results, who would do that?) of Kamryn Lauinger’s talent was a runaway victory at Holly.  She’s built on that victory with four consecutive 140+ ratings, the equivalent of sub-19.  That area between Flint and Detroit is known for its tough courses.  Kayla O’Mara is hilly, Lake Fenton was a mudbath.  On a fair, dry course, watch out.

Has Ionia all collectively peaked at the right time?  You can point to any of the Bulldog boys and see progress from their St. Francis Regional to meets earlier in the year.  Jacob Montgomery, Ellis Yokom, Josiah Magley, and Heath LaPointe all crushed expectations last Friday and if you plug in their ratings at St. Francis for the rest of the season, Ionia is capable of finishing in the Top 10.

Parker Lambers is hot off a regional effort where he dispatched a number of the state’s best.  And he did it pulling away as well.  I know Otsego is traditionally fast, but 15:36 is an impressive time nonetheless.  Parker has the attributes necessary to be successful (and if anyone is able to spot talent, it’s MSU).  He’s shown it’s not a one-time occurrence either, his wins at Cougar Falcon and Under the Lights were against similarly tough competition.

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Division 3 State Preview

Girls Team

PlaceTeamScore1st Girl2nd Girl3rd Girl4th Girl5th Girl6th Girl7th Girl
1Hart1152394160107127
2Traverse City St. Francis17313152056698081
3Lansing Catholic1807111448100151157
4Kent City1828323851536694
5Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard2161227464982121135
6Jackson Lumen Christi2205103655114122138
7Grand Rapids Covenant Christian2466344370939799
8St. Louis24917193371109116134
9Ithaca2731244277129155165
10Pewamo-Westphalia27816456873768388
11Caro328
12Benzie Central351
13Grandville Calvin Christian377
14Harbor Springs395
15Reese417
16Sandusky420
17Manton429
18Bridgman479
19Onsted481
20Clinton496
22Monroe St. Mary CC502
21Elk Rapids502
23Leslie528
24University Liggett532
25Buchanan557
26Schoolcraft610
27Clawson650
28Madison Heights Bishop Foley807

Can Hart make it five straight State Titles?  With fifth runner Lauren VanderLaan in their corner, very likely.  As 2020 closed, a few teams looked like they had an outside shot at breaking Hart’s streak, and their hopes pinned on a subpar performance from Lauren.  But she went out, ran 21:02, and finished a good 20+ spots better than her pre-race expectation.  Hart’s unreal streak continued and we’re having this same conversation this year.  Although the Ackleys have moved on (from the girls squad), the Pirates are still led by another side of the family, the Enns and bolstered by freshmen Jessica Jazwinski and Lexie Beth Nienhuis.

The question then becomes: who’s second?

Jackson Lumen Christi would be in here, mainly behind the efforts of transfer Sydney Fazekas.  We knew about Faith Smith and Madison Osterberg, but Fazekas’s transfer from Hanover-Horton solidified their depth.  Sadly, Sydney is out with a stress fracture, thus dashing Lumen Christi’s hopes.  They are well-set for future runs with glory here.

Traverse City St. Francis has been remarkably consistent all year, even in the meets without Grace Slocum and Sophia Rhein.  I’m particularly happy for Sophia, as she missed nearly her entire sophomore year.  She’s back and has a great shot at finishing All-State.  Rylee Duffing has been reliable, usually finishing 4th or 5th on the team, while Mary Masserant and Ava Pomaranski have a bit higher variance.  If those two can bring it Saturday, they’re the clear favorite to finish second.

Lansing Catholic is as strong as any through four.  Hannah Pricco has finished 16th in two consecutive State Meets.  This spring, we saw CC Jones respond to Coach Simpson’s training and that has carried over into cross.  The key lies with Hailey Prokop, when adjusting for ratings, she’s improved nearly a minute from her September form. 

Championship Season has been kind to Kent City.  At Portage, they lost to Lumen Christi and finished ahead of Lansing Catholic and St. Francis.  At Saturday’s Region 21 race, they defeated Calvin Christian and Covenant Christian.  Kent Ottawa was their best performance, knocking off Lowell and West Michigan Aviation, both top-25 teams in higher divisions.

