|Division I Regional Previews
This could be billed Jackson v. North Canton 3. North Canton pulled the upset at the Federal League Championships, but then, in their first week as the favorite, came back and beat Jackson again at the Malone District. Hoover is riding a huge wave of confidence right now and Jackson is watching another season pass. Medina and Kent Roosevelt would be the other two favorites to claim the four spots. Mentor simply does not have enough to compete at this level. Talentwise, Jackson has the most, but that hasn't helped them in the past. Medina will have an early edge with Gorsek and Jendre, but Sloan from Kent will help them out. It's going to be incredibly close between these 4 teams, and in a surprise to myself, I pick Jackson to win.
Individually this will be the slowest of the four regions by a whole bunch. Gorsek, Jendre, and Sloan will be right in the mix as will Hudson's Kristen Swidarski, GlenOak's Yeakel, Jackson's Hall, and North Canton's McCort.
SJA has to be looked at as the clear favorite. Their balance from 1-7 is simply amazing. Outside of them, Strongsville will definitely claim a spot and go back to state. It will then be a matchup between Bowling Green, Magnficat, and Lakewood for the last two spots. Bowling Green is the depest of the remaining teams, but both Mags and Lakewood will have a huge advantage up front with Sikes and Chambers likely going 1-2. That turns it into a race between Mags and Lakewoods next 4 runners against BG's 5. I still think BG is the best shot for the 3rd spot. Then I"m going to have to go with Mags for the 4th. Lakewood clearly has the talent and the experience advantage, but they have not put anything together this year that makes me believe they will on Saturday.
Individually it should be Sikes in a romp with Chambers chasing. Then look to Bridget Dalic of Strongsville, Jenn Spieldenner of Findlay, and Alli McMaster or Toledo SUA, likely in that order for the top 5.
Hilliard Davidson. Okay, moving on...but seriously, they have 6 girls capable of INDIVIDUALLY qualifying for the state meet and likely will. With that, they will be impossible to beat on Saturday. After them it will be the 4th round of the Dublin rivalry between Coffman and Scioto. With the emergence of Coffman's #3 in Kwiatkowski to back up King and Churchll, Coffman has the advantage. The last spot will likely come down to Upper Arlington and Pickerington. And your guess is as good as mine. But I would side with UA.
Individually it should be King by about 10 seconds. After her, look for Darby's Lindsay Carter, Churchill, and anyone wearing a Davidson jersey.
This is clearly the most powerful and difficult regional in the state. Turpin is really the only team that could qualify on an off day. After them it will be a battle between St. Ursula, Lakota East, Colerain, Beavercreek, and Centerville. Two of these worthy teams will be left at home. Centerville and Ursula will have to rely on a tight pack and a team performance. Colerain has an advantage with Maas and Detzle who are both top 5 threats. East has Keefer and Creek has Eckerly. This gives those 3 an advantage over Ursula and Centerville. Be that as it may I look for Ursula's team effort to be enough. Colerain gets out behind Maas and Detzel and East behind Keefer. That leaves Creek and Centerville, two deserving teams, on the outside looking in.
Individually it will be Rauen v. Bizzarri 4. Rauen has taken the last 2 after Bizzarri won the first. I think Rauen has the edge right now and will take this one too. After those two look for Corey Randall of Turpin, Casey Keefer of East, Andrea Maas of Colerain, and Carol Eckerly of Creek to make it out easily and claim the next spots.