Regional Previews

An Early Look: Region 10

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GIRLS

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Emma Squires and Kendall Schopieray should mutually benefit from one another.  I’ve got them rated a second apart.  Last season saw Squires win 3 of the 4 matchups, but Schopieray bested her at States.  Track seasons were nearly identical, with both running 11:02.  Projecting for XC this year, I have the 9th to 10th grade transition improving at a faster rate than the 10th to 11th grade, so that may be why the numbers have Schopieray slightly ahead.

Both schools have solid programs and culture, and should easily make it another weekend.  Petoskey started last season off strong with an incredible performance at the Charlevoix Mud Run.  The course must have run fast comparative to previous years, as I doubted its validity.  The team backed up their performance with a 3rd place finish at States.  The Northwomen return their entire top 7 and 9 of their top 10.  Their top 5 all set PRs in the longer distance events this spring, Caroline Farley, Ahna Vanderwall, Noel Vanderwall, and Sarah Liederbach all in that 12-minute range for the 3200m.

Susie Huckle from Cadillac ran a MARATHON over at Bayshore (3:30, I believe).  That base will set her up for fall.  Chloie Musta is a girl slated for a huge improvement.  Her 2:18 800 gave her a 9th place finish at States, and it was a 22 second drop from last season.  She also ran a 5:47 on April 18th, but one would believe that would be closer to 5:15 at least if run later in the season.  Her XC best is 20:22, and if she continues on that trajectory, 20 minutes will be a mere afterthought.

Sparta’s success here will likely derive from their 2nd-4th runners and being able to potentially put their 6th in front of Fremont, Whitehall, and Ludington’s 5th.  Samantha Huizen let loose some PRs in track, going from 6:09 > 5:45 and 13:18 > 12:25.  That may put her closer to the top 15.

Hanna Brock ran mostly 800’s in track and she ended up running 2:27, a nearly 10 second improvement from last year.  How that carries over to XC is anyone’s guess, but it sure gives some positive momentum.

Cambrie Smith made some huge leaps last year, breaking 20 for the first time and following that up with a 11:52 in track.

I hope Ruby Strahan can recapture her form from the 2017 season, where she ran 18:40 and then finished 23rd at States.  Her track times suggest that may happen, highlighted by an 11:55 ran in April.

BOYS

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Sparta is ranked as a top 10 team, but you wouldn’t know it by these projections. Fremont is just that good.  Nathan Walker has already been profiled.  The incredible part of their team is the lack of seniors, a sight rarely seen.  Ben Paige has been in the 16’s his first two years, Conor Somers went 4:40/9:56/16:10 as a freshman.  Even a guy like Joshua Zerfas, who’s likely their 5th runner, has been in the 16’s in 9th/10th grade.

Sparta benefits from that good ol’ pack running.  Projections show around a 30 second gap between their first and fifth runners.  Hayden Cook and Chase Wilson are the stars of the group, both running into the 16:40s, but narrowly missing qualifying for States.  A 10:16 3200m in track leads me to believe Chase Hubert might be in line for an improvement, in this region, that could be top 12.

Matthew Hardesty and Ethan Fuller will be key factors if Big Rapids advances into November.  Their performances rate higher than other 4/5 runners in the teams below them.  Ryan Ososki is their freshman sensation, anytime you break 17 as a freshman, you’re in line to do some things later in your career.

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Ascending Teams and Clarkston

GIRLS

Lansing Christian – Current Rank:  9 (Division 4) Current Rating: 76.9 Jackson Rating: 99.1

Name Under the Lights Laingsburg Concord Springport Bath Weighted Avg. Jackson
Lexi Kinnas 97 110 99 108 118 107 121
Madison Volz 125 137 125 132 140 132 150
Natalie Krueger 54 51 27 35   40 69
Natalie Tebben 57 65 61 38 83 61 88
Natalie Woodland 39 35 48 32 63 44 67

 

Across the board, all of the top 5 Lansing Christian girls improved.  All 5 hit their best ratings for the season and their best times for the season, with Madison Volz getting a lifetime PR (18:41).  It’s not as if this was an anomaly, as they ran well at Bath and improved on that.  These girls will be at Stockbridge on Saturday.