Girls Individual

PlaceGradeNameTeamRating
112Lani BloomIthaca167.9
212Rylee TolsonStockbridge158.7
310Alyson EnnsHart157.0
412Allison ChmielewskiRoscommon153.3
59Jessica JazwinskiHart148.4
610Mylie KellyBenzie Central147.5
710Madison OsterbergJackson Lumen Christi146.5
89Eliza BushYpsilanti Arbor Preparatory145.7
912Meghan BeuteGrand Rapids Covenant Christian144.4
1011Hannah PriccoLansing Catholic144.2
119Lila VolkersKent City143.0
1212Audrianna EnnsHart141.2
1312Faith SmithJackson Lumen Christi138.6
1410Miranda McNeilMorley-Stanwood135.5
1511CC JonesLansing Catholic133.7
1612Gianna HovingAnn Arbor Gabriel Richard132.0
1711Sophia RheinTraverse City St. Francis131.5
1810Tessa RoeLansing Catholic131.3
1910Kendra KosterLawton128.4
209Betsy SkendzelTraverse City St. Francis127.3
219Whitney WernerPewamo-Westphalia127.3
2211Ava MaginityBoyne City125.7
2312Libby MunderlohSt. Louis124.1
249Kerith ShortUniversity Liggett123.0
2512Mikenna BorieSt. Louis122.4
269Grace SlocumTraverse City St. Francis122.4
279Makenzie KregerSandusky122.2
2812Leanne KrombeenGrandville Calvin Christian121.0
2912Maye BurnsHarbor Springs120.2
3012Rachael SierakowskiIthaca119.7
3110Ava ViegelahnGrass Lake119.5
3212Elise JohnsonBenzie Central119.0
3312Ava GenoveseColoma118.9
3412Claire ThomsonClawson118.8
3512Marian AvilaAnn Arbor Gabriel Richard118.7
3610Kinsie JacquesPinconning118.6
379Erin LubahnLeslie118.1
3812Molly HardingManton117.0
3911Kara TerakedisOnsted116.9
409Emmry RossOnsted116.7
4112Alyeska LinsleyKent City115.4
4210Jaiden DickmanSt. Louis115.3
439Ashley ChoponisStanton Central Montcalm115.1
4410Amber KooleGrand Rapids Covenant Christian114.8
4512Brooklyn RochowStockbridge114.0
4611Allie KochManchester113.8
479Jaidyn SmithLeslie112.9
489Layla LopezJackson Lumen Christi112.8
4912Gabriella WingardNorth Muskegon112.5
5010Sophia ReynoldsHanover-Horton112.5

Lani Bloom is the favorite here.  What a career, what a ride it’s been.  Three All-State honors, three track titles (one indoor, two outdoor).  Adversity from tough races at MIS, joy from sophomore breakthroughs and overcoming said adversity.  She’s taken this season the right way too, not going to the well every single race, and this sets her up for success this weekend.  She has the strength (sub-17 on the track), she has the speed, she has the experience.

Rylee Tolson hasn’t lost once this entire fall.  She has the mettle of a champion, evidenced by two instances: her comeback from injury during track and her crawl to the finish a year ago.  She didn’t have to finish that race, but she did.  That speaks volumes.  She’s been a frontrunner this entire year, setting a quick early pace and daring others to hang on.  I can all but guarantee these two will duel until the other falls off.

I said this over the summer and I’ll say it again: we will see Allie Chmielewski on the starting line of the Olympic Trials in 2028 or 2032.  It might be the marathon, it might be the 10k, who knows.  She’s oozing in talent and doesn’t come from a traditional D3 power.  Imagine when she gets to MSU, a program that develops talent, and has girls to train with.  I’ve been a major fan of her season, she hasn’t redlined it in too many races, that extra bit of energy should help her in the final 1000m.

Beyond the seniors, I’m interested to see who sets themselves up for titles in 2022:

Alyson Enns has fallen off a bit in the past month, but when she’s on, she’s really freakin’ on.  17:53 at Shepherd has been her best, but 18:18 at Portage is significant here in that she defeated many of the D3 girls she’ll be competing against. 

Mylie Kelly just set a Benzie school record of 18:08.  Her string of races at Cadillac, Bluejay, and Portage show she can bring it when pushed, likely into the low-18’s.

