|Division I State Preview:
At the Boardman region it was Jackson stepping back into the limelight. After losing two weeks in a row to Hoover, Jackson reclaimed the top spot with a 94-100 win over Hoover. However, if you look behind the results you will see that Hoover's normal #3 or 4, frosh Taryn Cochran finished well off her normal place with a 7th place team finish and 97th finish over all. Plug her in where she belongs and Hoover wins by over 10 points. Individually, GlenOak's Jenna Yeakel won the title over Mayfield frosh, Jen Harpp.
At the Tiffin regional it was SJA running a great team race yet again to ring up 54 points and a 26 point victory over second place Strongsville. SJA had only a 19 second spread one thru 5. Individually Lakewood's Michelle Sikes ran away from Magnificat's Caitlyn Chambers to take the individual title in 18:47.
In Lancaster, it was all Hilliard Davidson. They won 44-81 over Coffman. Davidson's one thru five had a 39 second spread. Out front it was the Coffman duo of Emily King and Kendra Churchill going one-two followed by Davidson's Melissa Hornor and Mia Fiegelist.
At Troy it was Turpin looking rather haggard, but still pulling out the win in a large fashion over Colerain 63-106. Individually it was Mason freshman, Angela Bizzarri, taking the title over Turpin's Corey Randall. Likely state contender Carolyn Rauen was off her game and finished 5th.
I see only three teams with a shot at the title in division one: Hilliard Davidson, Turpin, and SJA. It would take all 3 of these teams having a bad day for the next tier of teams to move into contention. The second tier would be Coffman, Colerain, Strongsville, and Scioto. All very good teams, but lacking depth 1-5. The favorite going in is Davidson. They didn't look their best at Lancaster, but still put all 7 runners in the top 18. The last two of which were both frosh. Ashley Ziniel was their #7 in only her second varsity race and Blaire Wickham was their #6 in her first ever varsity race. They are that deep. SJA is a very similar team. They are lead by frosh Alex Miles and soph Mary Maloney, but are a tight pack, usually less than 20 seconds apart and near the front. Turpin has the best front two in the state with Carolyn Rauen and Corey Randall, but other than Melanie Price as their #3 they have not been receiving consistent performances as of late. Scioto is also a pack team, but not as strong as an SJA or Davidson. Coffman has a great one-two in Emily King and Kendra Churchill, but little beyond that. Strongsville has Bridget Dalic and Jama Bernard and a team that is coming on, but remains young. Colerain has Brittany Detzel and Andra Maas, but it drops off over a minute after that. With all this in mind I see Strongsville as the best of the second pack, followed closely by Coffman and Colerain. Overall, I think that Davidson's depth is just too much and they are too strong, 1-7, to be stopped. The only team that can match them 1-7, depthwise is SJA, but they are just a bit behind Davidson's top 3 and that will be too much to make up. Turpin may be third in this battle and need their 4 and 5 to step up to contend.
Advantage: Hilliard Davidson
Individually I am probably overly excited for this race because I have no idea what will happen!! We'll start with last year's champ, Michelle Sikes. An obviously talented and amazing runner that has faced no competition this year. She's a great runner, but hasn't had anyone within 30 seconds of her this year. How is it going to affect her when she goes out even harder than usual and has 5 or 6 girls around her? Same can be said for Emily King. She has been running in a bubble in Central Ohio and rarely sees a runner as talented as she is. She love's to go out hard and try to hold on, we'll see if that's her strategy again.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Angela Bizzarri, the Mason frosh. She has not only raced Rauen and Randall several times, she has run against Emily Thompson of Taylor too. As a freshman it is great that she has been able to get in races such as these and impressive that she has won about half of them as well. Include in this group Carolyn Rauen. She runs great meets every week, including Great American. She has big meet experience and is used to having people with her at the middle and late stages of a race. Corey Randall has to be considered in her own right as well. She beat Rauen last week at the Regional and has been around the front in every race she's been in this season.
Others to consider and solid top tens are Caitlyn Chambers of Magnficat, Kendra Churchill of Coffman, Carol Eckerly of Beavercreek, Casey Keefer of Lakota East, and Adrea Maas of Colerain. Depthwise I could go on for a long time.....Dalic, Detzel, Hornor, Fiegelist, Homan, Beakas, Spieldenner, Chambers, Yeakel, McMaster, Binkley, Pentak, Carter, etc,, etc., It's going to be fun!
Advantage: Three Even. Michelle Sikes, Carolyn Rauen, Angela Bizzarri.