Traverse City West – Current Rank: 17 (Division 1) Current Rating: 117.1 Jackson Rating: 136.4

Name Pete Moss Lancer Weighted Avg. Jackson
Abigail Jean 117 104 110 101
Audrey Braund 111 104 107 118
Claire Ackerman 113 111 112 117
Elliott Smith 125 119 122 142
Kara Crofoot 101 93 98 112
Kate Eveleigh 86 71 78 74
Morgan Lyon 126 125 125 137
Tess Crowley 96 89 92 91
Abby Hunter 116   116 139

 

Hannah Smith coming back into the fold and running a 145 (18:54), but the West girls were bound to move up even if she was held out another week.  Notable performances include PRs from Elliott Smith (19:06), Morgan Lyon (19:19) and Audrey Braund (20:19).  We’ll see the Titans again at Portage.

Bloomingdale – Current Rank: 23 (Division 3)  Current Rating:  76.8 Bangor Rating: 93.0

Name Bridgman Raider Weighted Avg. Bangor
Aimee Sustaita 84 104 96 106
Kallie Harrison 108 118 113 117
Liza Hutchins 46 41 43 65
Marta Douglas -7 42 21 63
Nelly Gonzalez 92 107 101 113
Olaisa Moss 36 28 31 51

 

Kallie Harrison and Nelly Gonzalez have been consistent forces for Bloomingdale for the last two years.  Aimee Sustaita has improved upon a solid freshman year where she ran 21:39. Marta Douglas has stepped up immensely as the year has progressed.  From barely breaking 27 in her opener to running in the 23’s now.  Adjusting for course, I have it as a 3.5 minute improvement.  Will she continue to rise?

Grosse Ile – Current Rank:  13 (Division 2) Current Rating: 111.0 Jefferson Rating: 122.4

Name Downriver Watermelon Averill Spartan Weighted Avg. Jefferson
Alisa Erickson 126 127 133 129 143
Andie Fulmer 116 122 129 122 134
Meghan Dieball 107 114 112 111 121
Caitlin Korte 91 101 102 98 108
Marisa Swick 51 85 84 83 107
Hannah Fulmer 100 89   94 100
Lynder Worsley 67 64 51 60 83

 

Many Grosse Ile girls had exceptional races at Jefferson.  Their whole varsity outperformed their season ratings, including huge jumps from Lynder Worsley and Marisa Swick.  And they have a frontrunner too, Alisa Erickson, who busted out nearly a 20 second PR, nearly reaching that school record.  They’re at Carlson’s Marauder Invite Saturday, but I think she’ll have a good chance at that record at the Wayne County Championships.

Clarkston – Current Rank:  NR (Division 1) Current Rating: 96.2  Jackson Rating: 140.8

Name Autumn Classic Jackson
Mia Patria   150
Grace Nolan   149
Mattie Drennan   142
Mallory Ferguson   133
Emily Ferguson 107 129
Elyse Wilhelm 108 121
Ashleigh Strong 85 97

 

If Clarkston’s girls were to be inserted into last week’s ratings, they’d be #2.  Things change week to week but it’s likely they enter next week at that spot, maybe even #1. I feel they’re a team that might be rated low, but on a state meet projection, would finish higher.   Grace Nolan probably has more in her, as she’s easily won jamborees over runners with 150+ ratings.  Also standing out was Mattie Drennan, with a huge PR, dropping 43 seconds and Mia Patria, who seemed to struggle in their first jamboree.  Nice bounce back performance.

BOYS

Clarkston – Current Rank: NR (Division 1)  Current Rating: 176.2 Jackson Rating: 203.9

Name Preseason Projection Autumn Classic Jackson
Brendan Favazza 207 203 215
Shawn Slater 199   210
Nathan Sesti 205   205
Mark Sprague 188   200
Christian Collis 193 184 189
Jeremy Cavallo 175   186
Carson Brock 165 169 176

 

Shawn Slater, Mark Sprague, Jeremy Cavallo, and Carson Brock all exceeded my preseason expectation.  I’m ecstatic for Cavallo, who dropped under 17 min. for the first time in his career.  Slater ran 15:56 last year, but was inconsistent, which hurt his average rating.  He had a much more steady track season, always around that 9:40 mark for the 32.  Even then, a 210 to start off the season is impressive.  Brock may challenge 17:00 this season after barely running under 18 last year.  And Mark Sprague could be their 4th guy to go sub-16 this year.  Long story short, a great invitational debut for these guys.   I really wish we could see them against Plymouth or Brighton before states.

