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.
- 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
- 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.”
- 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.”
- 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.”
- 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.”
- 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.”