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A look at Livingston County’s boys’ cross country teams

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How big a leap can Brighton make after an amazing freshman class led the Bulldogs to the state meet?

Can Fowlerville surround Chris Davis with enough depth to make a run at the state meet?

Can Hartland get back to being a factor at the state level?

What’s left at Howell after the graduation of three individual state qualifiers?

How much will the loss of two All-County runners affect Pinckney?

These questions and more will be answered as boys’ cross country season begins to rev up.

BRIGHTON

  • Last season: 4-1, 2nd, KLAA West; 3rd, regional; 26th, state
  • Top runners: John Caley (Jr.), Sean Foster (Jr.), Nolan McGahan (Jr.), Scott Spaanstra (Soph.), Jack Spamer (Soph.), Zach Stewart (Soph.), Patrick Whitton (Jr.)
  • Outlook: Great things are predicted for Brighton in the next few years after a team led by freshmen and sophomores made the state meet last season. All-Stater Zach Stewart and second-team All-County runner Scott Spaanstra were the top two runners as freshmen. A wild card is Jack Spamer, a junior varsity runner last year who made tremendous improvement during track and field. Six of the seven runners from the state meet return.
  • Coach Chris Elsey: “Our expectations have steadily increased. We expect to have a strong, competitive season in the conference. If we stay healthy, hopefully we’ll place well at the state meet.”

MORE CROSS COUNTRY

After phenomenal freshman year, Brighton’s Zach Stewart raises cross country expectations

Top 5 boys’ cross country runners in Livingston County

Fowlerville’s Chris Davis approaching sub-16:00 in cross country

Video: Interview with Brighton’s Zach Stewart

CHARYL STOCKWELL

  • Last season: 9th, regional
  • Top runners: Simon Hatcher (Jr.), Tre Hill (Soph.), James Jordan (Jr.), Michael Warner (Soph.)
  • Outlook: Charyl Stockwell returns its top four runners and five of the six who ran the regional meet. The Sentinels need to find a fifth man to have any chance of making the state meet. Jordan could make it individually after taking 26th in the regional last year and running 18:34.5 early this season.
  • Coach Ron Abner: “We have three guys who should be close to qualifying individually, which should get our team close.”

FOWLERVILLE

  • Last season: T-3rd, CAAC White; 9th, regional
  • Top runners: Chris Davis (Sr.), Blake Howard (Jr.), Jacob Nabozny (Soph.), Aaron Pieper (Sr.), Bryson Scott (Soph.)
  • Outlook: Fowlerville has one of the county’s top runners in Davis, a state qualifier in cross country and the 3,200. There is some promising young talent down the lineup, but the Gladiators are in a tough Division 2 regional that got even more imposing with the addition of Lansing Catholic, last year’s Division 3 runner-up.
  • Coach Aaron Rickens: “We’ve got a small team, only 13 kids right now, but our talent level is much higher than it has been in the past.”

HARTLAND

  • Last season: 1-4, 5th, KLAA West; 5th, regional
  • Top runners: Kaiden Hinds (Sr.), Eli Horski (Sr.), Jadon Kennell (Soph.), Connor Krueger (Soph.), Harrison Roberts (Sr.), Ethan Stover (Sr.), Griffin Young (Jr.)
  • Outlook: Hartland starts the season down a key man, with Horski nursing an injury. Horski’s 16:34.6 last year was the team’s top time. Hinds, Horski and Stover made second-team All-County as juniors.
  • Coach Matt Gutteridge: “We’ve got a lot of young talent that’s going to build the base back up again. Hopefully, we’ll be competitive doing it.”

HOWELL

  • Last season: 2-3, 4th, KLAA West; 4th, regional
  • Top runners: Josh Farr (Jr.), Ryan Murphy (Sr.), Alec Pominville (Jr.), Jacob Sapienza (Soph.), T.J. Stachowski (Jr.), Isaac Zeitler (Jr.)
  • Outlook: Howell graduated its top six runners, including All-Stater David Mitter and state qualifiers Lee Owens and Jimmy Colon. Alec Pominville, with a personal best of 18:50.5, is the only returning runner from last year’s varsity lineup. Junior Josh Farr, who ran 18:30.4 in regionals as Howell’s No. 7 man his freshman year, is back after not running last season.
  • Coach Clay Woll: “With David, Jimmy and Lee, they really set a good example for the underclassmen and showed them what it means to work. If you want to get to the highest level, you have to have a pretty intense work ethic; they know that.”

PINCKNEY

  • Last season: 0-5, 6th, KLAA West; 8th, regional
  • Top runners: Tyler Debeauclair (Sr.), Gavin White (Fr.), Logan Wiseman (Jr.)
  • Outlook: Pinckney missed the state meet for the first time since 2002 last year. Getting back will be even tougher with the graduation of four-time state qualifier Ryan Talbott and first-team All-County runner Aaron Jarema. No. 5 man Debeauclair is the only returning runner from the regional lineup. Wiseman ran regularly on the varsity. Freshman Gavin White, who ran 10:39.3 for 3,200 meters in track in eighth grade, should be one of Pinckney’s top runners.
  • Coach Jim Wicker: “It’s definitely a rebuilding year, but we have some talent. We’re really inexperienced.”
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