Birmingham Seaholm – Current Rank: 24 (Division 1) Current Rating: 181.8 Jackson Rating: 188.5

Name Averill Holly Weighted Avg. Jackson
Anthony Marx 153 153 153 158
Brody Longe 167 150 158 175
Gehrig Longe 145 148 147 160
George Nummer 206 205 206 212
Jack Seel 186 170 178 188
Jakob Sayers 209 197 203 206
Robert Gleich   158 158 152
Toland Corum 153 147 150 161

 

Before this weekend, it was pretty certain that Troy and Grosse Pointe North were locks in Region 8.  Royal Oak has an outside chance, but Seaholm’s performance at Jackson definitely lowered their odds.  George Nummer and Jakob Sayers are givens, what is key for Seaholm is their 3/4/5.  Jack Seel got down to 16:58 at the Beach last year, but had two wildly different performances this year.  His 16:46 is what’s needed.  The brothers Longe both set huge PRs and Toland Corum had his best performance of the season by over a minute.

East Grand Rapids – Current Rank: 12 (Division 2) Current Rating: 177.8 Jackson Rating: 185.9

Name Portage EB Bath Spartan Weighted Avg. Jackson
Andrew Periard 185 198 185 190 197
Elijah Becker 159 178 165 168 178
Evan Bishop 200 210 214 209 212
Luke Caswell 135 161 151 151 157
Sean Coney 153 181 175 172 178
Anton Ludwig 144   150 148 165
Enzo Metz   150 142 146 159

 

Andrew Periard and Evan Bishop were to be expected.  I pegged both of them as potential all-staters, and Bishop is coming off a track season where he went 4:25,9:18.  As with many of these teams, their 3-7 runners make the difference.  Elijah Becker is someone who’s steadily dropped time over the course of his career, going from 18:28 as a freshman to 17:10 earlier this season.  His 178 at Jackson lets us know he’s closing in on that 17 minute barrier.  He and Sean Coney will be key to EGR’s success the rest of the season.

Kent City – Current Rank:  19 (Division 3) Current Rating: 159.0 Evart Wildcat Rating: 171.5

Name Kent City Long Lake Muskegon CC CM Hornet Sparta Weighted Avg. Evart Wildcat
Alex Russo 152 162 173 173 166 184
Casey Carew 157   178 157 164 182
Nick Flegel 145 166 174 155 161 162
Ryan Wheeler 156 152 176 171 165 177
Thomas Swanson 98 118 123 141 122 152

 

One has to appreciate when a freshman realizes their potential and keeps progressing.  Thomas Swanson seems to have done that.  Adjusting for course, he’s made at least a 2:30 improvement.  Alex Russo also ran out of his gourd, running 0:55 faster than what he did on the Evart course last year.

Montabella – Current Rank: 25 (Division 4)  Current Rating: 132.2 Evart Wildcat Rating: 146.9

Name 44 47 56 58 Weighted Avg. Evart Wildcat
Chad Pell 132 131 136 144 136 139
Eder Lopez 144 137 140 158 145 157
Erik Green   90 102 83 92 115
Jordan Mawhirter 139 123 156 160 146 166
Riley Daily 91 92 116 123 107 133
Riley Walkington 103 117     110 107
Tristan Lee 121 120 119 132 123 140

 

Evart’s course has traditionally been pretty tough, so no PRs out there for any of these guys.  Erik Green, Jordan Mawhirter, and Tristan Lee notched their best individual ratings of the season.

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Weekly Write Up

On a weekly basis, I like to highlight some individuals and teams that have unexpected success or have made some real improvements that are worth noting.  My selection process couldn’t be more subjective, but I tried to include a wide range of divisions and areas of the state.  Here are a few boys and girls teams that I’ve taken a closer look at:

Team Preseason Rank Current Rank Current Rating
Grandville Calvin Christian 3 (Division 3) 4 114.1
Byron 13 (Division 3) 16 81.8
Bridgman 13 (Division 4) 11 65.6
Livonia Churchill NR (Division 1) 22 111.4

 

Grandville Calvin Christian (Girls)

I know, they’ve dropped a spot.  I didn’t anticipate Traverse City St. Francis being this good.  Those TCSF girls will get their day on this site soon, but not today.  Grandville’s pack is what will lead to their success.  They have 5 girls over 100, a 6th coming close, and a 7th who has run 20:18.  Catherine Kortman and Olivia Quillan have made noticeable strides (pun intended) early, both knocking 2:00 off their Kent City times, and Quillan 0:28 off her Christian School time.  Both broke 20 last year, early times indicate they’ll do that again.  Grandville runs next at Spartan.

