Division II State Preview:

Regionals Recap:
The top story coming out of Regionals was two fold.  Beaumont getting beat at Boardman and Taylor dominating at Troy.  In Troy it was all Taylor and Freshman Emily Thompson.  Thompson won easily over Indian Hill's Lisa Uible and Indian Lake's Bittany Tinsley.  Taylor also won the team title 32-87 over McNicholas, a top 5 team in everyone's book.  Wyoming was 3rd with 90. 
At Lancaster, nothing exciting happened in the team race as Circleville won over a weaker than average field.  The biggest thing coming out of Lancaster are the individuals.  Sara Wiseman of Gallia has what it takes to challenge for the title and Carrollton's Abby Wood is a top-10 threat. 
At Tiffin, the race was, once again, a weak one as Huron had a bad day and still won over Lexington and Van Wert and Amy Renner of Huron ran easy to claim the victory. 
At Boardman there were two Regionals to accomodate NE Ohio's size.  Unfortunately, they too were inbalanced.  In one you had 3 of the top 5 teams in the state: CVCA, Perry, and Beaumont, and in the other, essentially no team on that level.  In Region A it was CVCA running the best total team race and taking out Perry and Beaumont.  Infeld strained a bit, but still won easily by almost a minute over the West Branch duo of Megan Cingcade and Lisa Davies.  CVCA took the title behind 4 runners in the top 14.  Perry has Skye Pirc and Johanna Fickenscher back, but neither is 100%.  Beaumont's roster continues to be in flux and I wouldn't be surprised to see it changed again for State.  In the other regional it was Revere taking the title over Alliance and Rocky River squeaking by Minerva behind individual champ Caroline Sanker.  The winner of this region would have been over 50 points behind the third place team in the other Boardman Regional. 

State Preview:
The team race is essentially down to 6 teams: Taylor, MicNic, Wyoming, CVCA, Perry, and Beaumont.  Taylor whipped MicNic and Wyoming at the Troy region and CVCA barely held off Perry and Beaumont with only 9 points separating the three.  To win a State title, it takes more than a team of solid runners.  It takes performers.  It takes a team that has leadership and the ability to step up in big meets.  Everybody last year was gripping and talking about how Beaumont was in trouble and they went on to win by over 30 points.  This year is quite the same.  However there is a key difference.  Taylor has experience too.  Carrie Crofford, Casey Lariccia, and Jenifer Stanley were all individual qualifiers to state last year.  Add to that a frontrunner in frosh Emily Thompson and you have all the keys in place.  Beaumont still holds all the intangibles and as 3 time defending champion cannot be counted out.  But as young and hungry as Taylor is, Beaumont appears to be just as complacent.  Last year it took a loss at Districts to fire them up, maybe a loss at regionals will do the same this year.  MicNic would need Sammy Lammert to return to last year's form and run with Jamie Roflow again.  Wyoming needs Erica Schmitt to have a breakthrough race and a minor miracle.  CVCA needs a fifth and Perry needs Fick and Pirc to run like they haven't missed the majority of the season with injuries. 
Advantage: Taylor 

Indivdiually I see the race coming down to three runners:  Maggie Infeld of Beaumont, Emily Thompson of Taylor and Sara Wiseman of Gallia.  All three have weaknesses.  Infeld is a track runner first, XC runner second.  She has great track speed, but hasn't had the equivalent of her track success on the XC course.  Thompson is a freshman and does not have the experience of being at the State XC meet.  She will have her team with her and she has been in big meets before so that will help.  Wiseman has not run in any big races this year.  That is a killer.  She simply has not seen the level of competition she is going to see on Saturday.  Now for their strengths.  Infeld simply knows how to win.  She proved that in track when she was exhausted and came from behind to win the 800 about 30 minutes after taking the 1600.  Thompson is running really strong, has beaten top runners this year and has a punishing kick over the last part of a race.  A kick that can probably match if not better Infeld's speed.  Wiseman was second in the 3200 at last year's state track meet falling only to Amy Arnold in the last part of the race.  So she has the ability to step up in the big meets.  It's going to be a great race.  With Infeld's strength being her speed and Thompson essentially taking that weapon away, and that being Wiseman's weakness, I expect a tough early pace set by Wiseman in an attempt to keep it honest and to take away any kick.  I still see there being one however, and on that.
Advantage: Emily Thompson, Taylor. 
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