Madison Osterberg finished second behind Enns at Portage, scorching the rest of the field in the final mile.  She has better speed than anyone sans Bloom and also the confidence to let the rest of the field go, knowing she’ll reel them back in. 

Eliza Bush has been the lone wolf over at Ypsi Arbor Prep.  She hasn’t faced the D3-centric competition that most in the field have gone against, but she has run in the mid-18’s on fair courses.

Jessica Jazwinski has actually supplanted Enns in the past month as Hart’s #1.  She’s been through the ringer of races and has been steady each time out.

Boys Team

PlaceTeamScore1st Boy2nd Boy3rd Boy4th Boy5th Boy6th Boy7th Boy
1Hart158111332495370105
2St. Louis16014171945657177
3Lansing Catholic166510364075120132
4Grandville Calvin Christian1763151630112177186
5Traverse City St. Francis18428293337576678
6Ithaca2779125196109125161
7Grand Rapids Covenant Christian306425052808285106
8Stockbridge30724273998119138180
9Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard3122144638797102130
10Charlevoix35042374121128133142
11Caro355
12Bronson362
13Pewamo-Westphalia369
14Harbor Springs371
15Benzie Central372
16Saugatuck397
17Hanover-Horton405
18Madison Heights Bishop Foley408
19Manton425
20Erie Mason427
21Saranac433
22Coloma448
23Hudson466
24Bath493
25Sanford-Meridian569
26Constantine655
27University Liggett678
28Memphis855

Hart hasn’t been the most flashy team all year.  But you don’t need to be flashy to win titles, you need to be reliable.  At any major meet, you’ll find that their average rating hovers between 170-175.  Noah Bosley, Wyatt Dean, and Clayton Ackley have been low sticks up front.  Max Stitt has been surprisingly reliable considering his freshman status.  If he can have Max Nienhuis and Seth Ackley follow his lead, the Pirates have a shot.

St. Louis is again doing that thing where they peak at the right time.  The March brothers in particular have been running their best in the last month.  Although Shepherd’s course has been running a bit quick this year, they both ran below 16:30 at the Scottie Classic, efforts that suggest they’re the among the best 2nd and 3rd runners in the state.  Can they push back another team’s 1st or 2nd?

Lansing Catholic has been bolstered by the addition of Josh Otten.  First a soccer player, then a 4:27 miler, now an XC star.  He didn’t even need a break-in period, placing 2nd behind D2 standout Mike Hegarty at Michigan Catholic.  The Cougars will rely on Stephen Fair as their 5th runner, he’s been in the low-18’s/high-17’s for the past seven races.  That time slot will likely have a mass of runners – a few seconds could make a huge difference. 

Grandville Calvin Christian’s Squires face the extreme example (we’ll see this in future writeups) of four runners and needing a good day from their fifth.  For Trevor Dornbos, he’s had more good days lately than not.  He’s in the same boat as Lansing Catholic’s Fair, where his best performance could move them to a contender.  Nathan Jenkins is battling an injury, but listed in the entries, so he’s included in here.

Traverse City St. Francis might take home the title of the most polarizing team of all-time.  Their Portage performance will win them the state title.  Their Bluejay performance could knock the Glads out of the Top 10. 