Byron (Girls)

Another team that’s dropped, but likely to move up.  Olivia Krejci’s effort at Genesee is a major factor why they will.  Krejci improved her time by 0:44 from last year and her 119 rating there gives thought to a sub-20 performance later in the year.  After all, it was a PR, one that we should celebrate and I’m sure the team is on a high following their win in the initial MMAC Jamboree.  They’re at Chesaning this afternoon.

Bridgman (Girls)

Bridgman’s early improvements have been stunning.  Karsyn Stewart has averaged over a 2:00 improvement from her times at Bridgman, Optimist, and BS Shamrock.  She ran 6:00/12:36 in track and I think she’s poised for at least a 120 rating by the end of the season (currently her best is 97).  Savanna Tate also stands out.  0:35 faster at BS Shamrock, 0:51 faster at Bridgman.  She ran 22:17 last year on a Center Line-esque Rock N’ Run course, so I trust the 22:56 at State last year as a more accurate portrayal of her form.  Long story short, she’s improved, and so has Mikaela Owen.  The Bridgman girls are at New Prairie (IN) this weekend and we won’t see them again for awhile.  They’ve earned it.

 Livonia Churchill (Girls)

Churchill’s top 4 have all surpassed my expectations.  In fact, I didn’t have any.  A few months ago, when creating my preseason list, they weren’t even on my radar.  Here we are two months later, with Abbie Haupt, Sierra Greener, Grace Vaeth, and Abbie Ortell all knocking almost a minute (or more) off their Ramblin’ Rock times.  The Abbies stick out the most, with Ortell at a 108 rating (think 20:30) and Haupt at a 136 (think 19:12).  These girls are at Spartan tomorrow, I’m sure their coach had no say in that decision.

Team Preseason Rank Current Rank Current Rating
Hudsonville 20 (Division 1) NR 188.7
Lake Fenton 13 (Division 2) NR 174.9
Unionville-Sebewaing 13 (Division 4) 13 158.6
Cedar Springs 4 (Division 2) 12 181.8

 

Hudsonville (Boys)

Hudsonville almost certainly makes next week’s ratings, likely in the top 15.  Yes, they have the front runners like Nate Vruggink (198 rating, 4:30/9:58 in track) and slight improvements from Asher Berends and Ryan Nibbelink, but freshman Trey Diepenhorst might be a surprise addition.  He ran 11:22 in middle school, I can’t find a 2018 track time, and he runs a 17:36 at Bath.  He could sneak into their top 7, which is already loaded with 6, maybe 7 sub-17 kids.  They will be at Spartan tomorrow.

Lake Fenton (Boys)

Lake Fenton’s Bath performance makes up for their day at Corunna.  Brendan Schroeder is someone who has both shown significant improvement from last year and an ascent from race to race.  Schroeder’s 176 at Bath puts him on a crash course with low 17’s, much better than his 17:55 last year, it’s close to 1:45 (course-adjusted) better than his Corunna time.  Eric Niestroy is another example of a drop.  Through two races, Eric’s rating is 188, a 10 point jump in ratings from last year.  The Blue Devils lost to Corunna in their first jamboree and will be at Spartan tomorrow.  Notice this recurring theme?  Spartan is once again loaded.

Unionville-Sebewaing (Boys)

The biggest reason behind Unionville’s apparent rise is Ty Pavlichek.  Other than a 11:36 in middle school, I can’t find much on the kid, then he runs at 169 at Hatchet.  Bryce Langmaid is also off to a good start, with 160 ratings in both USA and Hatchet.  One issue I have with athletic.net is I can’t figure out which meet a team is attending if the boys and girls are separate.  Their page has Chesaning and Holly.  So maybe we’ll see them at both places, but I’m guessing they’re only at one.

Cedar Springs (Boys)

Austin Mann has made the leap.  Austin ran 11:22 in track, 18:28 last year.  Both solid, decent times for a freshman.  He’s basically continued the same pace from that 2 mile to 164 rating.  3:10 improvement from Kent City, 1:41 from Central Montcalm.  I think they’re on the right track and should move up.   These boys area Sparta on Saturday.