Boys Individual

PlaceGradeNameTeamRating
111Hunter JonesBenzie Central216.8
212Noah MorrowManton203.8
312Tyler GuggemosKalkaska194.1
411Nathan JenkinsGrandville Calvin Christian192.9
512Sam PetersonCharlevoix192.3
612Josh OttenLansing Catholic192.0
711Rogan MellingHanover-Horton191.0
810Collin FarmerPewamo-Westphalia191.0
911Cal BenjaminHarbor Springs188.1
1011Parks AllenIthaca187.2
1112David PruderLansing Catholic186.9
1210Samuel MartiniKent City186.8
1311Clayton AckleyHart186.6
1412Jacob WalkerBrooklyn Columbia Central186.2
1512Espen LehnstIthaca186.2
1612Noah BosleyHart183.4
1711Rhett ReifQuincy182.9
1812Carson BrunkPotterville182.3
1910Ben MarchSt. Louis182.2
2012Dan KehoeGrandville Calvin Christian180.7
2112Logan ManionGrandville Calvin Christian180.6
2212Aaron BowermanSt. Louis180.4
2312Chase HobsonMontrose180.4
2412Adam MartinsonSaugatuck179.6
2510Jaden BarnesBloomingdale179.2
2611Andrew HardyStanton Central Montcalm177.3
2712Nate MarchSt. Louis176.9
2811Connor StefanovskyCaro176.4
2910Simon VanderVluchtMonroe St. Mary CC176.3
3010Sunishthh SinghAnn Arbor Gabriel Richard175.0
3110Boden GenoveseColoma174.8
3212Dominic SchweinCharlevoix174.6
3311Micah BoltonStockbridge174.5
3410Alex CzeiszpergerHudson173.9
3510Matthew PattulloCaro173.6
3612Dalton SatkowiakStockbridge173.0
379Josh SlocumTraverse City St. Francis173.0
3812Thomas RichardsTraverse City St. Francis172.9
3911Ben WertzGrandville Calvin Christian172.7
4011Levi MaierChesaning172.4
4112Liam HarlanBath172.4
4211Wyatt DeanHart172.3
4311Josh KerrTraverse City St. Francis171.9
4411Jackson AnselErie Mason171.9
4511Ashton WellsBronson171.3
4612Gabe NelsonClinton171.3
4712Cameron HaraburdaLansing Catholic170.8
4811Caiden KippnickManchester170.7
4910Tucker KrummTraverse City St. Francis170.6
5012Lance SmarHarbor Springs170.3

2019 was the Hunter Jones show.  2020 was the Hunter Jones show.  This year is the Hunter Jones show.  Next year will be the Hunter Jones show.  Hunter is the clear favorite and it should be a fun, lonely 14 or 15 minutes for Hunter.  He took a few lumps early from Hough and Baracco, but a hit to the ego is always good, you can’t win every race and expect to get better.  I have confidence those early losses and the lessons learned will serve him well in the post-season races. 

Noah Morrow made #TheLeap during track season.  A 9:33 at Shepherd’s Bluejay Elite led to a 4:20 in the 1600m, which then led to a 3rd place in the D3 3200m.  He’s continued that progression into cross, where he’s notable for legitimately not having a bad race.  As far as my numbers go, his worst race was one in which he broke 16:00. 

Tyler Guggemos, Cal Benjamin, and Sam Peterson have battling it out in Northern Michigan all year.  Sam had the edge early in the year, Tyler has had the upper hand lately, and Cal has seemingly finished second in this triumvirate each time they’ve faced one another. 

Rogan has upheld the Melling tradition (but did he complete the infamous workout?) in leading the Hanover-Horton squad and being King of the Irish Hills.  Rogan hasn’t just stayed in the area, when the Comets traveled to Portage and Bluejay, he was able to defeat many potential All-Staters (Martini, Pruder, etc.).

TUCK COMIN’

Just as Mel Tucker came into the State of Michigan like a wrecking ball, these runners and teams are coming to MIS on a roll:

The Bridgman Bees are back at their old stomping grounds after a year’s absence.  Contact tracing decimated any hope of returning in 2020, and their dear departed Karsyn Stewart was left to race alone.  But they’re back and fresh off a regional victory.  The Fast sisters, Clara and Summer have run their best to close the year and seniors Jane Kaspar and Arie Hackett have been great leaders.

Gianna Hoving’s times of late might not represent major growth, but it’s there.  19:40 on an always tough Possum Hollow course (and a victory over potential D2 All-Staters Zdankiewicz and Koss) paved the way to a 3rd place finish in the loaded Region 27. 

This might not be the glory days when Yami was winning everything in sight, but Caro is still the best team in the Thumb (Yale won Thumb Area but to me they’re more Port Huron than Thumb).  Nearly everyone on the Tigers ran their best race at Thumb Area, particularly Tristan Lovett, and Tyler Miller doubled that up with an excellent regional race.  Expect them to challenge for a Top 10 spot.

Rhett Reif chilled in the low-17’s for much of the year, save for a 16:38 at Otsego Bulldog.  He’s begun to turn it up a notch in these past few weeks with a 16:25 at Little Guys and a 2nd place finish in Region 23, that silver medal coming in front of potential top-30 runners Jacob Walker and Alex Czeiszperger.